Well, that didn’t take long. The unofficial WikiLeaks app has been yanked from the Apple Store. The app was approved on Dec. 17, but yesterday developer Igor Barinov received word that the app was removed from sale.
Apple is by no means the first or only tech company to take this sort of action against WikiLeaks information. It joins the ranks of Amazon, PayPal, Visa, Mastercard and Tableau Software in closing the doors to WikiLeaks.
When we wrote about the app, we surmised that it might run afoul of Apple’s Developer Guidelines. It isn’t simply that the app contains controversial information – as a mobile version of the website, links to the leaked documents are available there, and the WikiLeaks’ Twitter stream. In removing the app from the store, it seems easy for Apple to echo the justification that Amazon used when booting WikiLeaks from the cloud: WikiLeaks doesn’t “own” the content. And furthermore, Barinov and his unofficial app don’t own the rights to the WikiLeaks data either.
Barinov says he hasn’t received details from Apple as to why the app has been removed. We’ve contacted Apple as well and will update this story when we hear something.
Updated: Apple has told Business Insider that, “We removed WikiLeaks because it violated developer guidelines. An app must comply with all local laws. It may not put an individual or target group in harms way.”
In the meantime, Barinov does say that the endeavor, however short, was successful, and the WikiLeaks app sold enough copies to hit the top of the Lifestyle category in many countries. Barinov claims that half the money he’s raised from sale of the $1.99 app will go to WikiLeaks.