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Apple bans Wikileaks app, leaves New York Times untouched

'Developer guidelines' apparently don’t apply to powerful publishing companies

By Paul McNamara on Tue, 12/21/10 - 3:59pm.

Here's a story in which an Apple representative explains to the New York Times why Apple will no longer allow a fellow to use Apple's online store to sell his app that lets you read Wikileaks - and those controversial U.S. diplomatic cables -- on an iPad or iPhone.

Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman, said the company had removed the app "because it violated our developer guidelines." Ms. Muller added: "Apps must comply with all local laws and may not put an individual or group in harm's way."

That's what Apple told the New York Times.

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Now here's a link to Apple's online store for an app that lets you read the New York Times - and those exact same U.S. diplomatic cables - on an iPad or iPhone.

I am by no means the first to point to the inconsistency with which critics of Wikileaks are treating the whistleblower site and its American mainstream media partner (for the diplomatic cables story), the New York Times. But if you are able to offer an intellectually honest justification for the disparate treatments, you will to my knowledge be the first to have done so.

Don't get me wrong: I am of the opinion that Apple, like any business, is free to offer or not offer any product for any reason, good bad or indifferent. The company is, I suppose, even within its rights to act capriciously in making such decisions (all within the law, of course).

But I cannot imagine the company will continue to abide the New York Times putting "an individual or group in harm's way" via Apple's online store.

And all I'm asking is that I be allowed to listen in on the phone call when Steve Jobs tells Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., that his newspaper's iPad and iPhone apps are no longer welcome on Apple's virtual shelves.

 

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