you do not exist, or a twisty turny thing

Clearing up the end-of-term backlog of articles, I have just found info on how the WikiLeaks app made by a Russian programmer for the iPhone (what a strange idea, actually) was promptly banned by the corporation of glamor. More of it here.

Although the developer claims that he was motivated by his interest in potential UFO secrets coverage (alas, so Russian) rather than the political revelations, he did set 50% of the price to be channeled for WikiLeaks support. What is most disgusting is the reasons for kicking his app off the store. Apple says two of its guidelines were violated:

The first on personal attacks states: “Any app that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm’s way will be rejected.”

The second says “apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users”.

Well, the second one is really eyewash, given that in every country newspapers legally republish the cables. As for the first one – who is actually offended or defamed? I would very much like to see a WikiLeaks page on Apple one day. It seems we have a lot to learn in this direction.

I won’t even compare iPhone with Android here (go to the Market and see for yourself). I’ll just tell how I got back to the December article.  Today on BBC Technology there appeared quite a tongue-in-cheek article on the Confession app for the iPhone (same price of $1.99 as for the WikiLeaks app).

Sorry, BBC, but I can’t resist the temptation just to give the link to the screenshot on your site.

Well, I must say it grossly offends my feelings as an athei. No, it doesn’t. I find that lame excuse in the shape of an admissions policy hypocritical and unfounded. How about the countries where Christianity is unwelcome? Doesn’t it actually violate the local law? As a side note, Foucault would surely have loved this. An interiorized confession manual, fully owned by the sinner and privately stored on the phone. Does one actually need a confessor if you can just tick the correct boxes? My call is for the companion penitential app, of course.

On a serious note, applications you personally do not like look OK in the public if nothing’s banned. But if the banhammer is let loose at will, the Big Brother just has to twist and turn in the eyes of the public, like a twisty-turny thing, to borrow a phrase from Blackadder.

OK, an update. Can’t hide from you the fact that at the Android Market there’s a number of WikiLeaks apps. But the thing is, all of them say 100% of the money will be donated to support Assange and Wikileaks (not just 50%, heh). It may be true, at least I hope so. In some cases it may really be a marketing ploy using the openness of Android. But whatever the intention, freedom of information raises awareness. The app works, and you can read the cables, and in some apps even choose a mirror source.  What if Apple controlled the browser or the internet as they do their store? Would we even have known about WikiLeaks?

To quote the original article,

“[Apple] said there is no way back for this application,” Mr Barinov told BBC News.

Forgive me for being melodramatic, but I kinda sensed a shadow of the infamous boot on the human face, applied rather selectively. Welcome to the dystopia world of the twisty-turny thing. Because Apple is so 1984.

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About beggingscholar

I am a scholar of Early Modern English literature and culture, teaching quite a number of English-related subjects at Kazan University, Russia. I am mainly interested in the formation of the Early Modern public sphere, scandals, subversion, non-literary discourses in literature and other forms of destructive creation.
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