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Apple Censorship Shows Importance of Software Freedom

Posted in Apple at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman has already criticised Apple for it in his political blog

Richard Stallman

Summary: Apple denies third party’s distribution of an app with politically divisive content

As part of my political leanings, outside of Techrights I actively oppose the use of drones to assassinate individuals imprecisely, usually killing more innocent civilians than CIA targets. Watch what Apple is doing to those who entertain the subject:

  • Apple Censors Drone War

    Drone wars continue because the U.S. public is unaware what is being done in our name with our money. We are interested in knowing where our government is using drones and has killed people, not in celebrating that killing.

    The people in Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere living under the drones can’t ignore what’s being done to them. Neither should we, as it’s done with our money and in our names.

    A recent study by Stanford and NYU found that drones traumatize innocent populations, who have no way of knowing how to protect themselves from drone strikes. Further, only 2% of victims of these strikes are high-level targets. The drones kill civilian men, women, and children, are being used to target rescuers, schools and funerals, and create significant anti-U.S. hostility — exactly as the Pakistani and Afghan governments have said they do.

  • Apple repeatedly blocks U.S. drone strike tracking application for different reasons every time

    Despite the completely inoffensive nature of the application, Apple has repeatedly refused to allow an app tracking U.S. drone strikes by claiming that the content is “objectionable and crude.”

    In reality, it is not the app that is “objectionable and crude,” instead it is the program itself which is both objectionable and crude. It makes it even worse that the United States government refuses to justify while continuing to pour money into the field, signaling a lengthy future for the technology.

    It is even more concerning that Apple would be blocking an app providing information on drone strikes abroad while drones are already being used in the United States with massive expansion looming on the horizon.

There are other apps about drones [1, 2, 3] which get a free pass, for instance:

Dronestagram is the latest project from renowned “new aesthetic” pioneer James Bridle, an Instagram feed which posts satellite images corresponding to US drone strikes in the Middle-East and Asia. Much like Josh Begley’s Drones+, the Apple-banned smartphone app which sends alerts whenever drone strikes are reported, Bridle says Dronestagram is a way of “making these locations just a little bit more visible, a little closer. A little more real.”

In the eyes of Apple, drones are okay, provided they are not criticised. Apple is making a political stance even by denying politicised apps. This is censorship — something which Free software strives to tackle.

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A Single Comment

  1. mcinsand said,

    November 13, 2012 at 10:30 am


    One and only one license guarantees software freedom: the GPL! The only freedom that the GPL prohibits is to proprietize the software and take the freedom out of it. Furthermore, the GPL is the bedrock reason why Linux is innovating so much faster than the other OS’s. GPL’d code is out there for anyone to refine and improve, and the improvements fold back into the software. Linux’ constant intellectual reinvestment is what makes Apple and MS fear it so; they lag behind, and they will fall farther behind as the public wakes up.

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