Wired‘s Danger Room reports that Apple has reportedly refused permission to an app called Drones+ that would alert users about US military drone strikes. According to the report, the Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple’s latest rejection letter. This is the third time permission has been denied to the app.
The creator of the app is Josh Begley, a New York University graduate student. So what exactly does the app do? According to the story in Wired, this is a pretty threadbare and basic app. When a drone strike occurs, Drones+ catalogs it, and presents a map of the area where the strike took place, marked by a pushpin. You can click through to media reports of a given strike that the Bureau of Investigative Reporting compiles, as well as some basic facts about whom the media thinks the strike targeted.
So the app doesn’t hack into any secret information to display drone attacks but rather relies on media reports which are based on information given by the military.
Nor does the app show any gruesome pictures after a drone strike, thus making it incomprehensible as to what exactly the objectionable content is. And Apple is not saying.
Begley says the app is to increase awareness about US drone strikes. “I was thinking about how hidden the drone war is and about ways to play with what happens in the pockets of smartphone users,” say Begley.
US drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan have caused international concern. Last November, 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in a NATO strike near the Afghan border leading to massive outrage in the country. The US later took part responsibility for the strikes.