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Apple Rejects Drone App

Apple Rejects Drone App

A controversial new app created independently by NYU student Josh Begley has been rejected by Apple on the grounds that it is supposedly “objectionable and crude”.

The app in question, known as Drones+, notifies iPhone users whenever a US military drone strike has taken place by showing its location on Google Maps and was created by the 27-year old to raise awareness of the drone strikes that are being carried out.
Drones+ works by using reports from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s database, which is updated when a drone strike takes place. Users of the app are promptly notified by text while a map shows the location of the strike. It even provides information on the death toll, a detail that, while morbid, is not graphically presented. In fact the app is in no way graphic, providing just the basic facts that the public have a right to know.

The app simply presents a map location and statistics, which are all publicly available already, with the added option to read related news reports. This, Begley hopes, would provide a talking point among users and would make people more aware of military activity that could itself be considered objectionable, especially when you consider the number of civilians who fall victim to these strikes.
Unfortunately Apple fail to see the use in such an application. His application was rejected by them twice initially as it was “not useful” enough and would not appeal to a “broad enough audience”. However a more recent rejection explained that the app is not in compliance with store review guidelines and the content itself would apparently be considered objectionable.
Begley himself did not expect the app to be widely popular but is dismayed that Apple would consider it offensive and refuse it on those grounds. After all, his intentions behind it seem honest enough and since it does little more than supply users with public information, it seems strange that Apple would turn it down for being crude.

“If the content is found to be objectionable and it’s literally just an aggregation of news, I don’t know how to change that.” Begley said.
It is unclear exactly what Apple find objectionable about such an app but it could simply be old-fashioned fear. Backing an app that basically highlights questionable US military tactics could lose them a large number of customers and it is probably safer for Apple not to get politically involved. If this is the case then their decision is understandable but still shows a lack of integrity. It should ultimately be up to the individual how they receive their information and if Apple can help make this news more accessible this can only be a good thing.

Begley has not yet given up hope and is looking for an alternative means to distribute his app to those who want it and has set his sights on developing it for Android. “I would like for it to exist somewhere.” he said.

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