The world’s most valued company cites that the app contains “objectionable content” as its grounds for refusing to allow the completed app to be used by any iOS device owner.
What does Drone+ do? It monitors reported uses of aerial drones in foreign countries, to strike at targets, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. The application intends to use media reports to track and monitor drone strikes. Drones+ aggregates information already available from media reports, it does not reveal military intelligence that could be compiled elsewhere easily, or is not already publicly available on a web site.
Under President Obama’s administration, the use of aerial drone strikes has increased dramatically. But, the process is controversial; a drone strike was used to kill a U.S. citizen in Afghanistan, who many critics argue could have been easily captured, and as a citizen, was entitled to a trial in a U.S. court. The Constitution prohibits the President from ordering the execution of a citizen, but does allow for the military to engage any enemy… foreign or domestic.
The use of drone strikes against American citizens is currently a topic that is pending in federal court. Multiple families have sued the President claiming the targeting of U.S. citizens, even in foreign conflict theaters, is unconstitutional.
It is not clear if Apple received pressure from Washington to block the app, or if Apple is doing it of its own volition. Regardless, the prohibition of the app is made possible by Apple’s walled garden, now referred to many as a crystal prison.
Apple does not inform customers prior to purchase that the devices cannot run software from third-party sources, and many find that popular applications like South Park Studios, and other programs that rely on web technologies such as Adobe Flash continue to be prohibited from use. Apple’s new arch-rival, Google, has gone to great lengths to ensure that Android devices can always sideload potentially-objectionable applications from a developer’s web site, thus ensuring ethical accountability for the platform.
Clearly, the continued use of a walled garden stifles free speech on the iOS platform. A developer can invest months, if not years, in creating an innovation, only to be turned away at the gates by Apple. Microsoft will begin employing the same tactics in the desktop world, later this year with the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. Both refuse to allow WinRT applications to be downloaded from any source but Microsoft, unless the customer has an enterprise contract with Microsoft.
Apple has a long-standing history of not responding to requests for comment from PhoneNews.com. The company has expressed dissatisfaction in our long-standing opposition to walled gardens, crystal prisons, and support for sideloading.