Apple pulls WikiLeaks app

If you needed more proof that Apple is a bunch of evil censoring bastards, here it is: Apple has pulled a "WikiLeaks" app from its App store. The $1.99 app, created by Igor Barinov to make the WikiLeaks data more browsable and accessible, was yanked without explanation. The app had no data in it that isn't already public.

This comes on top of Steve Jobs telling us he wants to give us "freedom from porn", and Apple banning apps with political cartoons by a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist, a gay travel guide to New York, and graphic novels based on James Joyce's Ulysses and on The Importance of Being Earnest. Public outcry has made them pull back on some of those decisions, but it does not make the fact that they were made in the first place less outrageous.

"Think Different"? No. More and more, Apple shows that it wants people who use its hardware to think the same.

And if you have a problem with that, Apple might just put you down the memory hole, as when they delete from their message boards discussion threads that are critical of their shiny but underfunctional geegaws.

Of course, censorship never does take very well. (Let's be clear: this is censorship. Apologists for corporatism like to say that only the government can engage in censorship, but that's not what the word means; when a business says "this is objectionable" rather than "people won't buy this", that's censorship.) The iPad has a built-in web browser, and though it doesn't support Flash -- the format of most video on the web today -- adult website "YouPorn" is already offering a selection of its videos in HTML5, which does work on the iPad.

So you can still view pr0n on the iPad -- just like you can still view WikiLeaks information. That does not change the fact that Apple's attempt to moralize is more appropriate for a church than for a technology company; and given that Apple is getting its fingers more and more around our information channels, it's much more disturbing.

If you support free expression, support free software. So long as you don't have the choice of what to install on your computer, your freedom is limited. We're headed more and more toward the world RMS envisioned in his short story The Right To Read.

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