We've covered the technology aspects of the ongoing drone wars thoroughly here at PopSci. The geopolitical and legal ramifications have been fodder for an endlessly cycling debate in the blogosphere. Esquire's Tom Junod recently termed it the "Lethal Presidency" while examining the moral ramifications. The bottom line is, the U.S. is engaged in several shadow wars around the globe in which unmanned aircraft are lethally striking at a list of individuals in places like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. And Apple's App Store, for its part, seems to want nothing to do with it.
Drones+ is a smartphone app developed by NYU student Josh Begley. The app itself is pretty basic: when a drone strike occurs, the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism compiles media reports and logs the strike in its database. Drones+ then displays that strike on a map within the app and links users to a few news stories about it. If the user chooses, he or she will get a push notification, a quick realtime alert that a drone strike just happened somewhere in the world.
The idea is to connect people a little more with the actions being carried out in their name and bring awareness, for good or ill, to the ongoing drone war that is now the longest continuous aerial bombardment the United States military has ever engaged in. But the Apple App Store reviewers have rejected the app on three separate occasions for reasons ranging from "this app isn't entertaining enough" to "the content is objectionable and crude."
Apple routinely turns down apps for reasons that are less-than clear, and it is under no obligation to accept any app. But these are strange charges to level against an app that simply aggregates news reports. It does not display any images of the carnage wrought at the scene of a strike. It's simply meant to connect the drone wars with the citizens who are, willingly or not, supporting them and to make them aware of the frequency with which the U.S. Military and CIA are acting with deadly force on foreign soil. That has Begley wondering exactly what to do next. And the rest of us wondering what exactly it is that Apple really has a problem with: the app or the drone wars?
It's a Conspiracy I tell you! Apple does want this published, but their government overseers don't.
Great idea for an app anyway. I for one think it would nice to know how many people my taxes kill.
"A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?" - Albert Einstein
Apple iOS guideline 12.3
"Apps that are simply web clippings, content aggregators, or a collection of links, may be rejected."
Cant think of something more matching that requirement than this... controversial, yes... but nothing more than an aggregator.
In regards to Apple... they have always been corrupt about their approvals. They rejected Onlive from being on the iphone/ipod, because it would interfere with their profits. Also, apple monopolies the market charging over 30% royalty on anything that passes through them.
If you have an apple product like the iphone, I highly recommend you jailbreak it. Some of the stuff the community made is amazing, and far surpasses the apple default platform. Check it out.
(P.S) I wouldn't be surprised if apple is in bed with the government. It truly sickens me.
It's not a question of conspiracy, as though a few people from Apple and the government with shadows over their face in a dark room are discussing exactly how to fool the American people.
It's just the culture. There doesn't need to be any coordination, because there is a largely self-righteous willingness to suppress some 'minor' facts and stories that run counter to people's world-view. This is what is predominantly responsible for media bias.
A drone war is the ideal Democrat war. They get a kill count of "terrorists" so they can pretend they're a warrior of peace, and meanwhile there are no boots on the ground - and therefore no reporters on the ground available to report on the massive collateral casualties and damage. Things Democrats often criticize Republican leaders for during war.
If you want proof, The entire Democrat party, Obama included called Bush a war criminal for the detaining and 'torturing' of three known terrorists that aided al-Qaeda in 9/11. And recall this is modern day torture - all of the psychological breaking without the debilitating physical injury to health and limb. It should also be noted that one of those broken via water-boarding was the one who gave the info necessary to find Bin-Ladin.
In contrast, Obama orders these drone strikes on "presumed" terrorists (good suspicion, but not admitted or proven), as well as any dozen of innocents unfortunate enough to be in a 10m radius of them.
Republican torturing known terrorists to prevent terrorism =
Democrat remotely killing suspected terrorists, plus civilians, to prevent terrorism = good war policy.
See the difference? This app tries to bring that missing reporting from these drone strikes, and that runs counter to the narrative. It makes Obama look bad, and since Obama is good by definition, things that make him look bad are unfair and should be discouraged.
"Begley wondering exactly what to do next."
Is he aware that there is other phones than the iPhone...
I say it is unnecessary censure. Telling others that the gov't has some colaterall makes the gov't afraid that they will be protrayed as being too heavy handed. I think that the democrats are being slightly isolationist. They sing the praises of drones and scream bloody murder if we have troops out and abroad. Look at how fast Obama ripped us out of Afganistan (not that I am complaining, the less bloodshed, the better), but I think that we'll have drones in the sky for years over, and civillians will still die.
Now I don't say that apple and the gov't are having some fun behind closed doors, but I know that apple lobbies in congress, so I bet that congress can do the same.
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
For Begley, it still doesn't keep him from using his news service alone or in concert with anyone else, including other news services in the network. While the iPhone app may have brought instant riches, it's hardly needed if there are actual users that also talk online via other services.
@Brian I think it's rather hilarious how you have to mention a specific political party in your post, on an article that bares no merit to either party. In other words, you're being ignorant and biased which tells me I no longer even want to listen to what you have to say.
And quite frankly if Apple wants to deny this app then by all means that's their right. It's their OS. Further more it's in their policy that they will deny any aggregator apps and this is by the very definition an aggregator application. It only fuels tension toward the government and increases people's ignorance and Apple just doesn't want to be a part of it. For you people to sit there and insinuate or state that Apple is working with the government or that the government is their overseers only proves your lack of logical and analytic thinking.Funny thing is, I bet a majority of these news updates are complete bullshit.
With a name like TrueUSPatriot I expected a comment like that and you didn't disappoint.
Its Apples system they do with it as they wish. I dislike apple for many reasons but they do have sound business sense and what they are doing is working.
I do like the idea of this app. But as a mobile app I really don't see the point unless your a journalist.