It seems that all the world’s corporations have banded together against WikiLeaks, with the major credit cards having blacklisted payment options, Amazon having shut down the hosting, Facebook having locked down the FB Page, and — well, you get the idea. Now, add to that list Apple, who has removed the WikiLeaks application from their web store.
Design Taxi’s report gives us further details. The application was fairly simple, and allowed users to access the content from the WikiLeaks site directly from their iPhone or iPad. It had been up for only a few days, but had nearly 5,000 downloads in that time (and garnering its developer over $5,000). When asked for the reason for the application’s removal, an Apple spokesperson stated that “Apps must comply with local laws and may not put an individual or group in harm’s way.” Of course, this very statement puts Apple directly on one side of the heated debate over the legality and risks of this whistle blowing website.
However, Android has made no such move, and currently sports seven WikiLeaks applications (and two themes, to boot). These applications come in free or paid versions, and all center around the simple functionality of allowing easy browsing, searching, and examination of the content from the now downed site. Some come with extra functionality too, such as alert pings when new content is released.
Certainly, the open approach to an application ecosystem is a major part of Android’s rationale. However, there are other motivating factors here as well. First, Google’s target community — which includes Open Source lovers and developers — far more frequently side with WikiLeaks. Second, Google’s marketplace is still playing catchup with Apple’s, which is double its size. And third, intentionally hindering WikiLeaks has been shown — thanks to cyber attacks by Anonymous and other groups — to have other, more interesting risks.