MSNBC picked up a story over the weekend relating to an app developed by Josh Begley, a graduate student at New York University, which was designed to allow users to track the impact and death counts caused by U.S drone strikes.
As the story goes, Begley developed an app called ‘Drones Plus’ to track the impact of U.S drone strikes in the Middle East, last summer, and then sent the app to the iTunes App Store for approval. Begley says the app really arrived out of an idea that, even if the information regarding drone strikes is easily accessible, do we really want to be “connected” to it?
According to Begley, Apple blocked the publishing of ‘Drones Plus’ to its App Store three separate times. The first two times the app was rejected, Begley notes that Apple claimed there was a technical error or bug that needed to be fixed. The third time around it appears Apple offered up the real reason behind the app’s original rejection, though, reportedly classifying the app’s content as ‘excessively crude or objectionable.’
Begley notes that the rejection of Drones Plus is particularly interesting, given that the app only serves to republish news stories that the twitter account @dronestream, (which is ran and managed by Begley, according to the account’s description), provides.
MSNBC notes that it did try to contact Apple over the rejection of the app, but as of yet has not heard back from the company. When asked why he would want to track U.S drone strikes, Begley says that he was interested in the dataset to begin with because it is really “more than a dataset,” adding that to him it’s really a “human dataset,” full of stories about real people.
It is so far unclear if Apple will ever allow Drones Plus to reside on its App Store.