Apple has removed a WikiLeaks app from its App Store just a few short days after its release.
Launched on December 17, the $1.99 WikiLeaks App offered access to the whistleblower site and the @wikileaks Twitter stream and was described as providing "'instant access to the world's most documented leakage of top secret memos and other confidential government documents," according to a Google cached version of the site provided by TechCrunch. The app was created by a third-party development firm called Hint Solutions, which lists Igor Barinov as its general manager.
But as of late last night, Barinov had confirmed both in his own Twitter feed and in an e-mail to TechCrunch that Apple has removed the WikiLeaks app from sale without further explanation at this point.
The move isn't surprising given both the controversy over WikiLeaks and Apple's tight control over which apps it feels are suitable for the App Store. In response to our query about why Apple took down the app, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller relayed the following statement to CNET:
"We removed the WikiLeaks app from the App Store because it violated our developer guidelines. Apps must comply with all local laws and may not put an individual or targeted group in harm's way."
After publishing thousands of sensitive U.S. State Department and Pentagon documents, WikiLeaks roused the ire of the U.S. government, which claimed that the release of such information undermines national security. The resulting uproar prompted several companies, including Amazon, MasterCard, Visa, and PayPal to shut off access to WikiLeaks, triggering a wave of cyberattacks from "hactivists" in support of the whistleblowing site. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains out on bail following his recent arrest in London, wanted for questioning by Swedish authorities over allegations of sexual assault.
Update 9:30 a.m. PT: Added statement from Apple.