We must never turn away from the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might make us.
Which brings us to Apple and an app called Metadata+. The app was first released in 2014 and provided a very simple service to users: it sent a push notification anytime a US drone strike resulted in a death. It was downloaded 50,000 times before Apple decided to pull the plug, saying the content of the app was “objectionable and crude.”
Josh Begley, the creator of the app, has been trying periodically to get it back into the Apple App Store since, and was successful for a few hours this week before Apple noticed and pulled it again.
Begley’s app should be allowed in the App Store, and Apple should be ashamed by its stance. Begley’s app shines light on one of the more controversial aspects of an ongoing war, one that people have the right to know. There were no graphic depictions of death in Begley’s app; no blood and gore; nothing violent at all. Instead, it was a real-time news service about something all Americans – and everyone everywhere – should be informed of.
In an era in which technology companies like Facebook, Google and others have tremendous influence over the information people receive, all companies have an obligation to ensure that users can access accurate, truthful information, particularly information which involves the actions of their own government. Blocking access to vital information makes Apple no better than the worst censors operating in authoritarian regimes.