Apple 2.0

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Poll: Should Apple accept an app that tracks drone kills?

September 3, 2012: 9:17 AM ET

Drone+ has been rejected three times -- now for "objectionable and crude" content

Screenshot from Drone+. Via Wired.

FORTUNE -- Wired last week reported that for the third time in a month, Apple (AAPL) has rejected an app that would post a location on a map -- and alert users by push notification (with permission, of course) -- every time a U.S. drone is reported to have killed someone in Pakistan, Yeman or Somalia.

The strike data come from the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism and are presented in bare-bones fashion -- no grisly images of corpses or smoking buildings. But Apple's reviewers have determined that Drone+ is not fit for their App Store.

As Wired reports, developer Josh Begley -- a student of Clay Shirky at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program -- is confused. His app was rejected once as "not useful or entertaining enough," a second time because of the placement of Google's (GOOG) logo on the maps, and most recently because, according to Apple's e-mail,  it "contains content that many audiences would find objectionable."

We're also confused. The App Store has accepted dozens of games that invite users to practice controlling military drones in simulations that are unabashedly violent. "You haven't lived until you launched a volley of 4 laser-guided air-to-surface missiles," reads the promo for Entertaining Games' UAV Fighter Free. "4 shots -- 4 kills... You'll think you've died and gone to heaven."

Why is simulating drone kills not objectionable but reporting real drone kills is?

What do you think? Vote below.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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