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Apple Drones App Banned: Politicians And Campaigners Step Up Fight

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Politicians and activists are continuing to put pressure on Apple to publish a controversial app which monitors drone strike locations - after the company blocked it.

The app is also the subject of a growing US petition, launched last week on Roots Action, calling on company to reconsider.

The App Store rejected the product, calling it "objectionable and crude".

Roots Action, which is run by the left-leaning Action for a Progressive Future, launched a petition last week asking Apple to reconsider.

drone

American citizens rally in Islamabad, Pakistan against drone attacks in the tribal belt

The campaigners said in a statement attached to the petition: "Drone wars continue because the US public is unaware what is being done in our name with our money. We are interested in knowing where our government is using drones and has killed people, not in celebrating that killing.

The people in Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere living under the drones can't ignore what's being done to them. Neither should we, as it's done with our money and in our names.

"Drones+ is an application that shows no depictions of the carnage of war and reveals no secret information.

"It simply adds a location to a map every time a drone strike is reported in the media and added to a database maintained by the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism."

Hilary Stauffer, Deputy Director of Reprieve's drones team, told The Huffington Post UK: "The CIA's drone programme is terrorising civilian communities across North West Pakistan.

"All the drones+ app seeks to do is pull together publicly-available information to keep its users informed about when and where these strikes are taking place.

"Banning this app is therefore inexplicable, and smacks of censorship.

"Given that one of Apple's most famous adverts warned against an Orwellian future, it is deeply ironic that their actions are now halting the spread of information about the CIA's secret war."

Josh Begley, a graduate student at New York University, developed the app, called Drones+, to show the location of strikes, using reports collated by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

He insisted there are no national security issues in showing the date.

Apple company received around £4.5m in Pentagon contracts last year, according to Action for a Progressive Future, the left-wing group running to campaign to instate the app.

The cause has been taken up by one of the House of Representatives most outspoken critics of President Obama's drone police, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich told US politics site The Hill: "What is ‘objectionable and crude’ are the drone strikes themselves.

“I strongly support any effort to bring increased transparency to our combat drone program. This program continues to operate without transparency and accountability.”

The rejection of the app is all the more controversial because of the other apps Apple allows to appear on its site, like the UAV Fighter app for iPhone.

TransLumen Technologies, a military defence contractor, and Entertaining Games have built an app, which allows you to play at piloting a drone, "the Grim Reaper Predator, Raven, and Proteus Prototype."

It's described on the site as "you haven't lived until you have launched a perfect volley of 4 laser guided air-to-surface missiles, 4 shots - 4 kills, while using ECM to deflect incoming surface-to-air missiles, and dodging incoming tank shells and air-to-air nose-cannon fire!

"Everyone will notice the look of evil glee that comes across your face as you unleash the terrifying power of the Plasma Laser equipped Proteus Prototype! No wonder our enemies want us to kill work on this recently declassified weapon!"

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