Excellent news from Josh Begley that Apple has finally accepted his app tracking US drone strikes:
No longer Drones+, it’s now called Metadata+ and advertises ‘real time updates on national security’, and you can download it free of charge from the App Store.
You can find more on Josh’s work, including the larger Dronestream project here, while the saga of Apple’s rejections of Drones + is here. The first application in July 2012 was rejected because the app was ‘not useful or entertaining enough’ (really); a subsequent application was rejected because it provided content that ‘many audiences would find objectionable’ (yes indeed). Last September Apple made it clear that any app specifically about drone strikes would be rejected – unless, of course, it was a game like UAV Fighter – but ‘if you broaden your topic, then we can take another look.’ Hence Metadata+ (and look at its wonderful logo on the left).
According to Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai at mashable, the inspiration for the name change was a tweet from Tom Junod, the author of an unrelenting critique of ‘The lethal presidency of Barack Obama’ that appeared in Esquire in August 2012:
Indeed it is. I’ve posted about metadata, code/space and ‘the everyware war’ via Josh’s work here, and for a brief reflection on the ‘connection between the unfolding NSA metadata controversy and the controversy that has long plagued the administration’s position on drone strikes’, see Robert Chesney at Lawfare here. Like too many commentators he thinks the key issue is ‘transparency’ (which he links to legitimacy) – on which Madiha Tahir‘s critical comments bear repeating – but Josh’s experience with Apple shows that transparency is important. As long as it’s entertaining and not objectionable, of course…