The explosion of technology and mobile phones has created an incredible ecosystem in which people can use a range of services through hundreds of thousands of apps. These apps are reviewed by the companies who own the application stores and then released to the public. One of the most popular application stores in the world is the App Store that is operated by Apple and is available to millions of iPhone users around the world. Despite the fact that Apple reviews apps, the company revealed that they do get requests from governments to remove certain apps that might contain ‘unlawful content.’
The App Store is available all over the world and the company revealed in transparency report for the period spanning July-December 2018 that it had received as many as 80 such requests from governments in 11 countries. Government intervention in tech is something that might not be totally acceptable to many tech giants, but at the same time, it needs to keep in mind that certain apps might flout local rules. In such a situation, there is no other option but to remove those apps. Apple revealed that the requests were related to a total of 770 apps and the company removed a total of 634 apps from its App Store due to the complaints of ‘unlawful content.’ The report stated,
The number of requests received from a government agency seeking to take down a third party application offered on the App Store related to alleged/suspected legal violations.
The report revealed that the most persistent complainant were the agencies tied to the Chinese government, which asked for the removal of 517 apps. The other countries which had sent in a number of such requests were Lebanon, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. The company added that the company also entertains requests from government agencies to access an individual’s device as part of a legal investigation and during the period in question, the company received requests for 213,737 devices. In this regard, Apple stated,
“Apple regularly receives multi-device requests related to fraud investigations. Device-based requests generally seek details of customers associated with devices or device connections to Apple services.”