Expose Apple’s Hypocrisy Over Banned Drone App

Target: Apple CEO Tim Cook

Goal: Force Apple to allow the Drones+ app, which sends notifications whenever a drone kills someone overseas, in the Apple App Store

Apple refuses to allow an app called Drones + into the App Store. The app sends real-time notifications to users whenever a United States unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, or drone) kills someone overseas. Apple has denied the app’s admission into the App store three times, and each time has given a different reason. Most recently it refused the app on the grounds that it found the app ‘objectionable and crude’, even though all the app does is send news reports–albeit a specific type of report–to the user. The hypocrisy here is upsetting as Apple has allowed thousands of apps and games into the App Store that feature war and allows users to role play as US armed forces personnel, killing people at will. Refusing this app is simply an attempt to distance people  from the daily killings carried out by the US military. Urge Apple to reconsider its stance and allow this app into the App Store.

There is an app currently in the App Store called ‘UAV Fighter’ which allows the user to pilot a UAV. The game makers include this blurb in the game’s description: ‘You haven’t lived until you have launched a perfect volley of 4 laser guided air-to-surface missiles, 4 shots – 4 kills…’. Clearly, making a game about killing people with drones is acceptable, but if citizens want to stay informed about actual drone strikes that their government is carrying out that is unacceptable (or ‘objectionable and crude’). The rest of the App Store is riddled with war-themed apps that make a game and sport of killing.

The thought that this isn’t even Apple’s call is a very real possibility, and if so it would be truly alarming. If the American Government is somehow leaning on Apple to refuse this app, it would be down right deplorable. And if America’s military actions abroad are so noble, and done in the name of ‘freedom’ and the spreading of democracy, why then would the government try to limit exposure to the realities of their war campaigns? It is because the amount of killing the American military carries out daily with these drone strikes is something people would be uncomfortable with, and might even begin to question if they had a better grasp on the scope of the UAV operations.

Apple can refuse apps based on its own criteria, but refusing this one in the manner they have simply makes the company look bad–complicit in a government attempt to lessen exposure to American UAV operations. Urge Apple to allow this app into the App Store. An informed public is always preferable to the alternative.


Dear Mr. Stevens,

We are writing you regarding Apple’s refusal to include the Drone+ app in the App Store. The official reason given by Apple was that the app was found to be ‘objectionable and crude’, and therefore inappropriate. We find this reasoning troubling to say the least. The App Store features all manner of war games, which simulate killing in combat as users roll play as US military personal. There is even a UAV drone game that allows users to control a drone within the game and simulate killing people.

The Drones + app simply informs people of real events–important events–taking place around the world. Refusing concerned citizens a way to learn of daily killings carried out by the American military, while at the same time making light of death and combat by endorsing games which make a game of death (and drone strikes in particular) is absurd, and even tragically hypocritical. People don’t need sheltering from the realities of war; if anything they need a greater understanding of exactly what it means to be waging this type of conflict.

This app simply reports the news. It may be controversial news, but should Apple really be deciding what news is appropriate and what news is not? It just looks bad. It looks like the US Government has leaned on Apple and persuaded them not to allow Drones + into the App Store. We hope this isn’t the case, and we hope you’ll prove it by allowing Drones + to be downloaded by those who desire its services.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit by EV_1 via Flickr

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  1. Glorification of killing and war weapons–marketing and educating with a reprehensible example of violence. This is not the way to go.

  2. Apple is right to refuse to allow an app called Drones + into the App Store.

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