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That was quick: the WikiLeaks app on Apple’s App Store, published only on December 17, was early today removed by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). The developer, Igor Barinov, confirmed as much in a tweet.
But if mobile Wikileaking is your thing, a quick investigation by mocoNews reveals that there are still a number of apps out there purporting to dish the cables and other WikiLeaks information.
While the app gave people a handy way of accessing the WikiLeaks cables, it also offered a method of donating money to support the cause. The app had been selling for $1.99 (€1.59), and Barinov said that he was committed to donating half of his revenues towards WikiLeaks itself.
Before the app was pulled, Barinov noted that some 2,860 downloads had taken place — not very many, but if you look at the graphic of sales you’ll see how fast sales were accelerating.
Barinov posted an interesting usage metric, showing that a large part of the downloads were coming from the U.S. It had also reached number one in the “lifestyle” section for the iPad app store in Sweden, where Assange has gained particular notoriety due to a sexual assault case, and it was also at the top of the charts at Appsfire, one of the many app discovery sites out in the market today.
The move of information dissemination to mobile, and mobile apps in particular, is an interesting twist, as several of the websites hosting information have been blocked, leading WikiLeaks’ supporters into an endless game of hide-and-seek, as they seek safe harbors in new URLs and on new servers.
Mobile apps can run information that also appears on web sites, of course, but they can also pick up their content from other servers and sources. That can make them potentially more difficult to track and shut down.
Which brings us to this: there seem to be many other apps out there that are offering the same WikiLeaks info, but have not been shut down. Yet. On the iTunes store, there is Truthseeker, which says it provides feeds of Wikileaks materials as well as other “alternative news sources.” It is free.
Meanwhile, on Android, the app discovery engine Androlib lists several apps that either offer unadulterated WikiLeaks cables, or these plus supplementary information such as blogs and podcasts commenting on them.
The picture we’re using to illustrate this post is from one called Wikileaks, made by developer Michael Healy, which is free of charge on the Android store.