For the first time, Apple outs the governments that asked for App Store takedowns

For the first time, Apple outs the governments that asked for App Store takedowns
Apple just released a treasure trove of information on app takedown requests by various governments for the second half of 2018, and the list is pretty telling. It's the first time that the company has disclosed such requests, and it all comes as part of its transparency report initiative.

One would think that it's autocratic countries going after dissident organizations that ask Apple to take down this or that app, but Vietnam and Austria, Kuwait and The Netherlands, as well as Saudi Arabia and Switzerland, have all requested app takedowns for various reasons.

Still, out of the 80 requests from 11 countries to remove 634/700 apps for the six months ending in December 2018, most came from China. Unfortunately, Apple didn't disclose the names of the apps but it did break down the topics of the takedown requests with an apparent predominance coming from illegal gambling apps:

  • Austria - Request related to illegal gambling app investigations.
  • China mainland - The vast majority relate to illegal gambling or pornography.
  • Kuwait - Request related to investigation of apps with suspected violation of privacy law.
  • Lebanon - Request related to investigation of app with suspected violation of privacy law.
  • Netherlands - Requests related to illegal gambling app investigations.
  • Norway - Request related to illegal gambling app investigations.
  • Russia - Requests predominantly related to illegal gambling app investigations.
  • Saudi Arabia - Request related to investigation of apps with suspected violation of privacy law.
  • Switzerland - Request related to illegal gambling app investigations.
  • Turkey - Requests related to investigation of illegal app content, including breach of copyright and suspected violation of local transportation law.
  • Vietnam - Requests predominantly related to illegal gambling app investigations and unlicensed gaming apps investigations.

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