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Apple Shuts Down Wikileaks App

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Remember a time when Apple was bad ass? The fringe counterculture, fighting against The Man, even going so far as to compare its opposition to an Orwellian Big Brother?

What a difference a couple decades and a skyrocketing market cap make.

For better or worse, Wikileaks is 2010's answer to a modern day counterculture and exemplifies Freedom of the Press. Say what you will about Julian Assange -- and if the charges against him are accurate, there would be plenty -- but he's responsible for hundreds of companies scrambling to play damage control and even more executives quaking in their Bruno Maglis. Companies like Visa, MasterCard, Paypal, and Bank of America have severed ties with Wikileaks -- presumably for fear of being implicated in an upcoming leak.

Executives are scared. Politicians are worried. Big Business is terrified that illegal practices will be exposed.

And in the end, isn't that what we all wanted?

Nevertheless, when the line in the sand was forged, the public along with corporations chose their sides. And now, so has Apple. A mere three days since the company approved it for sale in the App Store, Apple has removed a Wikileaks app from the online marketplace -- clearly dictating which side of the line the secretive Steve Jobs and Co. fall.

Third party developer Igor Barinov -- who's not affiliated with the Wikileaks group -- submitted the app on December 11 and it was approved for sale on December 17 for $1.99. According to the description, "The Wikileaks app gives instant access to the world's most documented leakage of top secret memos and other confidential government documents."

By December 20, the app status had been changed to "Removed from Sale." In a Tweet, Barinov wrote it had been done "without reasons."

However, Twitter user @invisiblebot suggested that it could be due to the app's charitable donations to Wikileaks. The description read, "Internet democracy requires funds to stay strong. By purchasing the Wikileaks app, you donate 1 dollar of the purchase price towards organizations that work to promote the future of online." In his latest update, Barinov asks if he omits the mention of donations that the app could be magically restored in the App Store.

Surely, this is something Apple could've mentioned to Barinov following the app's removal. But given the company's history with erratic App Store management -- and a significant leniency toward Big Business -- this isn't surprising in the least.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.