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Apple reportedly rejects Cryptocat encrypted chat app from App Store
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Dec 28, 2013, 02:35 PM
Encrypted chat network Cryptocat has had its efforts to get an app onto Apple's App Store blocked, according to a new report. The Verge on Friday pointed to Cryptocat developer Nadim Kobeissi's tweet on the subject, which took Apple to task for rejecting the app, but did so in a vague manner. Kobeissi pointed to a non-disclosure agreement in saying that he could not discuss the rejection openly, but he pointed out that the "reasons [for the rejection] are truly illegitimate."

In a follow-up tweet, Kobeissi pointed out that "one of the reasons for Cryptocat for iPhone's rejection by Apple strongly implies that any other encrypted group chat app can be rejected." Still, the developer went into no more specifics, due to the developer non-disclosure agreement.

Cryptocat uses web technologies to provide encrypted chat services for users and their contacts. The service encrypts content before it leaves a user's device, meaning that the Cryptocat network itself should be unable to read sent messages. The open source software is currently compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera, and there is an app compatible with OS X.

As The Verge points out, Cryptocat is currently available in the Mac App Store as a free app. The Mac App Store has similar content guidelines to the iOS App Store.

Kobeissi has – in NSFW language – expressed his displeasure at Apple's decision. The developer has said that he is "seriously considering lawyering up." Apple has yet to issue a statement on the issue.
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Dec 29, 2013, 08:21 AM
Watch for stalling like this. Since the Snowden revelations, there's been an increased interest in encryption, particularly of messaging and email. If responding to customers were the only criteria, there'd be no reason to delay a much-wanted product like this one. But I can think of at least two other factors: 1. The NSA and kin don't want encryption and Apple is obeying. 2. Apple has its own encryption schemes under development and doesn't want to give competitors a fair shake. And even if #2 is the reason, #1 may be playing a role. Can we really trust Apple--or any other tech giant--that cooperated with the NSA's giant sweep of data not to continue to do so by inserting backdoors in their encryption. Heck, I'm not even sure how I'd know I could trust a small vendor.
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Dec 29, 2013, 01:02 PM
Or, #3 -- the app truly violates one of Apple's App Store guidelines/rules.

We may never know, but it's just as feasible as the two possibilities you laid out.
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Dec 30, 2013, 12:28 PM
Yeah, I'm calling BS on this. This petulant whining won't get him anywhere with Apple. Now, Apple isn't likely to do him any favours and he'll be less likely to get a meeting with a real person at Apple to discuss what can be done to get the app on the store.
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Dec 30, 2013, 01:16 PM
There are other encrypted chat, text message, and email apps in the iOS App Store. This even includes Blackberry's own app. Thus it is not encryption itself that caused this app's rejection.

Kobeissi isn't telling the whole truth. He probably was collecting customer data without their approval. He could be connecting to a third party website to send the data. He could be asking for payment or donation bypassing Apple's guidelines. For example, on his website, he asks for BitCoin donations. Apple prohibits BitCoin payments since BitCoins are not legal everywhere Apple sells apps.

Kobeissi has no case even if he "lawyers up". Good luck with that but Apple will prevail. He simply has to follow Apple's guidelines.
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