KRAPPS.com has a very disturbing article about Apple's action against the developer of the forChan app. The forChan application is simply an image scraper designed to work with image boards such as 4chan. While many of the pictures posted on these imageboards (which are all posted by users) are innocuous, many of these imageboards cannot be described as anything but the nasty, grimy underbelly of the Internet.
ForChan.app is simply a client to a particular type of web application that is widely used for non-porn images as well as porn. The app scrapes the imageboard HTML for image tags, then presents all of the images from one subboard as thumbnails, allowing the user to view them larger by tapping on a thumbnail. The app doesn't, itself, contain porn or do anything that clearly and undisputedly violates the SDK agreement.
After Apple realized that they let on a dedicated client tailor made for some of the nastiest places on the Internet, they quickly pulled the application. Had they stopped there, it would have been wrong, but not on any kind of epic scale. It would have been just another example of the risk of working in the Cathedral1. We all farm Apple's land, and we all know they have a certain amount of power over us. But, Apple didn't stop there, they then revoked the developer's certificate and removed all of his other applications from the App store. In one arbitrary, unappealable step, they completely removed one developer's source of income and made the product of many, many hours of work completely useless. The reason? Because he "deceived Apple about the intent of the application".
This is unfair in ways it's hard to describe.
What was the developer's deceit that was so bad it warranted completely destroying his livelihood? Well, he um… didn't default the application to show porn, which Apple has decided is the app's main purpose. Despite the fact that the very name of the application, and certainly the description submitted were very clear about what the application does (hell, the application is named after one of the seediest imageboards on the net). Because whomever reviewed the app wasn't savvy enough to pick up on the App's purpose the first time through, they've declared the developer to be dishonest.
I give Apple the benefit of the doubt whenever there is any to give. I have defended their actions a few times when they might not have deserved to be defended. But this is too far for even me. This kind of arbitrary and devastating action is disproportionate punishment and I can't see any justification or defense.
Apple should reinstate Charles Rodriguez's developer credentials and restore his other apps to the App Store immediately along with an apology. I doubt they will, but that's the right course of action for them to take.
1- This is a reference to Eric S. Raymond's classic comparison of commercial and open source software models The Cathedral and the Bazaar.