Apple Pulls Secret App in Brazil After Judge’s Request
Days after a Brazilian judge requested in a preliminary injunction that the Secret app be removed from the Apple App Store and Google Play store, Apple has removed the virtual confession forum from the App Store in Brazil.
Secret is an app that allows users to anonymously share their most intimate confessions with other people browsing the app. Paulo Cesar de Carvalho, the presiding judge, argued that the app is an agent of online bullying and therefore detrimental to the public. He ordered that the app be removed from both Apple’s and Google’s app stores within 10 days (starting on Wednesday), with a fine of $9,000 per day tacked on if the order is ignored after that period.
Legally, any apps sold through a country-specific App Store are under the jurisdiction of that country’s government, according to the App Store guidelines. Brazilian law forbids (PDF) anonymous expression in chapter 1, article 5, section 4 of its constitution.
That said, the judge’s power to enforce this ban is unclear, but it obviously held some weight in Apple’s eyes. The company removed the app from its App Store on Friday without much fanfare and issued no public statement on the matter.
Google, however, has not moved to take down Secret from the Google Play store. The judge also requested that the app be wiped from existing users’ smartphones and tablets, but neither Google nor Apple have taken steps to do so. Based on the 10-day time frame that the judge gave, though, there is still a little more than a week for the two companies to respond.
Neither Apple nor Secret responded to requests for comment.
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