- UPDATE: After several news published, Apple told Dave Choffnes that his iPhone app, designed to detect net neutrality violations, will be allowed in the iTunes App Store. Apple has blocked WeHe app, a net neutrality testing app in AppStore. Wehe app is simple enough to use. On being opened, the app asks the user to agree to a consent form, which is being used by Coffnes to serve the purposes of his research. Later Apple confirmed it allowed the app in iTunes App Store.
“We realized that they’re looking for certain text in the network traffic, and if we changed that text—replaced nflxvideo.net with northeasternvideo.com—when we send that traffic over the network, it doesn’t get throttled,” Choffnes said. “This means it’s keyword related and not server or even content related.”Furthermore, Choffnes has said that video data are throttled round the clock in order to decongest data traffic. However, throttling data is at loggerheads with the rules of Net Neutrality. Choffnes’ app has the capacity to allow its users to check the services being provided to them by various telecom service providers and thus enable them to take an informed decision about which telecom service provider to choose. Apple’s move to block such a pro-consumer app from their App Store has thus inevitably raised quite a few eyebrows. If users can't gain access to any information regarding Net Neutrality violations because of apps being blocked by the iOS platform, how are they supposed to create a large enough outrage to prevent telecom companies from violating Net Neutrality, as suggested by FCC? While telecom service providers desire to not play by the rules of Net Neutrality remain understandable due to reasons of profit, Why Apple has deemed it fit to claim that Wehe app "has no direct benefits to the user" remain a dubious question. Apple has yet to comment on the move.
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