Apple Threatened With Lawsuit Over Rejection of Chat App

retina display TV eyeApple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store has rejected encrypted chat service app Cryptocat for undisclosed reasons, reports The Verge. As noted on Cryptocat’s official website, the open source software utilizes end-to-end encryption that ensures even Cryptocat can’t read users’ messages.

Although Cryptocat developer Nadim Kobeissi was unable to reveal the specific reasons that Apple gave for the app rejection due to a non-disclosure agreement, he noted via his Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) account that the “reasons are truly illegitimate.” He also noted that the reasons cited by Apple could be used to ban other encrypted group chat apps from the App Store. Oddly enough, Cryptocat is already available through Apple’s Mac App Store for OS X. As noted by The Verge, both App Stores have similar content guidelines.

“One of the reasons for Cryptocat for iPhone’s rejection by Apple strongly implies that any other encrypted group chat app can be rejected,” tweeted Kobeissi on Friday. Kobeissi also noted that he was considering legal action against Apple. “Seriously considering lawyering up,” tweeted the app developer. Kobeissi also later revealed that he had consulted with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF is a well-known digital rights organization that advocates for privacy on the Internet.

Although Kobeissi initially appeared to be threatening Apple with a lawsuit, the app developer took a more conciliatory tone in a statement on Saturday. “I’m working with the @EFF on discussing Apple’s Cryptocat iOS concerns,” tweeted  Kobeissi. “We’re cautiously optimistic and expect only the best from Apple! :-)

Although Apple has yet to reveal the reasons behind Cryptocat’s rejection, the California-based company has previously been criticized for banning apps based on a government’s request. For example, Apple recently removed the FreeWeibo app that allowed users to circumvent some of the censorship filters used by China’s government.

Apple has recently been making moves to reassure its American users about its commitment to customer privacy following the government surveillance program information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Last month, Apple followed the lead of several other tech companies and released a transparency report regarding requests for information “about individual users or devices” that the company has received from the government.

Here’s how Apple traded on Friday.


Follow Nathanael on Twitter (@ArnoldEtan_WSCS)

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