Apple Backpedals After Initially Rejecting Wehe iOS App That Scans For Net Neutrality Violations


After blocking an app in the App Store that was designed to alert iOS users of net neutrality violations, Apple took a second look at the application, called Wehe, and decided it was acceptable after all. However, the developer of the app, Dave Choffnes, is still unclear on why exactly Apple chose to banish Wehe from the App Store, which underscores the mysteries of Apple's review process.

There are guidelines that spell things out, of course, but even when all the check boxes appear to be ticked, Apple can still decide to refuse an app entrance into its lucrative App Store. That is what happened to Choffnes, who said he had a "very pleasant" conversation with Apple, but that the company "did not provide any insight" into its review process and what led his app to be rejected in the first place.


Apple was not completely elusive, however, and explained to Choffnes that it deals with many apps that do not work the way they claim to. Perhaps erring on the side of caution in what is a hot issue—net neutrality—Apple asked Choffnes to provide technical details on how exactly Wehe is able to detect net neutrality violations, such as wireless providers throttling data. Within a day of that request, Choffnes provided the information requested, and Apple granted Wehe admittance into the App Store.

"Do you want to know if your carrier is violating net neutrality? Wehe tells you if this is the case, and how much they are slowing down (or speeding up) specific apps. By running these tests, you will also help us create a public database of carrier behavior worldwide. This can help you decide which carrier to use in the future, based on the performance they give to your favorite apps," Wehe's description reads.

There could be a lot of interest in Wehe and other apps purporting to do the same thing, given the current situation. Led by FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC voted 3-2 to approval a controversial proposal to eliminate net neutrality regulations that were imposed under the Obama administration, with Tom Wheeler then serving as FCC chairman. The fear is that without the rules in place, ISPs can abuse their power by throttling traffic, creating paid prioritization lanes, and more.

Time will tell if any of that takes place, but if it does, apps like Wehe could at least help consumers stay informed. You can find Wehe here.

Top Image Source: Flickr via Luis Villa del Campo