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Apple benches WikiLeaks app

Apple has become the latest major brand to distance itself from WikiLeaks, the controversial whistle-blowing website.

Reports on various blogs describe how a WikiLeaks app, which had only been launched this month, had disappeared from the App Store, the online resource where users can download all manner of fancy stuff for their Apple products.

Apple confirmed that the WikiLeaks app had indeed been given the boot for breaking its rules.

Business Insider, a news site, got a quote from an Apple spokesman, who explained: "We removed WikiLeaks because it violated developer guidelines. An app must comply with all local laws. It may not put an individual or target group in harm's way."

That explanation won't be enough to stop the rumour mill, which has had plenty of grist in recent weeks.

Amazon, Facebook and Visa have all turned their backs on WikiLeaks after the site drew intense criticism, especially in the US, for its latest release of confidential government communiqués.

Supporters of WikiLeaks and its equally controversial founder, Julian Assange, accuse these brands of bending to pressure from the political establishment.

Similar statements to this one from Apple about all users needing to stick to the terms of service have so far failed to placate WikiLeaks' supporters. Some of the web's biggest names have had hackers trying to bring their sites down for shutting WikiLeaks out.

This is no doubt a story that will run and run. Assange, an Aussie, is out on bail in the UK at the moment ahead of an extradition hearing in the New Year.

Even if he avoids getting sent back to Sweden, where he's wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations, there is a very good chance that US prosecutors will try to put a case together against him. Assange though has promised more leaks.

Apple won't be the last major online brand to be forced to decide which side of the fence to sit on.