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Apple purges drunk-driving apps

Speeding still OK, apparently

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Apple has changed the T&C for its iTunes app store to specifically exclude applications that warn of approaching police check-points.

Applications alerting users to police activity ahead have already been expunged from the RIM App World, and with Apple’s new rules (spotted by AutoBlog) it’s now only Android users who’ll be able to tap into cloud-sourced information on police check-points where alcohol on the breath can seriously inconvenience.

The new rules came out during Apple’s recent developer conference, when attention was focused on the new iOS version and iCloud’s unveiling, and are fairly clear: “Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected.”

That leaves the door open for PhantomAlert and Trapster (the two most popular titles) to continue selling their applications - which also list speed cameras, radar traps and school zones - as long as the Driving while Under the Influence (DUI) traps aren't listed.

So in Apple’s world it’s OK to help people avoid getting done for speeding, but not for drink driving.

When the existence of such applications was raised by four US senators, in an open letter, RIM immediately removed all the applications concerned, Google did nothing and Apple dithered.

BlackBerry users can still install the apps, as RIM isn't a locked-down platform. But removal from the official store is still a significant step, and both applications (along with a few others) are still in Google’s Android Marketplace.

Apple has come up with this compromise presumably in the hope that the developers would prefer to cut down their apps than desert iTunes - and the official application distribution mechanism - completely. ®

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