Encrypted chat service Cryptocat has spent the past two years blocking outsiders from reading private conversations, and now it’s facing a block of its own trying to get onto Apple’s App Store. Developer Nadim Kobeissi took to Twitter today to blast the iPhone and iPad maker for unjustly rejecting Cryptocat for iPhone, software that was announced earlier this month. Kobeissi says he’s under a non-disclosure agreement as part of the Apple developer program and cannot go into specifics, but claims that the reasons the company gave for its rejection were “illegitimate,” and could threaten similar apps. “One of the reasons for Cryptocat for iPhone’s rejection by Apple strongly implies that any other encrypted group chat app can be rejected,” Kobeissi said in a follow-up tweet.
Keeps eyeballs off your chats[/quote]
Cryptocat made waves for offering a simple way to let two people chat while using end-to-end encryption. The service gained international attention (and some notoriety) in light of government eavesdropping, and its use in countries where free speech was limited. That’s come with some costs: Kobeissi says he’s gone through extra security screenings when traveling; and fearing intrusion from the Canadian government earlier this year, he moved Cryptocat’s entire network to a Swedish nuclear bunker.
One thing that makes all this curious is that Cryptocat’s already available on Apple’s App Store for OS X, which has similar content guideline requirements. Developers need to meet those rules before software can be distributed to users, though unlike on desktop machines, Apple does not allow users to buy or install software from elsewhere on iOS.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the rejection, which Kobeissi says he might legally challenge.