Once-blocked Net Neutrality-tracking app Wehe will be allowed in the iOS App Store

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple blocked Wehe, an app to test net neutrality compliance -- but after the developer provided more information, the company has reversed its decision and is now allowing the app in the store.




Called Wehe, the app by David Choffnes tests download speeds from YouTube, Amazon, NBCSports, Netflix, Skype, Spotify, and Vimeo, checking for differentiation, Motherboard said on Thursday. Ideally, traffic flagged as coming through a particular app or service should run just as fast as that stripped of identifiers.

An App Store reviewer originally blocked the app for "objectionable content," claiming that it "has no direct benefits to the user," even suggesting that it "may mislead users by providing inaccurate determinations." The app collects data for a research study, and asks users to consent at launch.

Choffnes' team is separately working for Verizon to research the performance of the company's video streaming services, and under contract with a French telecom regular to provide Wehe as a service.

In Motherboard testing of Verizon through Wehe, services like Amazon Video, Netflix, and YouTube were conspicuously being throttled. YouTube, for instance, was able to hit 20 megabits per second without identifiers, but only 6 megabits when left as usual.

After news of the block was reported, Apple contacted Choffnes for more information on how the app worked. After providing the information, the app has been approved.

Though the U.S. Federal Communications Commission just recently voted to repeal net neutrality protections -- something still encountering public and political resistance -- Choffnes argues that neutrality didn't exist even prior to rules changes. Carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile have put limits on video resolution, and/or zero-rated certain services so they don't count against data caps.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    This is another instance of the "customers aren't dumb but remain sheep, effectively meaning we can treat them that way" - mentality that has dominated the Apple strategy as of lately.  
    Batterygate has learned that this arrogance  does not get tolerated anymore and must be terminated.
    Educated customers will always win over companies that want to outsmart them - whether in IT, mobile or cable/telco industries.
    So these companies shouldn't even start thinking about outsmarting -  as it forces them into all kinds of complications that they ultimately can't handle as Tim Cook learned this week
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 2 of 10
    Would be great to include the link to the app, yes?
    SpamSandwichmacseeker
  • Reply 3 of 10
    YouTube, for instance, was able to hit 20 megabits per second without identifiers, but only 6 megabits when left as usual.

    What does "without identifiers" mean? It's incumbent on a reporter to unravel uncommon or confusing technical jargon for readers, yes?
    macseekercurtis hannahbonobob
  • Reply 4 of 10
    appleric said:
    Would be great to include the link to the app, yes?
    I wonder if it's been approved, but not yet published?
  • Reply 5 of 10
    flydogflydog Posts: 353member
    appleric said:
    Would be great to include the link to the app, yes?
    I wonder if it's been approved, but not yet published?
    It is currently not on the App Store. 
  • Reply 6 of 10
    flydogflydog Posts: 353member
    YouTube, for instance, was able to hit 20 megabits per second without identifiers, but only 6 megabits when left as usual.

    What does "without identifiers" mean? It's incumbent on a reporter to unravel uncommon or confusing technical jargon for readers, yes?
    Generally requests to a server will include a header that includes info such as the web browser, language, country, etc.  The header info allows the server to determine who is requesting the content and where the request originated. 
  • Reply 7 of 10
    Latko said:
    This is another instance of the "customers aren't dumb but remain sheep, effectively meaning we can treat them that way" - mentality that has dominated the Apple strategy as of lately.  
    Batterygate has learned that this arrogance  does not get tolerated anymore and must be terminated.
    Educated customers will always win over companies that want to outsmart them - whether in IT, mobile or cable/telco industries.
    So these companies shouldn't even start thinking about outsmarting -  as it forces them into all kinds of complications that they ultimately can't handle as Tim Cook learned this week
    Do mean by actually extending the life of devices by preventing spike and actually listing it In the update notes. The same notes that sites like this should have reported on 
  • Reply 8 of 10
    bb-15bb-15 Posts: 272member
    flydog said:
    appleric said:
    Would be great to include the link to the app, yes?
    I wonder if it's been approved, but not yet published?
    It is currently not on the App Store. 
    Here is a link in David Choffnes Twitter feed. 

    https://mobile.twitter.com/proffnes/status/954048717627318272

  • Reply 9 of 10
    Even with a few errors in the test, looks like AT&T is clean.  It couldn't test Amazon and Skype.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    YouTube, for instance, was able to hit 20 megabits per second without identifiers, but only 6 megabits when left as usual.

    What does "without identifiers" mean? It's incumbent on a reporter to unravel uncommon or confusing technical jargon for readers, yes?
    except when it's pretty self-explanatory surely? "identifiers", I'm going to take a stab in the dark and say that's something that indentifys to the ISP what the data is, i.e. a "youtube video" rather than an "email".

    there's a limit on how far reporters can/should dumb things down before it gets silly.
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