back to article Apple kicks iStuff-sniffer out of App Store

Apple has banned an app that allows fanbois to work out which stores have stocks of the latest iPads and iPhones. In a seemingly self-defeating move, the fruity firm wrote to Apple Tracker developer Mordy Tikotzky to say his app was no longer welcome in Apple world. He immediately removed the app, which collected publicly …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge
Megaphone

Cold Frenzy

By allowing the consumers to know where devices are available the "frenzy" is reduced to nothing more than a bus ride....

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Cold Frenzy

Aren't they a mean bunch of b*ggers!

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Cold Frenzy

All part of the trials and tribulations that an Aficionado must endure...

0
0

Re: Cold Frenzy

iFicionado surely

11
0
Silver badge
Pint

Re: Cold Frenzy

Lord Elpuss, you deserve a pint for that word.

1
0

a shaky bus ride nonetheless ...

... what confuses me with this is not that Apple withdraw that App but why they approved it in the first place, since "Applications are subject to approval by Apple, as outlined in the SDK agreement" ... shaky, or what, Apples glorious App approval process (it might just be a political decision, after all) ...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Cold Frenzy

Shouldn't that be iFictionado as long as we're trying to be accurate.

0
1

Re: a shaky bus ride nonetheless ...

It's fairly easily explained - it was a website, not an App. I know this can be confusing to the elderly hacks running this place.

Rule number one: never get your facts from El Reg.

Frinstance, no iPad Airs exploded recently - twas an iPad 4. But journalism is dead, so whatever gets 'widely reported' gets 'reported' as news.

1
0
Bronze badge

Knowledge is power

Hmm... So Apple want the information to be only available from their own web site and not through third parties? Is it conceivable that they consider the information gleaned from tracking who checks iPad Air availability in Junction city, OR both extremely valuable and very confidential?

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Knowledge is power

"Is it conceivable that they consider the information gleaned from tracking who checks iPad Air availability in Junction city, OR both extremely valuable and very confidential?"

No.

0
0

Handy tip

We can all ensure that every store has an available stock of iPhones, iPads and iPods by not buying any.

21
0
Bronze badge

Re: Handy tip

A cookie for that man

0
0
Silver badge

So the T&Cs of Apples web site

Say no scraping or otherwise extracting of the data on it, but these guys saw fit to ignore that and publish it on their own website, without permission and allong with a bunch of ads. Not too surprising they got a snotty letter.

It's one thing to say that Apple should make it easier to locate a store with stock. It's another entirely to say that they should allow all and sundry to scrape their data.

3
11
Silver badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site

Steve, this is data available on public websites, all they did was aggregate the information...

It's not hacking, cracking or theft. I honestly can't think of a worse place to display "compartementalised" data than on the WWW....

3
0
Silver badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site

There are many public websites that don't allow scraping, search robots etc. It's up to the sites owners to define what may or may not be done with the data on a site. People using those sites should respect the owners wishes. What crosses the line for me is that these guys were making money out of Apple's data.

0
6
Bronze badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site

Khaptain - what you don't seem to realise is that "scraping" sites affect said sites' stats, take up valuable data-download bandwidth, cause load-balancing issues and in general is a bit scummy. Apple are well within their rights to ask them to stop - information being on public websites doesn't change that.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site

@Steve : Yes I agree that they should not be allowed to make money from Apples data.

@Test Man : I don't understand how "scraping " would change the slighest thing for Apple, Scraping requires nothing more than performing normal requests to a web page, this is not a DOS scenario. It's not like they would have been doing 10000 requests per second. A 100 requests per day maybe...which is derisory at most.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site

Screen scraping and republishing copyrighted information tends to be viewed dimly by people who've spent good money on publishing it.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site

You can't "own" a fact.

4
1

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site

Utilizing other people's publicly displayed data - a concept truly alien to Apple itself....and Google, and Facebook....

0
0
Silver badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site - @Stretch

But you can agree only to provide that fact subject to terms and conditions.

If I went to the Apple website, looked up a fact and told a friend about it then this is within the terms and conditions of use. If you write and automated scraper that extracts those facts then you are breaking the T&Cs.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site - @Stretch

So you can look at their website with your eyes but not through a computer program, even though both of them return the same result ?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: So the T&Cs of Apples web site - @Stretch

It's not the looking that's the problem under the T&Cs, it's the automated passing on of that information.

0
0

That was marginally interesting news...

...when every other site reported it last week.

2
3

Apple's responsibility

Surely it is the responsibility of Apple to prevent scraping of their own website if they don't want it.

Preventing a third party from doing it does not make their problem go away.

In fact it highlights it.

Class.

0
1
Silver badge
Stop

Re: Apple's responsibility

You're going to have to explain how you expect companies to prevent screen scraping while still allowing users to view the data (there's always going to be some way of getting the data out). That and "they were asking to be burgled, the door wasn't locked and their stuff wasn't nailed down" isn't regarded as a good excuse in the eyes of the law.

0
1
Silver badge

Re: Apple's responsibility

"You're going to have to explain how you expect companies to prevent screen scraping while still allowing users to view the data (there's always going to be some way of getting the data out). That and "they were asking to be burgled, the door wasn't locked and their stuff wasn't nailed down" isn't regarded as a good excuse in the eyes of the law."

Maybe they cannot do that, either physically or legally. That does not mean that they can throw around spurious ideas like copyright to try to stop people doing things. (You cannot copyright data, only the way it is displayed, and scrapers specifically *do not* preserve the display.)

Your analogy of people being burgled is specious, because there is no theft. It's more equivalent to someone parading around a high street dressed conspicuously and then being annoyed that people took photographs of it. You might not like it, but it's a reasonable reaction from some people to your actions.

If Apple don't want people checking its stock on its website, it doesn't have to put it up, and tell people to phone instead. So-called "Terms of Service" on viewing websites are akin to me trying to put "Terms of Viewing" on my house. Sure, you can't come inside without my permission, but I cannot stop you looking at the public-facing bit.

1
1
Silver badge

Not copyright

Terms of use. It's a contract between you and the owners of a website. They offer to provide you with data providing you agree to restrict what you do with it.

Oh, and you CAN copyright data. A JPEG image is just a block of data, but is eminently copyright-able (and has been upheld as such in a court of law).

And to use your analogy, what Apple have done is similar to a high street shop not allowing photographs while on the premises. The public are allowed into the shop, they can look around, but the shop is within its rights not to allow certain uses of the information they find within.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Not copyright

"Oh, and you CAN copyright data. A JPEG image is just a block of data, but is eminently copyright-able (and has been upheld as such in a court of law)."

Not only that, but some numbers are illegal. But a court would say that a digital movie, which can be construed as a very long number, is different from a database. Information cannot be copyrighted, only the presentation of that information. That gets into murky waters when the 'information' is a million-digit number that encodes a picture, but it is definitely not murky when it's a list of stock.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Not copyright

How have we managed to get to this point.

Where a company can put up a public facing website with information that anyone can come to see, without agreeing to terms or signing things in blood. And where taking that information, boiling it down, re-configuring it and showing it in a different, wholly useful way, that contains no genuinely copyrightable information can somehow be legally wrong, can result in a threatening letter, can result in a person throwing their work away because its more than its worth for them to stick up for themselves.

This is a list of public stores and public stock levels of public products buyable by members of the public.

Astonishing.

Just think what we won't be allowed to do tomorrow.

0
0
080

Marginally Interesting?

The comments are far more interesting than the article

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Marginally Interesting?

I dunno, to me it just appears to be a bunch of idealistic "information wants to be free" arguments interspersed with a few foolishly patient individuals attempting to explain where that viewpoint diverges from reality. fun to read I'll grant you, but not really that informative.

0
0

Rogue app taken down - check

Innovative new "iStock" app released from Apple which let's you check stock levels of Apple kit in Apple stores - pending

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Nice website you got 'ere ....

Would Apple's "Notice" work as an anti-NSA text for personal websites, e-mails, Facebook pages ?

Just askin' innit ?

It's like that "F**k off Wolf" note I have on my front porch .... y'know, it keeps the wolf from the door ....

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums