After causing a stir in the media on Thursday, Apple reversed its decision to allow Wehe onto its app store. The app determines whether ISPs are abiding by net neutrality rules. Wehe was submitted by researcher David Choffnes, but it was initially rejected by Apple which stated to him that “your app has no direct benefits to the user.” In its decision reversal, Apple claimed that other apps claim to do things they can’t do and asked for evidence from Choffnes.
Following the story’s media rounds, Apple contacted Choffnes to provide a technical description of how the app was able to detect if certain types of data were being throttled; once he had responded to the request, his app was published. Describing the conversation he had with Apple to Motherboard, he said:
“The conversation was very pleasant, but did not provide any insight into the review process [that] led the app to be rejected in the first place.”
Wehe allows users to test the speeds of several popular services including YouTube, Amazon, NBCSports, Netflix, Skype, Spotify and Vimeo in various ways. From these results the app is able to determine whether the traffic has been throttled on the way to your device. The data collected from the app will be used in his research into internet providers’ treatment of different kinds of internet traffic. He wants to learn about throttling policies worldwide and how they evolve over time for a study.