×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Apple TV Gets Hacking Video App, But Censors Some Content

Apple TV’s latest app will teach you how to hack – as long as you don’t want to know how to hack iPhones or pacemakers, that is.

The company officially gave developers affiliated with Germany’s Chaos Computer Club (CCC) the go-ahead to publish their CCC TV app on Apple TV this week, according to a report from German IT news website heise.de. However, Apple insisted that CCC didn’t publish a number of videos that touch on iOS hacking and other delicate subjects.

CCC is one of Europe’s oldest and most influential hacker and technology enthusiast associations, and has been hosting an annual hacking and security conference dubbed the “Chaos Communication Congress” for more than three decades. The CCC TV app is meant to publish videos from talks held at the gathering.

Apple initially rejected the app last October, telling its developers that some of its content was violating the company’s program licensing agreements. Apple in particular took issue with eight videos available through the app, including one about “jailbreaking,” which is a term commonly used for disabling security on and taking control of Apple’s iOS devices, and one about Bluetooth hacking. The videos also included talks with less Apple-specific subjects, including one about industrial espionage and one about hacking medical devices.

The app developers responded to this by making those particular videos not playable within the app, and informing users where the videos can be accessed on the web instead. Apple initially declined this version as well, but relented after conversations with the app’s developers — which they see as a mixed blessing. Smaller publishers may cave in and simply remove content altogether, one of the app’s publishers argued in a  blog post, which also noted that the same videos that the CCC had to block are freely available via YouTube’s Apple TV app.

The whole episode may seem like a fringe case — how many people really want to watch talks about pacemaker hacking — but it points towards a bigger issue: As video publishers move from their own websites to apps hosted on devices like Apple TV, Roku or smart TVs, they’re increasingly subject to the rules and restrictions of those platforms.

Those rules, however, aren’t written in stone, and their interpretation and enforcement often depends on the size and economic importance of an app publisher. Market leaders like YouTube and Netflix may be able to get away with things that smaller publishers won’t, forcing them to self-censor their content in order to reach consumers’ eyeballs in the living room.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

More Digital

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Denies Report That It's Exiting Scripted Dramas, Comedies

    YouTube claims it is not pulling up stakes from original entertainment — denying a report by Bloomberg over the weekend that the Google-owned video service was cancelling plans for “high-end dramas and comedies” and had stopped taking pitches for “expensive” scripted shows. In a statement, a rep said, “YouTube denies the report” and cited its [...]

  • Apple to Launch New Apple TV

    This Is What Apple's New TV Service Will Actually Look Like

    Apple unveiled its much-anticipated video service at a press event in Cupertino Monday, promising a range of originals via its forthcoming Apple TV+ service as well as easy access to third-party video subscription services. But while many of the big names attached to Apple’s video efforts were known beforehand, one significant detail wasn’t: How are [...]

  • Apple Announces Gaming Subscription Service

    Apple Announces Gaming Subscription Service Apple Arcade

    Apple detailed its long-rumored gaming subscription service during a special event it held in Cupertino, California Monday. Apple Arcade is the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and living room, the company said. With a single subscription, you get access to more than 100 new and exclusive games. The games won’t be on [...]

  • Apple News Announcement

    Apple Unveils $9.99 News Subscription Service Dubbed Apple News+

    Apple unveiled a news subscription service called Apple News+ at its services event in Cupertino, Calif. Monday. The $9.99 service gives paying subscribers access to over 300 magazines as well as select newspapers and premium digital news services. “We believe in the power of journalism and the impact it will have on your lives,” said [...]

  • Katie Drummond - Vice Digital

    Vice Names Katie Drummond Senior VP of Digital

    Katie Drummond, who has worked as an editor in digital media and publishing for a decade, joined Vice Media as senior vice president of Vice Digital. Drummond comes on board to take over many of the duties of Ciel Hunter, who left Vice in January as global head of content for Vice Digital after more [...]

  • Apple Event: How to Watch Live-Stream

    How to Live-Stream Today's Apple Event

    Monday is the coming-out party for Apple’s Hollywood ambitions: After years of trademark secrecy about its plans to stream into video entertainment, the tech giant is set to pull back the curtain at a media event. The live program kicks off at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, on Monday, March 25, from the [...]

  • Google Stadia Is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia Is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content