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Jewish celeb database iPhone app pulled in France

Apple's removed a controversial app in its French App Store after anti-racism groups took offense to it this week, threatening to sue Apple over its availability.

Apple has pulled a database application from its App Store in France, following a complaint from a French group that claimed its content broke local laws.

App Store logo.
App Store logo. Apple

The Associated Press reports that an app called "Jew or Not a Jew," which contains a database of celebrities and their religious affiliations, was pulled from Apple's App Store in France after anti-racism group SOS Racisme threatened to sue Apple over its availability.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the removal of the app to the AP, noting that the software was in violation of local laws. Nonetheless, the $1.99 app--which was launched last month--remains for sale on other version of the app store, including the one in the U.S.

The law in question is a French penal code meant to protect privacy. Its provisions include possible prison time and a hefty fine for offenders, the AP says.

The removal of the app follows the high-profile ban of an iPhone game called Phone Story earlier this week that depicted various labor-related issues on the path to producing smartphones. On that list were things like worker suicides and child labor. Somehow the app passed Apple's review process and was pushed live, only to be pulled just hours later for violating three of Apple's App Store guidelines.

Around this time last year, Apple made it crystal clear what apps could and could not have in terms of content to get onto the App Store with the introduction of its review guidelines. As CNET noted at the time, the 113 rules managed to include a number of don'ts for things that were already in the App Store.

Since the rules were introduced, most of the focus on Apple's App Store rules has centered around changes to the company's subscription and in-app purchase guidelines, which carried the threat of removal for companies that did not comply. Before that, the U.S. government got involved with mobile application content on Apple's App Store, as well as stores from Google and Research In Motion, targeting applications containing databases of DUI checkpoints. That effort was eventually met with participation by Apple and RIM, which removed the offending apps.