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App stores as chokepoints

We commissioned a study on the Indian app economy back in 2013. The report was completed in 2014.

One thing that study did not pick up on was the danger that governments could use the app store to control access to information.

We were not alone in missing this critical implication:

For more than a decade, we users of digital devices have actively championed an online infrastructure that now looks uniquely vulnerable to the sanctions of despots and others who seek to control information. We flocked to smartphones, app stores, social networks and cloud storage. Publishers like The New York Times are investing in apps and content posted to social networks instead of the comparatively open World Wide Web. Some start-ups now rely exclusively on apps; Snapchat, for instance, exists only as a mobile app.

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