Apple, major media reportedly duped by refugee app

Apple has reportedly removed from its online store a deceptive app that was supposed to enlist the world in finding refugee ships at sea so migrants could be saved from drowning.

And if reports casting doubt on the veracity of “I Sea” are accurate, Apple wasn’t the only victim to be duped: the app received glowing coverage in major news outlets around the world.

“Crowdsourcing the search for migrants could save thousands of lives, and using I Sea to pitch in on the effort feels like a lot more active a way to help than sending donations,” said a Boston Globe story Friday, which also noted on the “con” side that the app required users to provide their passport numbers.

The app purportedly assigns users a section of open sea to observe, so they can tap a location where a migrant ship appears. Notice would then be sent to a rescue group.

But on Sunday night, doubts began to arise. The Daily Dot reached out to critics. “The app promises to show real-time images of an area of the Mediterranean Sea totaling 2.5 million square kilometers. In fact, the app uses static images from 2015 that are no help to refugees today,” the news site’s report said.

The app’s author was listed as a digital advertising firm, and the app was reportedly nominated for an advertising award, fueling speculation that I Sea is a publicity stunt.

The Daily Dot said the app author had not responded to repeated requests for an explanation.

Photo: Refugees and/or migrants arrive in Greece. (Wikimedia Commons/Ggia)


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