An iOS app that claimed it could help people locate refugees lost at sea has been pulled from Apple's App Store following reports that it didn't actually work, The Guardian reports. The app, called I Sea, said it showed users real-time satellite footage of the Mediterranean Sea so they could locate and flag refugee boats in trouble. But several developers recently discovered that the app really just showed users one unchanging image of the ocean.
Good for meditation, not much else
Besides the fact that the app's purported mission doesn't make much sense — how are people supposed to correctly identify refugee ships from satellite images? — it also reportedly had several more serious problems. Developer Matt Burke noted in a summary of the app's flaws that I Sea pulls from old Google Maps data, and the singular image of the ocean was either processed or created entirely in Photoshop.
I Sea was created by a Singapore-based ad agency (which maybe should've been the first red flag) called Grey Group. It won an advertising award last night, according to The Guardian. After the app was criticized by developers, Grey Group issued a statement admitting the app is still in "testing mode," despite it being portrayed by its creators as a finished product. Just last week, Grey Group's creative director Low Jun Jek told Wired, "Every individual plot of sea is embedded with accompanying location data – a set of coordinates unique to the plot."
Tried it, the app is completely non-functional. It's a marketing stunt for the developer to get press articles. pic.twitter.com/SubRotl5A3— SecuriTay (@SwiftOnSecurity) June 19, 2016
The app was pulled from the App Store yesterday for presenting "false information and features," according to The Guardian.