The iPhone software, which tells users whether a politician or celebrity is Jewish, came under fire from social activists and Jewish organizations in France who contend it violates bans on compiling information about people's religion and revealing people's religion without their consent, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The app, which became available last month, can still be purchased in other countries, the newspaper said. It was developed by a Jew. Johann Levy, 35, a French-British software engineer, told the Journal his intent was to develop a "recreational" tool for people who want to know the religious background of celebrities.
"I often ask myself whether this or that celebrity is Jewish or not," Levy said. "I believe that it's a question that many Jews ask themselves too."
While the app's creator said he never saw his work as anti-Semitic and didn't know it violated any laws, it doesn't sit well with critics such as the Jewish group Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France.
"The fact is that this [app] could be used by others, whose intentions are not as good," CRIF President Richard Prasquier said. "It is unacceptable and stigmatizes the Jewish people."
Levy responded to the negative reaction to his app by saying, "It's sad to see that freedom of speech is still restricted here."