Apple Needs To Offer More, Less Porn, Depending Who You Ask

from the wiggles-and-jiggles dept

Apple's recent scuff up in the media over banning a Putlitzer prize-winning cartoonist from the application store only served to once again highlight Apple's inconsistent and seemingly arbitrary application store approval process. It also directed people's attention to the fact that Mark Fiore certainly wasn't the first person to have an application banned for strange things like "ridiculing public figures," which violates Apple's iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. In fact, there have been 16 applications banned for this most grievous of offenses, and as is usually the case with Apple, the company spent most of their time ignoring questions about why content continues to be inconsistently blocked.

This latest scuff up about Apple gate-keeping also gave some people a platform to once again complain that Apple shouldn't be blocking access to pornography. While Apple's PR department can't apparently answer a straight question about their app approval process, Steve Jobs did personally take time to respond to one user's e-mailed porn concerns by telling him to go buy an Android phone:

"Fiore's app will be in the store shortly. That was a mistake. However, we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and (sic) Android phone."

Not that Google and the porn industry didn't appreciate the shout out, but porn isn't really as big of an issue as Apple's inconsistent approval process (which Jobs once again really doesn't explain). Apple already makes a very nice porn application called Safari for those interested. While Apple does ban porn, they've perhaps more annoyingly banned applications for being porn that weren't (like a swimsuit sales application). Meanwhile, even though Jobs says he has a "moral responsibility" to keep porn off the iPhone, the Parents Television Council this week proclaimed he's not doing a good enough job. The group personally, painstakingly cataloged everything they felt was filthy in the app store:

"Typical content has included items with names like "Shawna Lee Private Dance," which shows a porn starlet with her hand down the front of her bikini bottom fondling herself; "Love Positions Free," with a drawing titled "doggystyle," showing a couple having sex; "1001 Boobs Lite;" and "Tasty Pasties 18+ Amateurs" (at one point, the 11th most popular "app" out of thousands on iTunes). All of these applications are free -- and available to children."
Of course if the Parents Television Council's findings show anything (aside from the fact the Council spent a lot of time looking at half-naked women) it highlights -- once again -- that nobody understands how Apple determines worthy content. Amusingly, the Council didn't bother to complain about the Android Marketplace, where users can freely get porn of all kinds -- not just the odd smattering of soft-core apps that passed Apple's incoherent muster. Not that trying to censor porn apps really matters, given the existence of something some people call "a browser," which provides people of all ages access to a universe of content of all kinds. Apparently, nobody can win in this strange equation, be it porn fans, porn opponents, developers, or Shawna Lee.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:11am

    You can always count on the PTC to point you to the good stuff.

     

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      Andrew (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

      Re: PTC points to the good stuff

      Apparently not. They all appear to have been removed from the store now. I did find some positions apps (search "love positions"), though they are illustrated with figure outlines only.

      The removed apps seem to fall closer to the swimsuit calendar category than anything else, at least judging from the screenshots via Google.

       

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    mo pron

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    HAHA ascii censorship LOL

    to obad ya couldnt see that #2 post

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

      Re: HAHA ascii censorship LOL

      Learn how to post HTML and you'll be able to show your trash. Until then, the rest of us are spared, and it isn't even censorship!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    giving groups like the ptc the time of day or the space on your blog only serves to make them appear to be more important than they are. quit stoking their fires, you are giving them the streisand effect.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    google images is the best pron solution ever....at least the most A.D.D. friendly.

     

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    Bastid, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:45am

    This illustrates the primary reason that I do not buy products from Apple, EA and other companies that try to control the way products bought by customers can be used.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    karl would you like to disclose how much google stock you own, and how this can affect your comments against apple?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    The PTC has no reason to complain about the Android store because there has been no claim by Google that the store will be kept child friendly and clean from such content. On the other hand, Apple has claimed that it will keep the content clean and child friendly, therefore parents (rightly so) would expect it to be exactly what has been claimed... which is not true. This gives ample reason to complain. I am an Apple supporter, but on this issue I have to absolutely agree... if you claim to be child friendly, then get it right.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Thanks Steve, that's a great idea, I will go buy an Android phone.

    Also, won't someone please think of the children! Oh the children! They're being ruined by kind-of porn on their supposed iphones! What kid who isn't old enough to see some tits has an iphone anyways?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Don't forget the Grinder app where you can hook up with gay guys. Just happened in Phoenix yesterday. 50+ year old guy used his iphone Grinder app to meet an 18 year old who promptly came over to his house, murdered, and robbed him.

    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/04/iphones_gay_cruising_app_leads.php

     

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    chris (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 11:09am

    who cares about porn, what about google talk?

    the iphone comes with a browser. nuff said.

    there's also the playboy app, which is all the predominantly white hetero-normative porn you will ever need with the added bonus of being from a big corporation from california.

    speaking of apps from big california corps, when does the google talk app come out for the ipod touch?

     

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    Freedom, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 11:21am

    Apple is a bunch of Appholes!

    You can never win the full control game - no one will ever be happy. It is a major waste of energy and resources. Why Apple has to own everything is beyond me, but signs are showing that their empire may be at its height...

    http://ccinsider.comedycentral.com/2010/04/29/jon-stewart-on-the-applegizmodo-debacle/? xrs=rss_comedycentralinsider

    Jon Stewart takes Apple/SJ to task over the Gizmodo Phone issue.

    Freedom

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    Another reason Android will trump the iphone in the long run. Porn videos are flash apps. Just look what porn did for the VCR :)

     

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    Brent Ashley (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Enablers

    "All of these applications are free -- and available to children."

    That is, available to children whose parents bought them an iphone with a voice and data plan, or at least an expensive iPod Touch, and supplied them with an app store password.

     

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      Karl Bode (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

      Re: Enablers

      Well, right. Still, the point being that people get all fussy about individual applications when a browser is a gateway to a world of uncensored content. Playing gatekeeper in that context feels silly, and the debate over whether porn should/shouldn't be allowed seems pointless.

       

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    Jimr (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Allow it but have very good content filter controls built right into the App store browser. If you want porn then can have it on the iphone. If your a parent and do not want your kids stumbling onto the App store genius to find the top 100 recommended apps for daddy are all porn.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2010 @ 1:07pm

    "Amusingly, the Council didn't bother to complain about the Android Marketplace, where users can freely get porn of all kinds..."

    Well of course not. Google didn't make the stupid claim that you can't get porn from their app store.

    As Steve was stupid enough to say that the iPhone is the non porn, THINK OF THE CHILDREN phone of choice, it needs to be checked out to make sure that the children are 100% safe from T&A.

     

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    crade (profile), Apr 29th, 2010 @ 2:20pm

    I don't think this is particularly telling.. It just means they don't check every app thoroughly, so their rules don't get applied consistently to every app. Probably if they receive complaints, they will review the apps and remove them.

     

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      Alan Gerow (profile), Apr 30th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

      Re:

      You have that backwards.

      They don't allow apps and then only let them in after they receive complaints. It's part of the Official App Store Business Plan:

      1. Develop App
      2. Get App Rejected
      3. Get Media Outrage Over Rejection
      4. Get In App Store
      5. ???
      6. Profits

      The questionable apps in there were probably approved that day they had that temp in who hadn't completed his Apple Brainwash Training Program yet. He ended up using common sense instead of following Rule Number One of the App Store Approval Guidelines Document: "1. Reject App for Questionable Material".

       

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    Mike Shore, Apr 30th, 2010 @ 8:50am

    Hypocrites

    Apple allows the Grindr app, which was used by a 54-year-old man in my home town to sexually assault a 15-year-old boy. Mr. Jobs, what is your moral stance on this app?

     

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