by Karl Bode

Filed Under:
app store, porn


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.

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  1. identicon
    Mike Shore, 30 Apr 2010 @ 8:50am


    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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