Monday, 22 February 2010

BTP 5: Not On My iPhone!

SEX! Could that be seen as offensive by Apple executives? Well that's Beside The Point!

Sex it seems is a dirty word theres days, but then so is the word censorship according to an ongoing debate re-ignited but Apple's decision to remove around 5000 "sexually inappropriate" Apps from it's App store service. According to Mobilecrunch new guidelines mean that applications which could be deemed "sexually arousing" will not be accepted for the App store in the future causing a tempered backlash from users, App developers and the media.

Of these complaints the main charges are that Apple's new guidelines are hypercritical, over zealous and vague, all of which go along way to fuel opponents criticism of the move. According to reports there are 7 new guidelines that have been but in place for developers to follow when developing Apps for the App store which are (deep breath): No images of women in Bikini's, no images of men in bikinis, no skin, no silhouettes, no sexual connotations or innuendo (Inyourendo -sorry Apple), nothing that can be sexually arousing and a polite warning that no Apps that include any of the above will not make it to the store.

Perhaps in this age of information technology it is important to cut back just a little to protect the kids from inappropriate content but surely there are better ways of doing it? The simplest way is for phones to be registered to the user so that the phone will always know the age of the person using it and be able to block inappropriate content accordingly. After all isn't it the responsibility or, even more crucially, the preference of adults to determine what they find sexually arousing?

More mind blowing are reports that despite Apple's new guidelines the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Application still appears on the App store. Now, I may not be a PHD in pornography but doesn't that particular App exist solely for the displaying of women in swimsuits, something that Apple has told us is not acceptable on it's App store?

In the end this is more of a question of choice rather then content. After all, the disappearance of adult material from Apple's stores is no big loss, although it does seem a little unfair on developers who could stand to lose out. What concerns me me is the idea of Apple telling us what we should and shouldn't be viewing, since when did adults need to be protected from adult material? Seems silly. The argument for protecting children is important but some what blunted by the existence of parental controls in just about everything with an internet connection, which should negate any need to block content to a wider audience. Apple need to decide what their policy is and stick to it but it may already too late if users decide to opt for a more "grown up" platform for their App needs.

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