This is very bad news: I don’t mind at all that Apple’s Mac/iPhone/iPad technology is closed and proprietary, but when they use that to censor delivered content, I get very, very unhappy. Mark Fiore is a fabulous web political cartoonist, and he came out with an iPhone app to provide access to his work…and Apple rejected it.
But there’s just one problem. In December, Apple rejected his iPhone app, NewsToons, because, as Apple put it, his satire “ridicules public figures,” a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, which bars any apps whose content in “Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.”
A while back, apparently Apple blocked a whole bunch of apps that were basically soft-core porn — girls in bikinis, that sort of thing — and I didn’t notice, because I’m not in the market for that stuff, and don’t favor that kind of exploitation of women anyway. But when we didn’t stop the censorship of soft-core girlie pictures, who knew the next stop would be the censorship of political satire?
Apple needs to get out of the censorship game. Review apps for compatibility, but not content; it’s OK if Apple will only market neutered, innocuous apps through their branded store, but not OK if they use their tech to restrict access and allow no other app outlets.
This is a serious enough danger that I’ve decided to put off any purchase of an iPad until I see some resolution of this problem. Unlock the apps.