Apple’s Two-Faced Censorship At Work Again

I’m just stunned this is in the App Store:

Sex Position interacts with you to select new positions, then offers a few pointers. With it you can create the variety that’s the “spice” of a great sex life.

At one point, Apple was blocking eBook apps because they could access the Kama Sutra on public domain eBook websites!

And now Apple is permitting screenshots such as this:

Just last month there was an App Store rejection over political caricatures!

Now Apple permits this app!?

Is anyone at all in charge of the App Store approval process?

Bueller? Bueller?

Previously here:

Another Day, Another DoubleDumb Apple Book Rejection!
Apple: Get The Hell Out Of Your Own Way!

Previously at Mike Cane 2008:

Apple Approves Of Shooting Nurses In The Face!
God Bless Writer Derek Raymond
How Many Of THESE eBooks Will Apple Ban?
Apple Bans ANOTHER Book From App Store!
Apple And A Tale Of Two Bannings
Apple Forfeits eBooks By Banning A Comic Book!

21 Responses to Apple’s Two-Faced Censorship At Work Again

  1. AdamC says:

    What is your problem, it it their store and they can to what they want.

    If you are that good create your own store and portable computers and sell them.

    BTW words are cheap.

  2. Don says:

    Would you like some cheese with your whine?

  3. David Crotty says:

    Wasn’t the Kama Sutra rejection (silly though it was) before iPhone OS 3.0 when Apple added parental controls and started approving “adult” material? That would explain why that one was forbidden at the time and this newer one is allowable now. Several versions of the Kama Sutra are indeed now for sale in the store.

    The political caricature rejection was just stupid, but given the insane number of apps they review every day, it’s surprising there aren’t more screw-ups.

    • mikecane says:

      3.0 has nothing to do with Apple holding a reading app “responsible” for books *others* offer. Apple’s stance is particularly galling given the “music” it profits from. Count up all the “motherfuckers” and sociopathic killing in those lyrics.

      • David Crotty says:

        As I said, it was silly even under the circumstances. Apple quickly acknowledged that it was an incorrect decision made by one employee and approved the app a few days later:

        http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/05/apple-relents-adds-pornographic-e-book-reader-to-app-store/

        That said, you asked why they banned the reader that included the Kama Sutra, but allowed in this new smutty app. The answer is that 1) the original ban was a mistake and quickly overturned, and 2) shortly thereafter an OS update allowed for parental controls and Apple changed their policy regarding “adult” material.

        Geez, there’s so much to complain about what Apple does (starting with the huge decline in quality control over the last few years) that something like this, where they immediately correct a mistake is ridiculous. Apple is reviewing something like 10,000 apps per week. Frankly, I’m amazed at how few and far between their arbitrary mistakes are.

  4. Doug Petrosky says:

    Sorry, but it absolutely does! The App store is not a static place. Apple is constantly doing what it can to allow more applications to be approved. It’s only motivation is to have and sell as many applications as it can. This is not a freedom of speech question, it is a profit question. Apple now has the ability to limit content based on age so those applications are less restricted.

    Every month Apple will loosen the restrictions a little more till it starts to cause a backlash in the other direction (people upset at what is allowed on the store) and that is where they will hold the line. This is simply a balancing act to maximize content and profit.

    IMHO

    • mikecane says:

      It would be to Apple’s frikkin benefit to ANNOUNCE these things instead of having people basically placing a BET on their work being accepted or rejected. This is no way to do business.

      • Doug Petrosky says:

        Apple did let the developers know both before submission and after submission. There is some grey area in the approval process (“objectionable material”) but the people who make these apps know they are walking the line.

        Seriously we are talking about a handful of grey area apps, most of which were accepted after the parental controls were added. Piss and moan all you want but the bottom line is that the system is working and it is working better than any other system I can think of.

        What other platform saw 200k applications created for it in a year and a half?

  5. Profile says:

    All of which were later approved.

    Fast track to approval
    1. Get a rejection
    2. Blog about it
    3. Wait for negative publicity (Incidentally, you get a ton of free publicity)
    4. Instant approval. Possible personal apology from Phil Schiller. (more publicity)

    Marketing and approval in 4 easy steps!

  6. robinson says:

    And where is Google’s voice app now?

    This notion that companies can do whatever they please sounds great until it’s subjected to some rational analysis. Pollute? Discriminate? Harass? Violate decency standards? Etc., etc.

    We need to pay attention to social goods and public welfare even in the so-called private market and free enterprise.

    • mikecane says:

      Now wait one minute there on the “decency standards” bit. If it’s not clear, I’m NOT against this being in the App Store. I’m against Apple not letting those OTHER things in EARLIER. There was a case of a California BBS operator prosecuted in a Southern state for violating their “decency standards” and he spent jail time for it. That’s bullshit, period.

      • David Crotty says:

        But Apple did let the OTHER thing in earlier, two days after it was rejected they admitted it was an error and it was allowed in:
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/5386349/Apple-relents-over-obscene-Eucalyptus-iPhone-app.html
        So it’s only temporary bullshit, with direct intervention by Apple to correct the bullshit extremely quickly.

        • mikecane says:

          Eucalyptus was let in after there was a public uproar and Apple looked like morons. We don’t know how many BOOKS have been rejected for content because we might not have heard the uproar. Not everything appears big on the Net radar. This is my concern: what it means for books. Most tech blogs don’t give a shit about any of this unless *their* ox is gored. Everyone ignored my first post about Murderdrome until I got pissed off and *personally emailed sites* to point them to it. Once one of the “big” ones picked it up, the tech lemmings fell in line and followed. But they otherwise *don’t care.*

          • David Crotty says:

            It’s not like there’s ever been a single app unfairly rejected that was later accepted without a public uproar, right? Well, except for the hundreds of times it’s happened.

            Not sure what exactly your beef is here. Are you saying Apple should be condemned for having an employee make mistake and then acting swiftly to correct it and do the right thing? That’s a bad thing? Is it because you think Apple is puritanical? The number of apps displaying topless Japanese women would probably contradict that, as would all the erotica in their audiobooks store. They’re certainly a lot more liberal than most other retailers (go try to buy topless magazines or erotica at Walmart or Target). Do you think Apple has some secret agenda here?

            • mikecane says:

              Apple did not think this through completely, did not provide employees with adequate guidelines, did not give developers enough guidance, and made themselves looks like inept amateurs and besmirched their reputation. I think that about covers it. And they still need librarians to properly sort out the App Store, too.

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