Stupid, stupid Apple censorship shows iPhone users don’t wear pants

Censorship, some say, is a blunt weapon with a thin end – you start exercising censorship against something most people agree shouldn’t be seen/discussed, you end up censoring conversations about the weather.

So, great news this weekend that Apple’s decided to become the world’s biggest censor as it once again proves that, when it comes to the App Store disapprovals team, it has decided to hire people with some kind of narrow-minded unimaginative version of received morality. And has booted 5,000 Apps from the App Store for the crime of being ever so slightly naughty.

This annoys me.

First, what people choose to use on their iPhone is a personal decision – it isn’t up to Apple or anyone else to decide what anybody else does. It is only a channel. But a dominant one.

Second: there’s absolutely no good reason for Apple to do this. After all – in order to download an App a credit card is probably required – can you get one of these when you’re under 18? Can the company not put together an approvals process to regulate for age? Of course it can, it just doesn’t want to.

Now comes the most ridiculous news that UK-based designer swimwear retailer, Simply Beach, has had its shopping app removed from Apple’s iTunes. So – swimwear is prurient as far as the App Store disapprovals people go? How stupid are they? Presumably underwear shopping will also be booted out. Presumably this means Apple users don’t wear pants.

What a pile of crap.

Apple claimed the App contained “overtly sexual content”.

Gerrard Dennis, Managing Director of The Simply Group who operates Simply Beach along with six other online stores said “The e-mail arrived straight to a junk mail folder on Friday and to be honest we thought it was a spam joke. We then checked iTunes to find the app had in fact been removed. It seems like political correctness gone mad. It’s just women in bikinis, swimsuits and kaftans.”

On advice from their developers, Simply Beach resubmitted their app to iTunes but with an age limit restriction. Gerrard Dennis said “We have asked Apple for clarification but have had no reply; we are a small business trying to work in the new mobile world. Apple’s cavalier behaviour is not helpful; we had no consultation, just a ‘we removed you e-mail’. We are as keen as anyone to protect children but the images on the app are no more sexual than you would find in any Sunday newspaper, and there is no age restriction on buying those. There are plenty of sexual apps in iTunes and to categorize our shopping app as one is ludicrous.

“I wonder if anyone at Apple even looked at it or just banned it because it contained the words swimwear and bikini?

“Certainly there seem to be plenty of other shopping apps still on iTunes that sell swimwear and underwear, maybe it is because we are a specialist bikini store? You can still view all the images via our product feed to Amazon and then via the Amazon app, so what have Apple achieved, certainly not the removal of the images.”

Stupid Apple.

Apple, we don’t need censorship. Censorship is one of those things many of the people in the ad we’ve run below spent their lives fighting against – censorship isn’t just about stopping people developing an awareness that all humans have sexy parts. It starts with banning nudity, and ends up becoming an attempt to ban conversations about politics, sexuality or race, or whatever…narrow minded decisions are bad for democracy.

I abhor and reject censorship, and think Apple’s decision to wield a censorious stick on its store reflects an organisation that’s losing touch with its own identity.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Here’s to the crazy ones

apple here’s to the crazy ones
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10 thoughts on “Stupid, stupid Apple censorship shows iPhone users don’t wear pants

  1. David McElroy

    Please don’t set your video to start playing just because I land on your page, especially when I have to go searching way down on the page to find it and shut it off. That’s rude.

  2. klasseng

    Apple, as any retailer can do, has chosen what to sell and what not to stock. It’s not censorship. Those who wish to have that kind of material on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad have a myriad of ways to get it and Apple doesn’t do anything to stop them.

  3. Jonny Post author

    But Apple isn’t just any retailer, is it? It serves content to 125 million regulars – that’s the size of several countries. So any form of censorship has a much bigger effect than the decision by your local high street retailer not to stock something or other. In other words, different rules apply. So there’s an argument on scale here which I think your position doesn’t pay cognisance too.

  4. Peter

    Apple, as any retailer can do, has chosen what to sell and what not to stock.

    Part of the problem with this analogy is that it assumes competition. A retailer can choose not to stock something. However, they have to be aware that their competitors may end up stocking it and people may end up going to their competitors. So they end up stocking what people want in order to bring in business. The market works.

    However, there is only one distributor for iPhone apps–Apple. If Apple doesn’t like it, it’s not going in their store and is, thus, unavailable. I can’t go to another store and buy it because there are no other stores.

    That’s where that analogy falls apart.

  5. klasseng

    Yes, Apple has an advantage with the App Store, but hardly a lock on product. Alternatives for material are:
    – the web in general (usenet, torrents, download servers, porn sites)
    – jailbroken apps
    – or other mobile devices if you just can’t stand the Apple ecosystem

    I don’t hear too much about censorship when you can’t find porno movies @ Walmart or other major retailers. In the physical world people have to go to the out of the way porn shop too.


  6. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Big German publishers slam Apple App Store censors

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