Jobs: Apple has "moral responsibility" to block iPhone porn; jabs Android (again)

Summary:Steve Jobs makes no apologies for rejecting pornography in the iPhone app store, singles out Android as the platform for adult content.

Steve Jobs has already said once, in an e-mail reply to a customer, that rejecting an iPhone app submitted by a (now) Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist named Mark Fiore was a mistake. (And is being fixed.) But in another Steve Jobs e-mail sent to another customer, the Apple CEO makes no apologies for blocking porn apps on the iPhone.

Techcrunch has posted an e-mail exchange between Jobs and customer Matthew Browing, noting that Jobs has lately been on a roll of sorts when it comes to answering customer's e-mails. In an e-mail sent to Jobs, Browing - an admitted convert to Apple products after the iPhone 3G came out - said he was starting to have a "philosophical issue with your company" and told Jobs that Apple's role isn't moral police but rather maker of cool consumer gadgets. He wrote:

It appears that more and more Apple is determining for it’s consumers what content they should be able to receive... I’m all for keeping porn out of kids hands. Heck – I’m all for ensuring that I don’t have to see it unless I want to. But… that’s what parental controls are for. Put these types of apps into categories and allow them to be blocked by their parents should they want to.

To which Jobs replied: "...we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone." (I fixed a typo for him.)

So there you have it. If you have a particular fetish for... well, that's your business... on a mobile device, then you should probably re-think the iPhone. And this is the second time Jobs has pointed out the availability of porn for the Android devices. The first was during a press Q&A after the announcement of iPhone OS 4.0.

Here's the thing: Jobs is absolutely right. Clearly opposed to pornography, Jobs surely realizes he can't make it go away completely. But he doesn't have to contribute to the spreading of it - especially in a place where children often shop using a technology that many parents still don't understand well enough to police. (As a parent, I can appreciate where he's coming from.) Jobs has taken a position for his company and he is sticking by it. There's no shame in that. In fact, he's earned my respect for it.

I still have some concerns about Apple's control over content as it relates to journalism and news outlets - but that's a different debate.

Topics: Apple, Android, CXO, Google, IT Employment

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