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

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.

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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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293 comments
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  • Jobs Is A Control Freak

    This is just another example of his psychotic desire to rule the world.

    As long as Jobs lives I will never give Apple a single penny of my hard earned money.
    sismoc
    • and a moronic old fart, too...

      The past few years have shown decision after decision where Jobs was out of touch with the modern world. He left MMS off the iPhone for 2 years. He left cameras off the iPad. Now, he thinks he's qualified to be judge and jury on what defines "porn." He thinks he should get to dictate the moral compass for every person of every religious or belief system who uses Apple products. Is Ford going to start dictating whether we can drive their cars to strip clubs next? Is Tropicana going to sue us if we mix their orange juice with vodka? Jobs is narcissistic beyond belief, with no recent intelligent behavior to back it up. He should be put out to pasture.
      BillDem
      • IRONIC: Who's the control freak?

        Jobs may control the iphone's content, but that's his ... um ... Job. What
        right do you have to tell him how he should run his company?
        wjanoch
        • How is it his job?

          How is it his job to control how I use a tool I buy? If I buy a hedge trimmer, it's none of the maker's business if I decide to use to to decapitate the neighbor's cat.

          If I build a home, it is none of my business if the people who bought the home choose to have orgies every Friday night and post the videos on Youtube.

          Once I BUY a computer, what I do with it is my business, not the government's, not Jobs.

          This astroturf terror of kids getting their hands on porn is merely an excuse to control people and try to create the type of utopian society that JOBS wants us to have. That kind of thinking is far too common in this increasingly socialistic world.

          I am NOT my brother's keeper, nor is Jobs' mine.

          As a parent, RAISE YOUR OWN BLASTED KIDS! Stop trying to infringe on the rest of the world because you couldn't keep it in your pants and are too lazy to do the work of raising the results.
          hiraghm@...
          • It's certainly...

            Not Job's job, or Apple's job, to provide you with porn, go get your own. In no way did or does Apple advertise that their devices are for viewing porn (though they could be used for such) nor do they force you not to use their devices to watch porn. What you use your iPhone or iPad for is your business, just don't expect Apple to provide you with things the company has CLEARLY stated they will not be providing. Speaking of acting like an adult how's about making an informed purchase?
            oncall
          • You can do what you want with the iPhone

            The App store is a service. Your complaint is akin
            to complaining that McDonalds doesn't have
            strippers. You can jailbreak your phone and put
            any app you want on there.

            Now I am against Apple trying so hard to prevent
            people from jailbreaking their phones. If they
            want to void their warranties thats their right.
            shadfurman
          • Excuse me

            Excuse me... Once you buy a computer, it IS the government's business to know how you use it. If you use it to embezzle money or distribute child pornography, the government will be knocking on your front door. Please be responsible with your words - you are not totally autonomous: you are subject to laws and regulations like everyone else.
            willshell
          • censorship not justified ??? technology should enable free flow of info!!

            apple's core values are about building pro tools that enable people to design
            information as they desire.

            The zen of the mac is that the tools don't get in the way of your work.

            Apple's new-found success with consumer products seems to have turned this
            ethos on it's head! Apple now seems to be obsessed with limiting what you can
            not do with their tools, rather than what you can.

            Steve Jobs -in an obessional persuit of vindication for his ouster in the 80's - is
            destroying tge very brand he was instrumental in originally creating in the 70's.

            This new regime of thought control is a deep insult to apple's loyal customers
            who carried the "think different" torch in the dark days.

            And there doesn't seem any limit to where this Bowlderization is headed: it's not
            just naked bodies that are being excised: the Dali Lama, no less, is also
            censored from the iTunes store in china! The perverse irony that Jobs is
            supposed to be a Buddhist doesn't seem to present any qualms for him to
            cravey submit to a microsoft-worthy level of appeasement to a communist
            dictatorship!).

            censorship is the antithesis of a civilized, open society; where beliefs are
            formed & testied by individual experience not just social tradition; where
            knowing how to formulate the right question is just as important as repeating
            the right answer; where the right to critiicize & dissent is enabled -not impeded-
            by the tools & conventions at man's disposal.

            Information - like the human spirit - yearns to be free. Our machine are
            supposed to liberate us not shackle us.

            the time is soon approaching where even the most devoted apple enthusiasts -
            like me- will realize (sadly but inevitably) that the time has come for Steve Jobs
            leave before the damage he does outweighs the good he does.
            davidf01
          • Totally agree with you...

            ...except the government is maybe the one to have a say about what you do with the computer... If you publish or download kiddie porn, well... that's where I draw the line, you get the picture.

            Steve Jobs wasn't elected as a law maker, or moral policeman for the whole planet. He's a salesman and once we buy his stuff we can do with it as we like. I worked hard for the money to buy an iPhone, but Stevo thinks it's a licensed product and he's the owner...WRONG! It's mine, I jailbreak it, put porn in it, the Dalai Lama, the Pulitzer winning cartoonist he banned from the Apple Store and every go-dd-amn thing I like. That's my right. PARENTS: Take care of your kids, the TV, the teenage baby sitter, the state or stupid Steve Jobs won't do the job for you... Don't come crying when they are 15 crack addicts!

            If porn is so bad... why is that PLAYBOY APP still exist in the Apple store?
            Jediguardian
    • It is still all about choice

      Until government finally gains monopoly control of every sector of U.S. business (as is the current direction), we still have a choice. Maybe Steve Jobs IS a control freak. In this case, I'm glad he is. But if someone doesn't like that, then they can get a Droid. Works for me, and it works for any society where there is still a choice of products and services. Now, after 8 years of the current presidential administration, that may not be the case. But, for now, let free market Apple be and do what they want.
      wls
    • A common theme amongst the Anti Apple crowd.

      Is their despise of the free market. They can't stand the idea that a
      business can decide to sell what it wants to sell. It's also odd that so
      many need porn so desperately on their mobile phone that they want
      companies that don't sell and have never sold porn to be forced into
      selling porn in their own stores.

      [i]This is just another example of his psychotic desire to rule the
      world.[/i]

      Yes, one G-rated App at a time. Muhuhahahaha!!!
      Tigertank
      • A common theme amongst the APPLE FANBOY crowd

        Is to blindly embrace everything apple does like
        brainless zombies. It's just a corporate entity
        people! If the product is good, go and buy it. No
        need to kiss the CEO's feet.
        poch333
        • You must blindly embrace everything apple does

          Otherwise you might encourage another Timothy McVeigh!
          hiraghm@...
        • Brainless, is attacking an opinion you agree with.

          [i]A common theme amongst the APPLE FANBOY crowd---Is to blindly
          embrace everything apple does like
          brainless zombies. [/i]

          So you have no meaningful critique about the substance of what I wrote
          and can't make a counter argument? But you still attacked. Sounds like
          you're the brainless zombie, mate.

          [i] It's just a corporate entity
          people! If the product is good, go and buy it.[/i]

          That is [b]Exactly[/b] the point I was making. It's a free market. If you
          don't like the product Apple makes, than buy another- Don't whine about
          how you're entitled to have Apple provide you with porn. Seems like you
          agree with Steve Jobs but still attacked because you hate Apple.
          Tigertank
          • Do You Remember Beta vs VHS ?

            Sony knew they had a superior product in their Beta. They would have won their marketing war except for one mistake - they refused to allow any porn to be licensed on the Beta platform. Result: the porn marketers were forced to move to VHS. The mass market followed to VHS. Beta lost market share until their product sales were negligible. Is Jobs repeating the same mistake ?
            coopejx@...
          • That is a dead paradigm

            People said the same in the Bluray vs. HD-DVD debate and porn played
            zero role. Porn is completely in the domain of the internet now. all of
            which is accessible through the iPhone anyway.

            Furthermore, people have been buying millions of iphones and over a
            billion Apps so far with no porn so you can't say it has hurt anyone.
            Tigertank
          • nt

            "Porn is completely in the domain of the internet now. all of
            which is accessible through the iPhone anyway."

            Problem for iPhone users though is that most smut sites display their videos in Flash, so aren't accessible by iPhone.

            Personally, I prefer to view my porn on a big screen in the comfort of my own home, rather than on a tiny screen on the bus to work, but maybe I'm just a prude?
            Tom-Tech
          • It wasn't just pr0n

            There were other factors in Beta vs. VHS:

            1) The quality difference was negligible,
            especially on (for example) an old tube
            Motorola console vs. a brand new solid state
            Trinitron.

            2) You could get a VHS machine for $300 while
            Beta was going for twice that. It wasn't so
            much VHS vs. Beta, but VHS vs. doing without.

            3) Beta was slower at getting out tapes that
            had a 2-hour or longer runtime, which would let
            you tape a movie off of TV. VHS's longer
            runtimes would also make it easier to tape
            sporting events. And once Beta came out with
            slower recording speeds, Beta's vaunted quality
            difference really began to diminish at those
            slower speeds.

            4) Sony wasn't as aggressive at licensing Beta
            as JVC was with VHS. The only Beta licensees
            of note were Zenith (which sold rebadged Sony
            machines) and Sanyo. Sound familiar?

            5) The rental market really cast its vote to
            VHS with the wider number of available tapes
            and installed base of machines, making VHS's
            numbers advantage snowball.
            jabster17
          • Not quite the same...

            At that time the only easy way to bringing porn into your home was with magazines. When porn went to VHS the flood gates were open because you could get a porn VHS tape as easy as buying a magazine and watch it 24/7 in the privacy of your home. Also Sony didn't market the Betamax like they should have.
            But today porn can be downloaded or accessed through any computer, making it easy to get 24/7 wherever you are. I'm not anti-porn in any way, but I do kind of respect Jobs for saying his iphone will not be a tool for porn. Whether this will really effect the sales of the iPhone remains to be seen, but as other have said here, we are all free to purchase another phone if we feel that strongly against what Jobs is doing. He's not saying we can't have porn, just not on his phone.
            Johpr13@...
        • Common themes among the internet argument crowd

          I can't help but notice that these themes are common among the people
          who like to argue on the internet.
          DappledSunlight