Apple has banned an app from the App Store that depicts our members of congress as bobble head caricatures. Not because the app put them in compromising positions or contained foul language, violence (or god help us, nudity) but because it "ridicules" them.
In a letter to the developer Apple denied the app because "it contains content that ridicules public figures." That act of ridicule violates Section 3.3.14 from the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement which states:
Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.
My problem with banning Bobble Rep – 111th Congress Edition is that its completely bipartisan and doesn't discriminate against one party or another. Also, as Philip Elmer-DeWitt duly notes in his piece, it's every American citizen's Constitutional right to question and hold our elected leaders accountable.
So, is bobbling the head of a carcicature Nancy Pelosi ridicule? Personally, I don't see it. There's an entire category of bobble head apps already in the App Store.
My other issue with the ban is that the app's real purpose is to give people more access to our elected officials by providing quick and access to public information like their office address and phone number. It even uses groovy location-based technology like GPS, which might appeal to - (shudder) kids.
The caricatures that Apple finds objectionable are by Tom Richmond, of Mad Magazine fame.
"The really sad part," writes Richmond, "is that here is an app that might get people interested in who represents them in Washington, especially kids and young adults, and connects people to their senators and representatives via fun and PARTISAN FREE way.
Who's minding the 'store over in Cupertino, anyway?
Tip: Apple 2.0