Steve Jobs Takes a Stand

'Thankfully for consumers, there is one smartphone that didn't want to do business with this sleazy industry. Kudos to Steve Jobs and Apple.' (Joshua Mercer) This editor would join with Joshua and say,

Maybe you heard all the buzz about the new iPhone 4 last week and even saw Steve Jobs’ presentation of it. What you may not have heard is about how Steve Jobs is fighting to keep porn off the iPhone and iPad.

Is Steve Jobs taking heat for this? Absolutely. Could he make a ton of money by offering porn on his products’ app stores? Yes. But sometimes you have to take a stand. So-called “apps,” or programs, are wildly popular and can be downloaded through Apple’s iTunes store. There’s an application for nearly everything — including news, sports, maps and restaurants — but Jobs says the store won’t offer porn. Approximately 5,000 sexually explicit applications were removed from the store early this year after the Parents Television Council, the conservative group, urged citizens to complain to Apple. The PTC noted that children often browse the store, looking for games.

Jobs took a stance against porn when the iPhone was released in 2007 and has reiterated that stance at least three times during last month while also taking a dig at a competitor, Google’s Android phone.

“The Apple CEO can expect further criticism from fans of pornography; but the PTC applauds Steve Jobs for his bold and courageous stance in favor of promoting decency and protecting children,” the Parents Television Council said.

Asked during an April interview with reporters whether Apple would keep in place its strong restrictions on making applications for the iPhone, Jobs said, “You know, there’s a porn store for Android. You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn, your kids can download porn. That’s a place we don’t want to go.”

He wrote e-mailer Matthew Browing in April, “We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy Android.”

Then, in May, Jobs defended Apple’s new iPad — which also uses applications — from charges that the product does not give consumers enough freedom. The e-mailer, Ryan Tate, had written Jobs saying that “revolutions are about freedom,” implying that iPad’s commercials touting a revolution were off base.

Jobs retorted, “Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom.” Jobs later wrote during the exchange, “You might care more about porn when you have kids …”

So, what say you? Are you in favor of Jobs and Apple taking a stand against porn on their products and trying to protect our kids or do you think he crossed the line?

* Note – some quotes were taken from an article published by Baptist Press

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “Steve Jobs Takes a Stand

  1. I'm torn on this. And it's not because I want porn on the iPhone.

    The whole problem comes when you say this device does not allow offensive applications to be put on the device. Things like offensiveness and morality are subjective to each person. It's too easy to say if this cannot be placed in the store due to it's offensive nature, the Bible and other religious elements are easily claimed offensive to people therefore they need to be left out as well.

    It's a rough question and should be thought about carefully. Jobs can do this now and probably won't take too much heat right now because the other items haven't escalated at this point. But people who oppose Scripture are much, MUCH, more vocal than the conservative religious base. My personal opinion is that he should deny acceptance of these apps (the rules regarding apps in particular is a huge reason why I won't buy an iPhone), but should provide an excellent filter and parental controls system that is put on in an opt OUT basis. Meaning access to this area needs proof of age before your account will let you access it. It meets Jobs' "moral imperative" but doesn't provide an easy argument for the anti-religious groups.

  2. I'm totally in favor of Jobs taking a stance against this… however one of the newer apps that's just been put on the App store is Craigslist, and if you've ever used craigslist before you know there is a "personals" area that has some explicit content. Knowing that Apple was keeping the App store porn free I downloaded it just to see… Yup the explicit personals are in the new Craigslist App. Not sure if someone let that slip or what but while there still aren't porn apps, there may be other apps that have this kind of content.

    • Yep – I'm very aware of the darkside of Craigslist. I started to mention that in this blog post. Didn't know they had an app. That's something that needs to be considered. Thanks.

  3. it seems like a little thing, but this announcement and stance by apple is one of the reasons i chose to switch from Blackberry to the new iphone 4 (as opposed to android, which is what i was originally planning).

  4. I think it's great to keep porn off of as many platforms as possible. However before we elevate Steve Jobs or his company to higher moral ground, let's check the facts. Apple has supported several other apps, and public issues, that are quite harmful to the family (and run antithetical to a Christian worldview). The most public of these would be their support of same-sex marriage, which was epitomized in their funding of California Proposition 8 in 2008 (http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/Apple_Donates_100000_To_Support_Same-sex_Marriage).
    Apple also sells an app that conveniently tracks which states have legalized same-sex marriage.

    I'm glad that Apple is (for now) saying that they're against porn. But if I buy one of their products, it's because the product is great and not because I feel a moral affinity toward the company. My own personal decision is to avoid buying Apple products whenever possible. I have found great alternatives in every category of their markets, and (so far, at least) I have managed to stay un-sucked-in by the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field. 🙂