Steve Jobs: If you want porn, get an Android

In a reported reply to a customer, the Apple CEO says his company feels a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.

Pornography, like disappointment, is a hard thing to avoid.

As both production and access have become easier and cheaper, there seems an endless number of (free) opportunities to discreetly partake of the same scenes over and over again played by different actors with different surgical histories.

However, if the latest e-mail purportedly sent by Apple CEO Steve Jobs to a customer called Matthew Browning is, indeed, genuine, then Apple seems to be reaching for some moral high ground, which may or may not be virtual.

Browning wrote to Jobs because he was concerned that Apple was choosing to become something that I don't remember seeing on "The Wire": a moral policeman. Browning worried that Apple's initial blocking of an app by satirical cartoonist, Mark Fiore, sent a dubious signal. He then went on to discuss Apple's stance on porn.

CC Whatcounts/Flickr

According to TechCrunch, he wrote: "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 the untrained eye, ear, and moral compass, this seems like wise logic. However, the Apple CEO reportedly replied: "Fiore's app will be in the store shortly. That was a mistake. However, we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and (sic) Android phone."

It's a peculiar moral dilemma for cell phone manufacturers, this porn thing. Google's Android, having hoisted its flag of openness, must sail by it. Perhaps it will, at some future date, decide whether there's a point at which the doors are excessively ajar. However, late last year, a company with the dubiously cute name of MiKandi was the first to brag about its Androidable porn store and I've not noticed reports of people on the streets with placards desperate for the stoning of its CEO.

It's not hard to consider this a debate about image rather than reality. There is surely nothing to stop you, should you be so inclined, from opening up the Safari browser on your iPhone and surfing for as much porn as your little heart cares to consume.

I'm not suggesting you should, merely that you can. Isn't the truth that Apple can't stop porn from appearing on the iPhone, but it can attempt (the Playboy app being just one curious exception) to avoid the perception that the company is directly making money from it?

 

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