Self-censorship and the iPad

by Volker Weber

When a girl goes to the beach topless, she is going to be arrested? Yes, if in the "land of the free". No, if in Europe (exceptions apply). Completely acceptable behavior here, not so much over there. At the same time, the porn industry pretty much operates out of the San Fernando valley over there.

Which leads us to the Apple App Store. The porn industry is very good at monetizing the two faced world of prudes. In order to prevent that, Apple has set up their censoring process to not allow anything in the App Store, that might taint the public face.

It does not really matter that the iPad is an almost perfect device for porn. Hey, you have a browser, you can watch videos and pictures. What Apple wants to avoid is being part of the process. Otherwise we would see a completely different top 100 list in the App Store. Watch how the iPhone list is dominated by games. I am pretty sure the iPad list would be dominated by porn.

This may look perfectly well to anybody in one particular country, but not necessarily so for countries with different standards. Which leads to the interesting effect that newspapers in Germany can't publish on the iPad what they can easily offer in print.

The solution is simple: write your applications to run on top of Safari, and not as native iPad apps. Google is doing it. The porn industry is doing it. Don't miss the boat.

Remember: you can't show a naked breast on American TV. Unless it is chopped off with a chainsaw. That would not be "porn". It would be violence, which is acceptable. The killing of humans is perfectly safe for TV, the creation of new ones is not. A strange world indeed.


You are absolutely correct. Murdering people during primetime on TV is normal, seeing a womans breast is not allowed. Totally crazy and nobody outside the US will understands this.

Andy Brunner, 2010-05-30

And many of us inside the US will ever understand this.

Brian Wilson, 2010-05-30

Well, more like a strange country, but yes. But we brought the world the Snuggie -- surely that counts for something?

Eric Hancock, 2010-05-30

In the end, Apple banishing porn from the App Store might be the best move for the open web. Because we all know that the porn industry will innovate the hell out of the Mobile Safari and make things possible like no one would could ;-)

Johannes Kleske, 2010-05-30

You shouldn't be using Apple products anyway; they are sinful. ;-)

Jan-Piet Mens, 2010-05-30

very strange ? don't tell me you're surprised at the behaviour of the US you've known for a long while that they operate on a weirder level than the rest of us mate.

Chris Coates, 2010-05-30

It's important to remember the history of America, those early immigrants came over because they were being punished in Europe for being complete loons, they reproduced and increased their gene pool. Sadly a lot of those genes still remain today. Early Americans moved to Marthas Vineyard because crazy people running Boston at the time stopped them drinking beer.

People have heart attacks here if a woman breast feeds her new born baby and she isn't under 5 items of clothing.

Carl Tyler, 2010-05-30

Us yanks can get the porn if we really want it. App Store.....we don need no steenkin app store!!!

[inappropriate content removed, vowe]

David Falls, 2010-05-31

Exactly, David. That's my point.

Carl, really? That is sick.

Volker Weber, 2010-05-31

@Volker - Yeah, I'd say about 50% of people in the US exhibit a general feeling of "ew, I don't want to see that" when it comes to breastfeeding. Usually those people have never had children.

It does make sense if you think about it within the context of the original US settlement population as Carl said -- an extremely conservative culture. It's just part of the "melting pot" of the US today. Trust me, it *definitely* goes in the other extreme as well. For example, go look up the Folsom Street fair on Wikipedia.

Erik Brooks, 2010-05-31

Rockport, MA, a beautiful town a few minutes from my house was still "dry" (!) until one or two years ago… and yes, at the same time there is Folsom Street fair… John Edwards famously claimed that there are two Americas, I would argue there are many… and of course he later proved it himself. :-)

Ulli Mueller, 2010-05-31

Funny, my wife has breast fed all 4 here with no issues - in a small city in VA..SMALL - with no issues

David Falls, 2010-05-31

Good point Volker.

Mirel Popa, 2010-05-31

"This looks all perfectly well to everybody in one particular country"

Uhh, no. That's like me saying that everyone in Germany is OK with the current censorship of certain historical imagery. Let's not start painting with such broad strokes...

Mike McPoyle, 2010-06-01

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