Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... Was Apple Right To Remove The Manhattan Declaration App?

By Tim Trent (Dartmouth, England) NOV 28 | "Should Apple actually be censors? Will they block anyone accessing material they don't like over their machines?" That is the question that was posed to me on Facebook when I expressed satisfaction that Apple had removed the Manhattan Declaration iPhone App. And it is, on the face of it, a reasonable question. When you dissect it, though, it is not.
After some thought I answered my questioner. I have made some minor edits here:
I think you may have missed the point. An application was uploaded to the iPhone store that was homophobic. It encouraged discrimination. It was also labelled as containing no offensive elements, something I disagree with.
In the same manner that Apple may choose not to sell or otherwise promote pornography, and I have no idea whether it does not not, it may choose on its site not to promote this and other apps that it disagrees with.
Apple has yielded to public pressure from around the world not to promote this application. That is a commercial decision, and one I agree with. You may disagree.
While you can elect to view this as censorship I think it more reasonable to view this as commercial democracy. Apple has been asked, politely, to remove the application by a great many folk, and has agreed.
The application will be available elsewhere, and it is usable on the devices. It's just a piece of software.
What you have done is the old politician's thing of confusing two unrelated issues to make a point. Removing an application from sale is a wholly different action form blocking views of, say, web sites a company, or a government, believes to be unwholesome. That is a huge and far greater issue. And that happens with our own government and UK Internet Service Providers.
One is a commercial decision, the other is state intervention and control.
I would like to refer you to this Wikipedia article, [ Linked Here ] Internet Censorship In Australia as an example. You might also read this article, [ Linked Here ] Internet Censorship in the United Kingdom which, the government had achieved banning a Wikipedia article in the past in the UK.
If you take a stand against that type of state interference I will support you. That something is unwholesome, offensive, indecent, unlawful, politically unwelcome does not mean I need to be prevented from seeing it by a state censor. 'My own good' is not theirs to judge.


Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

I bloggeda about this app last week, and have mixed feelings about it.

I believe Apple did the right thing - is the right stance for them to take for their ethics and their audience. Others can do what they want.