Apple decides to censor yet another application. The application made content from the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) available to I-phone and I-touch users.
Now, Apple may find EFF “objectionable” for any number of reasons (here’s just one.) But surely linking to a video that includes a “bad word” can’t be one of them. After all, the YouTube app that Apple includes on every iPhone that ships will let you watch exactly the same video, bad word and all. And you can use the Safari web browser that ships with every iPhone to access EFF’s website, as well as millions of web sites that include much more extreme language.
This is just the latest example of the failings of Apple’s iTunes App Store approval process, which has been revealed to be not just anti-competitive, discriminatory, censorial, and arbitrary, but downright absurd. Just last month, Apple was widely criticized when it rejected the Eucalyptus e-book reader because it could access the public domain translation of the Kama Sutra (Apple quickly reversed course on that one).
Let’s be clear: we are not saying that Apple has to carry apps it doesn’t like in its App Store. But iPhone owners who don’t want Apple playing the role of language police for their software should have the freedom to go elsewhere. This is precisely why EFF has asked the Copyright Office to grant an exemption to the DMCA for jailbreaking iPhones. It’s none of Apple’s business if I want an app on my phone that lets me read EFF’s RSS feed, use Sling Player over 3G, or read the Kama Sutra.