Saturday, May 22, 2010

There's not an app for that: Apple gets into the political censorship business

Ari David, a candidate for the U.S. House in Henry Waxman's district, created an application for the Apple iPhone to help build support for his campaign. Apple rejected it.

A Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives is accusing Apple of unreasonably rejecting an iPhone attack app that accused his Democratic rival of voting to raise taxes and cut spending on Medicare. [Ed: Which he did, of course.]

...Apple claimed that his free iPhone app was "defamatory." The app targeted incumbent Henry Waxman's voting record using pointed phrases like "Soviet-style regulation."

...Translation: Apple may believe that Democrats would be offended by a political app that says Waxman "supported cap & trade legislation that would have brought us $7 a gallon gas." [Ed: Which he did, of course.]

This is hardly the first time, of course, that Apple has been the target of complaints alleging arbitrary App Store exclusion... Cartoonist Mark Fiore had to win a Pulitzer before his app was approved; it had been denied on the grounds that it "ridicules public figures," which Fiore intended to be the point of the exercise.

So: Apple is the great arbiter of speech. Smarter than all of us.

Its business, apparently, includes determining who receives free speech rights on its platform.

Ultra-refined apps -- imbued with class like iFart -- receive carte blanche on the iPhone.

But not Republicans, it would seem.

All the more reason for developers to stick with the Android platform, which -- by the way -- is kicking butt.

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