Apple's purge of sexy apps comes amid confusion over Internet regulation
Apple's decision this week to purge its iTunes store of sexually suggestive applications comes amid growing concern in Washington over which agency regulates the Internet and could have nudged the company to act sooner.
Apple said that despite the parental controls it put on its applications store last June, it continued to receive complaints from women, parents and software developers that hundreds of apps aimed at mature audiences were clogging the store or getting into the hands of children.
"Increasingly over the last few weeks, a small number of developers had submitted objectionable content and it got to the point where customers complained -- from women who found it too degrading to parents who were upset with what their children were able to see," said Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for for Apple.
TechCrunch first reported Apple's move, and the New York Times subsequently interviewed an executive about their decision.
"While we care about developers, we have to put the needs of kids and parents first," Muller said.
The move was being closely watched in Washington, where confusion surrounds which regulatory agencies could set rules for makers of Internet applications, such as Apple, Google and Facebook.
The Federal Trade Commission has limited rule-making authority in this area, but the agency is seeking to expand that power with an eye on online privacy protections.
Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commision's authority over Internet service providers is being challenged as the agency weighs fresh rules to keep Internet access open and reform a subsidy program for rural telephone service to expand broadband to underserved parts of the country.
February 23, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
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