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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.

By Cecilia Kang  |  February 23, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

I'm a little confused by this whole thing. Is it illegal to sell suggestive software? No. Isn't the Apps store a software store? If you don't like the suggestive material (which should be labeled as such and for 18+) then you don't have to buy it. How are iPhone Apps different than commercial software?

Posted by: DJMonet | February 23, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Let's see ... what are these sexy apps?

Bikinis?

Move on, bamas.

Posted by: bs2004 | February 23, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Apple sides with women and parents over developers, but the apps they banned were highly popular with other users. Effectively, Apple sided with some women and some parents against all users. I'm embarassed to own an Apple product.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 23, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sick and tired of the "but the children" argument. Parents either shouldn't be giving their kids iPhones or should be regulating their kids app buying.

As for offensive, if it's suggestive an adult should get over it. If it's obscene, Apple wouldn't be selling it.

This is why I avoid Apple whenever possible. They have this death-grip on their product that discourages originality.

Posted by: Fabrisse | February 23, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

"While we care about developers, we have to put the needs of kids and parents first," Muller said.

Soooooo....women don't matter? I thought women complained about the content too? Talk about offensive.

Posted by: changingfaces | February 23, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The first sentence of this article is poorly written - a great example of why the New York Times is superior to the Washington Post. Cecilia Kang should read the "After Deadline" column in the Times to learn how to write.

Posted by: bfc2007 | February 23, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Sad, so many of you seem upset that others are offended. You seem to feel anything is OK as long as you aren't affected/offended. Talk about prejudice...

"As for offensive, if it's suggestive an adult should get over it. If it's obscene, Apple wouldn't be selling it." Wait, do you support Apple or not? Exactly what is "obscene?" Exactly what is "suggestive?" To whom? Why should anyone have to see even the logo for many of those apps?

No one is forcing anyone to BUY these apps, but I appreciate a bookstore segregating its materials so that everyone doesn't have to see it unless they actually want to.

Grow up, yourself! Just because someone makes getting some of your 'toys' a little harder, doesn't mean you are being 'abused.' :rolleyes: More of the "I want what I want when I want it" attitude, IMHO.

Have a nice day! :-)

Posted by: xairbusdriver | February 24, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

"Cecilia Kang should read the "After Deadline" column in the Times to learn how to write." At least she's getting paid for HER comments! LOL! Maybe you should see about getting hired and display all your skills? Other than complaining, that is...of course, that just might allow others to disagree with you publicly...can you handle that? ;-)

"a great example of why the New York Times is superior to the Washington Post." OK...so why are you reading here? Idunno...[wacko]

Take care!

Posted by: xairbusdriver | February 24, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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