Closed App Stores Bad

Another example, if another were needed, of why walled garden software ecosystems are a bad idea, and how the controllers of those ecosystems can use that control to promote their social and political views to the detriment of their customers.

Whether you agree with the Manhattan Declaration or not (it’s a statement defending traditional marriage, the sanctity of human life, and religious liberty), it’s not right that Apple, or any company, should be able to say whether or not you should have their app on your mobile phone, just as it’s not right that they should be able to say whether or not you should have their app on your desktop computer.

9 thoughts on “Closed App Stores Bad

  1. On the topic of the closed App stores: Yes, I fully agree that they are a bad idea for the reasons such as censorship.

    As for the Manhattan Declaration: I still don’t get how people are trying to discriminate against minorities, such as homosexual couples, and call that “defending …”.

  2. Huh, that’s interesting. It’s bad that Apple pulled (or rejected; I can’t tell which and the link is down at the moment) the Manhattan Declaration’s app, but it’s OK for them not to allow, say, white supremacy apps.

    ‘Cause I don’t really see a whole lot of difference between “homosexual” and “black”.

    But if having the Manhattan Declaration’s app on your iPhone is so damned important, jailbreak your phone and install it via Cydia.

    cl

  3. So long as the status quo remains, examples are continuously needed to remind people of the problem and push for something better.

    The Manhattan Declaration sounds mistaken on every level. So what? I’m guessing anyone that’s happy to have Apple ban this app would not have been so happy with Apple’s censorship choices if Western culture was like it was 50 years ago.

    And how many would support the banning of the MD’s *website*? If you support even that, then ask yourself *who* gets to decide what gets banned? Would your answer be: Some Random Company? My guess is no.

  4. I disagree vehemently with the Manhattan Declaration – it starts off with lies and false history and goes downhill from there.

    I also disagree that Apple should have pulled it. The voice of criticism (whether I’m part of it or not) should not be so powerful in a society that they need simply complain without debate.

    I think the primary concern of those parties is that it might be used to encourage others to hold such views – but anyone who actually reads it isn’t going to be convinced. It’s not ‘moderate’ or ‘responsible’ in spite of the trite and shallow arguments used to defend it.

    The best remedy for that? To make the document as accessible and easy to acquire as possible.

  5. Oh.. and please don’t state that it is, assuredly, ‘a statement defending traditional marriage, the sanctity of human life, and religious liberty’. I consider it a statement supporting bigotry and undermining secularism and human rights by mixing gospel and law – but that’s my opinion, I do not state it is a fact.

  6. There is a very thoughtful discussion of this issue here http://www.tuaw.com/2010/12/02/on-the-manhattan-declaration-and-apples-curation-of-the-app-sto/ – I too thought that pulling it was a bad idea at first but it is entirely consistent with their policy. If it were an open garden then it would be down to law (wherever that may be applicable – and in whatever jurisdiction).

    Having now read the declaration I think it is likely to be judged “inciteful of hatred” and would fall foul of the law in the UK, if not apparently in the US. I also don’t agree with parts of it (and I am a Christian) – but that is not relevant.

  7. Rick, Apple’s policies (and power) *are* the problem.

    “Apps” and “Web sites” are nearly equivalent from the user’s point of view, so it’s weird to censor one and not the other on the basis of content. Maybe Apple does it because of liability issues. But even if they censor apps for justifiable reasons, giving Steve Jobs (or anyone else!) this kind of power is a mistake.

    Also, the UK’s “incitement of hatred” laws are oppressive.

    “This is Apple’s policy” and “this is UK law” aren’t a priori justifications for anything.

    And FWIW, even though I’m a Christian I would prefer to see open app stores, even though that means they’ll carry porn apps. I would also like to have content whitelists that the device owner can opt into.

  8. I entirely respect Apple’s right to decide what does and what does not go into an app store that they run. What I object to is that it’s the only app store for the iPhone.

    This comment threat is not about the content of the Manhattan Declaration itself. But it is sad to see, here and in the linked discussion, people continuing to equate “I believe your actions are morally wrong” with “I think you are an inferior person”. There is simply no necessary link between those two viewpoints; the first definitely does not imply the second.