Freedom From Porn and the iPhone

The internet is abuzz with the latest back and forth about porn between Apple and the rest of the world. Ryan Tate at Gawker.com had an interesting conversation with him, and he’s posted the entire thing here:

Clipped from: gawker.com

In particular, there are two snippets of the emails from Jobs that I think are important:

Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin’, and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away.

and

And you might care about porn more when you have kids

The first thing I want to say is that, yes, I agree that being able to avoid porn when you don’t want it is important. I love the fact that I can go home and not look at porn. To be honest, after talking about sex all day and often looking at a lot of porn and a lot of sexually explicit images (which aren’t always porn, btw), I usually can’t be bothered to look at it at home. So yes, I get that.

But there’s a big difference between “freedom from porn” and “you don’t get to look at porn.” If freedom truly exists, then it’s the freedom to make a choice. It’s the freedom to say no AND the freedom to say yes. When Jobs talks about “freedom from porn”, he’s not really talking about freedom.

Second, it’s also really interesting that Jobs seems to think that people with kids suddenly don’t want porn. Sure, it’s important to protect kids when it comes to sexuality by not exposing them to things beyond their capacity to understand. But that doesn’t mean that we all have to live our entire lives in child-friendly spaces, either. I can personally assure Mr. Jobs that a lot of people with kids enjoy porn. I can also assure him that there are a lot of people who don’t have kids.

Third, look at the three things that Jobs thinks people want “freedom” from: identity theft and information loss,  badly designed software, and porn. What an interesting combination of things to equate. This may be the high-tech version of a moral panic. “Anyone who wants porn wants you to have crappy software that’ll send your credit card number to the Russian mafia!”

While we’re on the topic of freedoms that Apple can provide, I have a few more to suggest: Freedom from dropped calls due to inadequate AT&T coverage. Freedom from promises of future services that never happen (like tethering). Freedom from restrictions on iphone developers. Now, those seem like the sorts of freedoms that I’d like to see Apple work on.

It really seems to me that it shouldn’t be all that hard to let apps that have to do with sex be restricted and let the people who are buying iphones or ipads block them. Oh, wait. They already did that. They could even take a stronger stance and make it so that sexuality apps are blocked by default and you have to unblock them if you want them. That way, nobody would be surprised by it and the tech-unsavvy wouldn’t be caught off guard.

All of this is especially ironic since you can always just look at porn via Safari anyway. Which reminds me- we just launched our mobile site which automatically optimizes for some smart phones and devices. Just point your browser to www.goodvibes.com and if you’re on a smartphone, it’ll redirect you to our mobile-optimized site. Or bookmark http://www.goodvibes.com/m/ You can get all the same toys as on the regular site and you can also buy movies to watch on your phone or on your computer.

And guess what? All you need to do to not have to look at porn is not go to our site. Is that so hard?

Dr. Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is the Education Program Manager at Good Vibrations. He also writes, blogs, teaches workshops and university courses, presents at conferences, and trains sexuality educators. He’s certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and loves geeking out about sex, relationships, sex-positivity, love and shame, communities of erotic affiliation, and sexual practices and techniques of all varieties. Follow him online, on Twitter at @charlieglickman, or on Facebook.

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