May

17

2010

Justin Taylor|9:13 am CT

Steve Jobs, iPhones, and Porn

Pete from Grace City has a post about Steve Jobs, Apple, and porn. An excerpt:

Jobs has argued that he wants his portable computer devices to not sell or stock pornography.

When a critic emailed him to say that this infringed his freedoms, Jobs emailed back and told him to buy a different type of computer.

Steve Jobs is a fan of Bob Dylan. So one customer emailed him to ask how Dylan would feel about Jobs’ restrictions of customers’ freedoms.

The CEO of Apple replied to say that he values:

‘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 their world is slipping away. It is.’

The interlocuter replied:

“I don’t want ‘freedom from porn’. Porn is just fine! And I think my wife would agree.”

In the most revealing line, Steve Jobs dismissed the critic thus:

“You might care more about porn when you have kids.”

Pause for a moment and consider what the above emails represent.

The CEO of one of the wealthiest, most successful international companies, responds to the email of a customer. Business prospers on the mantra ‘The customer is always right.’ Business wants the customers’ money.

But in this case, over the moral issue of pornography, Jobs is happy to tell customers to buy a different product. He argues that children and innocence ought to be preserved—and that trumps the dollar.

Google (with their motto ‘Don’t be evil’) rake in billions through pornography. Ranks of employees spend their time categorising and arranging advertising for pornography. (I know, I spent some time discussing the difficulties posed to a Christian who worked in their UK HQ.) Pornography is huge business, yet here is the CEO of Apple telling the pornography businesses to take their dollars elsewhere.

Good for Jobs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that one cannot access such things on an iPhone. If this is a temptation for you, you might want to consider something like the free app, x3watch, recommended by Andy Naselli in his post on filtering software and other apps.

Update: Just remembered a link that might be of interest (though it doesn’t have to do with the issue of porn and Apple.) Here’s an open letter that Josh Harris recently wrote to Steve Jobs, thanking him for his work and inviting him to worship the Savior.

57 Comments

  1. iPhone also has a Covenant Eyes app. Extremely helpful.

  2. I’ve never been a huge fan of Jobs, but he’s obviously right on this one, and he’s garnered some more respect from me.

    (FWIW, I bought my first Mac in 1985…still have it…used an Apple IIe before that.)

  3. I was struck by Steve Jobs’ idea of freedom through restrictions in relation to our ultimate freedom through submission to God’s Word. The world does not see that as freedom, they view freedom as the ability to do anything, which ultimately leads to some sort of slavery. Even though Jobs was not coming from a Biblical Worldview it is interesting to see him entertain the idea that one can have freedom by submitting to something.

  4. Also, this was not just *any* customer he said that too. He was e-mailing with a writer of a very high-profile tech blog.

    Good for him.

  5. I am using an older Macbook model and wondering if I want to go back to PC for price reasons. Steve Jobs just kept a an apple user happy and satisfied.

  6. Bruce Russell

    I can’t believe it, my next computer is an Apple!

  7. So how do we show our support for Jobs’ decision? When something like this happens we Christians need to inundate the fellow in the right with positive feedback and support, as I’m sure he’s getting a lot of negative comments.

  8. Just along similar lines, illbehonest.com just posted an excellent video by Tim Conway on the topic, “Live Pure. Free from Pornography and Lustful Thoughts – Tim Conway”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXWeioNGkbE

  9. [...] Steve Jobs, iPhones, and Porn [...]

  10. [...] HT: Justin Taylor [...]

  11. Sadly, it seems rare in today’s business climate to see people in power making such principled decisions. Kudos to Jobs!

  12. Jobs, has earned my respect.

  13. I would add that that every productive business I have worked for dread pron – it is probably the single greatest thief of time and talent in the workplace. The fact is that even from a secular standpoint, porn is bad for just about everyone except the industry.

  14. Wow, and he’s a buddhist, go Jobs.

  15. Bruce Russell

    Anybody: Do Macs exclude porn better than PCs?

  16. Good question Bruce. No. Arguably, they filter less than PC’s out of the box. These are respectable statements from Jobs. Good for him to use his platform. However….

    The responses above are proof of the success of Apple’s marketing. He made a statement, not a decision that he would like to keep porn off of Apple protable devices. That is all he did. Why must Christians continue to get all excited and make ignorant decisions about products because someone says something they agree with? It would seem that the only way Jobs can keep porn off of Apple i-devices is to remove the camera and video support, as well as wi-fi and data support for good measure. May as well stop selling iPhoto, FinalCut, and Aperture on Macs as well, which I would venture to say are not used only for capturing images of fall colors.

    If you have followed Job’s antics at all for the past three decades, this is simply great marketing. Do I use Apple products? Sure. Are they great? No, but they are very good at doing what they need to.

    Do we need to support people that we agree with? Sure. I support President Obama’s statement that he wants to lower taxes, but also take issue with some other ideas he has. 40 Days of Purpose, Prayer of Jabez, The Shack, Bono, Steven Baldwin, Oprah, Ford, Pepsi, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Adobe,
    IBM(HAL) and many other products have all been boycotted or embraced by Christians at some point, and some of them have had both done to them. I think Job’s newly publicized anti-porn campaign is a great idea. More people should support that type of thinking. I also think it is great marketing, especially coming from a liberal CEO towards a naive conservative fan base who has in the past questioned his Budhist and mostly agnostic beliefs. The same conservative group who flipped out back in 1977 when the first Apple retailed for $666.66.

    Will I continue to use Mac’s? Sure, if they serve the purpose. Will I purchase one because of a statement that cannot even be upheld? Not sure. Maybe. I like to support people who have similar morals. Sadly his wrath filled treatment of employees, and frequent lack of business ethics makes me wonder how far to go in support of his idea or his company.

    • I don’t think anyone is suggesting that we all go out and buy all the apple products we can get your hands on. A prominent business leader and cultural icon made a statement about a particular topic that would be considered positive from a Christian standpoint, why shouldn’t we celebrate it and be encouraged. Does this make Jobs a saint? Of course not take it for what it’s worth and move on.

      • Very true. Thanks. From this screen, I perhaps misread or misunderstood a couple of the posts that hinted at supporting him by making a next purchase a Mac, or finding ways to support him. I did not intend to suggest we do not support him at all and obviously did not highlight the positive enough over the negative. I’m too cautious about the news I guess.

  17. This is very encouraging. I’ve been using Macs (not Mac’s) for about twenty years and this stand is one of the more encouraging that I’ve heard from Jobs (not Job’s).

  18. Bruce Russell

    I guess Spirit led self control remains the best filtering software.

  19. I love Mac. I am greatly encouraged by Jobs and his reply. However when I first got my iPod touch, while browsing the apps in the app store there were several apps which I consider porn (and I was searching in like the top 25 free things, not any place I would have expected to see anything!) Does he have control over these things at all? Is not not talking about that stuff but so called “hard core” only? I don’t fully get what he’s saying because you can get these apps directly from Apple. I fully applaud what he said, just slightly confused….

  20. [...] is as refreshing as it rare (click here!). Such principles are so seldom seen, especially in secular world where so much money at stake [...]

  21. Very good! Bravo Steve Jobs! I totally agree and pray that more companies will do more to protect families from filth!

  22. Less availability of porn is good. The trouble arises when Steve Jobs uses this position of power to ‘censor’ other applications he doesn’t like – perhaps because they compete with Apple products (e.g. Google Voice) or threaten his control of the iPhone platform (e.g. Firefox).

    Just like the government that is powerful enough to give you everything you want is also powerful enough to take all you have, so the censor who is powerful enough to keep away the porn is also powerful enough to keep away things you might actually want.

    Gerv

  23. I agree that it’s refreshing to see a public figure holding his ground based on healthy principles. However I have issues with the expectations people have. As a network architect I work for service providers. Most of these service providers have customers who host porn. The networks I design carry porn. A decent slice of the money I earn -indirectly- is paid for by porn. However disconcerting this may be I can not avoid this. Should I find another job? Esther, Joseph and Daniel didn’t, I’m sure they could have found ways to run like Mozes did.

    I commend Jobs for the stand he took but will never buy an iPhone due to the same restrictions imposed by Apple. Not because of the porn but because what I want out of a smart-phone doesn’t fit within Apples restrictive mind-set. My Android phone does all an iPhone does but I can choose what applications I want to run. Plus I have the choice of different models and performance. All at less cost.

    So as a techy I’m left asking why Steve is suddenly pitching the iPhone as a porn free platform, which it clearly is not. Ahh, he doesn’t allow explicit material in the Apple store, yet he’s happy to sell any music or video. However if you want to read the lyrics using an application not written by Apple then the words have to be filtered?

    In my opinion -to really earn respect- Steve can not have it both ways…

  24. My next computer will be a Mac!

  25. Just remember that jobs is talking about porn apps not all porn. Porn is easily accessible from the browser in the iPhone and iPad as on any computer maybe easier. As long as there is an Internet connection you can look at the unfiltered web. This is more about control over the app store than a moral stand.

    These devices are not moral they are just devices.

  26. Bill Montgomery

    I agree with Steve, We must take a stand on porn or we will all drown in it.

  27. The whole porn issue is foolish. On the one hand, Steve Jobs has every right to continue down that puritanical path of saying that his device is porn free and better that way. The truth is that every smartphone has the same access to adult material because they all come with WEB BROWSERS.

    The “adult” marketplace with Android requires downloading a wholly separate app store. If I downloaded another app store onto an apple device (Cydia?) then I’m sure there’d be more adult apps available to me on an Apple device.

    Jobs can trumpet his devices as porn free, but anyone who believes him is a fool.

  28. Uh. You know the Playboy app is still selling on the Apple app store, right…and also Sports Illustrated, Maxim and Hooters? It’s almost like it was clearing the decks for big publishers on the iPad.

    Just FYI, not that I’d normally want to intrude on the unexamined acceptance of a PR-driven Jobs statement…you might want to be a little more cynical there though.

    • Yeah — while I’d like to give Jobs some credit here, his track record here is somewhat…mixed. Given some of the apps currently available in the iTunes Store, I don’t think he’s really interested in the moral high ground…

  29. Not brainwashed by Apple

    I’m glad that there are at least a few informed comments here that can see beyond the Apple filter. Like others have mentioned, Playboy and other companies have their own apps in app store. I cringe every time Jobs’ makes these types of announcements that have uninformed Apple fanboys rejoicing because it just shows me unwilling people are to educate themselves about how the world really works.

  30. Meh. Jobs is selling a product. I love how he’s bamboozled people into equating PCs with pornography and turning Apples into some kind of “godly” computer.

    But the man is great at selling his product. Well done.

  31. Sheesh you people are real suckers! As the above mention, there is an Playboy iPhone App and other porn apps too. Jobs is happy to take the big money from the porn corporations, who pay him the money on the understanding that the smaller operators will be kept out.

    He’s not “moral” – he’s a money-grabbing hypocrite. I am an adult and able to choose whether or not I want porn on my phone. Why should he be allowed to make the decision for me?

  32. If a remember correctly when the report originaly came out I think I read that the playboy app did not include nudity. I could be wrong but I think that is correct.

    • The nudity content of the Playboy app is irrelevant. The Apple App Store has a rating system — in theory, it should be setup to allow adult content for adults who decide they wish to see it.

      Which is more arrogant:

      “I [the consumer] know enough to decide for myself.”

      OR

      “I [Steve Jobs] know enough to decide for everybody.”

  33. I fully agree with Jobs that freedom from illicit content is a good thing. I disagree that his products somehow keep people from such content. (See @Claudio’s comments above.)

    In fact, it seems like he’s trumpeting the one very good aspect of his argument against an open platform so that folks will ignore all the dangers of his very closed platform. I’m very glad he doesn’t allow a lot of adult app content on his portable devices (though he seems to be okay with the more “accepted” content listed above by @James Duncan). I wish he would back up his statements by making sure they were true of his non-portable devices as well. In that case, I would seriously consider purchasing more Apple products. As it stands, he seems only to care about locking down the App Store, and this appears to be strongly linked to a profit-motive.

    As it stands, I don’t like Apple products–I don’t like their design elements, I don’t like their bewildering hardware restrictions on Flash, and I don’t like the way they simply take other artists’ copyrighted content for their advertisements. (Engadget has a nice article from 2007 detailing some of this.)

    An Android phone or a Lenovo laptop is more effective for doing productive work and is just as able to be locked down with regards to accessing adult content. Plus, they look nicer too.

  34. [...] Jobs, iPhones, and Porn by Pete City and Justin Taylor Here and here  are a couple interesting articles about Steve Jobs’ desire that his portable computer [...]

  35. Finally somebody is not afraid to do what is right. Go Jobs!

  36. God, another fanboy… :(

    Me that was thinking that this post could lead somewhere…

  37. “When Jobs had his own illegitimate child, also at the age of 23, he too struggled with his responsibilities. For two years, though already wealthy, he denied paternity while Lisa’s mother went on welfare. At one point Jobs even swore in a signed court document that he couldn’t be Lisa’s father because he was “sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child.”"

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/02/news/companies/elkind_jobs.fortune/index2.htm

    He’s not the paragon of virtue this blog is holding him up to be. Steve Jobs is against pornography on Apple handhelds because it fits their closed platform business model (See what they did with Adobe), not because he’s anti-pornography as a concept. Don’t be duped, wake up Christians, think for yourselves. Apple is about Apple’s bottom line and making sure their shareholders are happy.

    • I agree, anyone who knows the slightest history of Apple computers will see through this.

  38. [...] The rest here. « Let’s multiply our talents with this sort of ingenuity . . . [...]

  39. As a long-time (recovering) porn addict, I find Steve Jobs’ comments refreshing in a lust-filled culture. When he said “Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom.”, that was especially interesting to me especially since the secular world equates pornography as ‘true’ freedom.

    As a long-time Apple fan, I have enjoyed Steve’s newfound approach to handling HR issues via personal email, and from what I’ve seen they are coming from a man who doesn’t suffer idiots. They are always straight to the point and this exchange seems to be no different.

    In short, I believe Jobs’ statements are both genuine and truthful. I highly doubt that Jobs is catering to the conservative right, considering his Buddhism and liberalism. I propose that Jobs has come to his current stance on porn as the result of personal experiences with his children, as evidenced by his comment, “You might care more about porn when you have kids.” It could also stem from his religion—you don’t have to be a Christian to have some of the same beliefs.

    In the end, I think people are giving Jobs’ emails entirely too much attention. He is a celebrity CEO, so naturally they are interesting, but they are not necessarily Apple’s official policies (as others have mentioned, there are already adult-oriented apps in the App Store). But I think we need to give Jobs credit where credit is due, and not look for hidden meanings.

    As an aside, Apple is entirely justified to exclude Adobe’s Flash from their portable devices. It’s a technical issue, primarily dealing with the fact that Flash is a major power hog, especially during video playback. This makes it problematic on mobile devices, where one of the most important specs is battery life. Adobe has yet to release Flash for ANY mobile platform. If Adobe wants to prove Apple wrong on the Flash issue, all they have to do is release their upcoming Flash 10.1 that DOESN’T suck battery life like a vampire. For another good read by Steve Jobs, here’s Apple’s “Thoughts on Flash”:
    http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

    -HazMatt

  40. It takes a man to stand up for the family. There are to many out there that only consider themselves. Thanks to someone who willing to make a differance for our future generations.

  41. [...] user today.  I don’t know if you have been following the discussion about porn and macs but here is Justin Taylor’s first post.  And his second is [...]

  42. Although I tend to give Jobs a mark for doing something RIGHT this time I gotta take it away again and a LOT more for the HARD CORE support of the homosexual movement Apply supports so strongly.

    So they hate porn but they support homosexual rights. The rights of 2% of the population. INSANITY if you ask me. Sin is sin is sin no matter how you look at it and support one sin over another doesn’t count either out.

    So yet again I will STILL NOT buy an Apple until they go neutral as Mc Donald’s did due to so much lose in business.

    Hey Jobs if you really wish to do some GOOD in this world. STOP supporting immoral behavior as well as immoral porn!

    • a) That’s a fair amount of hate there, you know.
      b) ‘Sin is sin is sin no matter how you look at it and support one sin over another doesn’t count either out.’ Should I take it you don’t wear mixed fibres (Deuteronomy 22:11) or eat shellfish (Leviticus 11:12)?

  43. James@ Why is it every time some one has a problem with the topic of Sin they come off with the Old Testament, DONE AWAY WITH NO LONGER IN EFFECT laws like you have just done? I know why personally it is mainly to attempt to defend your rights to SIN! To call that which God calls sin not sin. THAT WONT WORK BRO! God makes the rules not me.

    Before I go further let me respond to your other comment about “hate”. Let me assure you my friend I hate NO ONE! Not a single person on this planet do I hate in the least. I do not even hate the man that raped me over and over when I was 6 years old. I don’t even hate people that think they have great wisdom and yet they are really foolish in what they say. So, if that was what you tried to mean by your silly comment, too bad you lose. Now aside that I DO HATE sin and in fact WISH like crazy I did not still fall into sin from time to time. Every time I do something stupid and sin I HATE IT! If you don’t you better check yourself.
    ALL truly saved people HATE IT when they FALL INTO SIN from time to time. Although NO ONE that is truly saved lives IN sin any longer. That being you do not live for sin as you once did. You see I LOVED porn and all sorts of sexual trash when I was “in the world” as we say it. Now I HATE IT! Have you come to that place yet or do you still love the sin for a season? That kind tells you personally where you are with the Lord. That is between you and God not me.
    Now, back to the silly question of “Shellfish.” You cannot try to justify your ideas, thoughts, and/or preconceptions of what sin is by trying to bring up what the atheist’s always bring up which is the old Levitical laws that have been utterly done away with. If you are in Christ they NO longer apply what so ever. Neither does the 10 commandments although they are still useful for sure.
    How is it useful? To show a person that is not saved that they are utterly lost without Christ. How many of the 10 commandments can you say you have not broken? NOT many I am sure if you are human. Therefore the 10 commandments can drive a man to the alter of Jesus Christ but no further. They cannot save you but they certainly show you how lost you will be when you stand before God without Christ of course.
    The “Sin is sin is sin” statement is simple to understand bro. Sin is sin and ALL sin leads a person to their eternal damnation in Hell. NO ONE can pay for their own sins and everyone sins no matter who you are. Therefore without repentance in Jesus Christ you cannot and will not be saved. Hence you WILL be in Hell forever and there is NO way out of it. NO amount of “works” will get you out or keep you from going there. It is ALL by Grace that you are saved through Jesus Christ. Not of works lest you should boast. Every read that before my friend?
    So, you asked me if I ate shellfish, no I don’t in fact I hate fish period. Regardless, I will ask you one. Have you truly repented of your sins, turned away from your sin and no longer do them. Have you put your faith and trust in Christ alone for salvation? Do you live every day for the Lord or for yourself? WHO IS YOUR GOD/god? Only you and God knows the answers to that., You can lie to everyone else but not to God of course. The ONLY reason I ask those questions is for one I ask EVERYONE those questions no matter who you are or what you claim to be. Second because those that are educated Christians never bring up such questions, because they KNOW the answers already. Those kinds of questions are always brought up by people that do not really know the Bible or the Lord. It is kind of a “tattle teller” if you will.
    So brother, I highly suggest you repent of your sins today and trust in Christ alone because truly the alternative is extremely unpleasant and it lasts forever.

    Later and in case you are wondering, I do not debate people or argue so this will be my last comment here. Have a good and Godly day.

  44. [...] Steve Jobs, iPhones, and Porn [...]

  45. I appreciate Jobs drawing the line where he does. Few are willing to draw such lines for their place of business. Jobs knows there’s more money to be made from the porn market, and he has limited that profitability for himself. Way to go.

    On the other hand, saying the iPhone is “porn free” is a misnomer and everyone knows that. What with Maxim and Playboy offering previews of their magazine materials and Safari still giving full access to the Web, the iPhone is still one of the porn-friendliest phones on the market.

    Either way, as a businessman I respect the fact that Jobs is doing something about the proliferation of porn through his gadgets.

    http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2010/05/18/steve-jobs-wants-to-keep-porn-off-the-iphone/

  46. Hi guys. While my opinions on porn may differ from yours I am sure we can agree on some things. Mostly that the best way to “filter” porn out of your life (or any unwanted content) is at the conscious level, don’t like it don’t view it. Whatever your beliefs may be I an reasonably sure choice is a large part of them. Life is an endless exercise in making the right choice for you. Evil is out there waiting to be rejected or accepted. Nobody else can do that for you.
    Same for your kids. Sit down and talk to them about your choices and morals and why you think they should adopt them themselves. Maybe they will agree. Maybe they’ll need to figure things out for themselves. Most importantly though is that nobody can make that choice for them. Not God, Steve, or even you. So no, I don’t think it is fair for Jobs (Apple) to make this choice for anyone. But thats his choice too :D.
    My next question is does it even matter? Regardless of weather it is wrong or not Apple wants to save children from porn. When I was a kid my parents didn’t want kids watching porn either, they were smart parents. I still got a hold of Easy Riders early, figured out I could find anything on the internet, found that channel between channels, and even national geographic was source topless women! Even if we eliminate one there are a hundred more. Kids today are smarter then we ever were. If the can’t type BOOBS into Apple Apps then their buddy will still show them Playboy behind the bushes. Maybe their buddy will have Android.
    Sorry I seem to be loosing my train of though… so let me just close this up. Apple’s attack on porn might be coming from the right place but it is wrong an ultimately ineffective.
    Consider this though experiment: If Jobs were God (honestly some people act as though he is) there would be no snake and no apple tree in eden.

    • I apologize for my grammatical mistakes and my misspelling. I am somewhat new to posting online and I forgot to proof my comment before submitting.

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