Feeds

Apple fine-tunes app censorship

Will the f-bomb find a home?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Apple will extend parental controls to applications in its upcoming iPhone 3.0 software and iTunes 8.2, thus helping to calm some of the ongoing brouhaha over its erratic App Store censorship policies.

According to a report by 9to5 Mac, the next versions of the iPhone OS and iTunes will allow parents to set age-appropriate limits on app downloads for their iPhone-toting ankle-biters.

Apps, according to the report, will be rated at four levels: 4+, 9+, 12+, and 17+. Why on god's green earth a three-year-old would have an iPhone? We'll leave that aside for the moment. Adding ratings to apps will help Apple prevent such embarrassments as its recent censorship of an Nine Inch Nails app update.

That is, of course, if Apple's morality police deem the f-bomb suitable for even the 17+ crowd.

Currently, the iPhone has rudimentary parental controls that allow simple blocking of services, but not age-based restrictions. In the current system, a user - or a user's parent - can create a four-digit passcode to enable restrictions in Settings > General > Restrictions, then choose to allow or disallow "Explicit" iTunes downloads, Safari, YouTube, the iTunes app, installation of apps from the App Store, and the camera.

iPhone Restrictions controls

To enable restrictions on an iPhone's use (left), you first need to set a four-digit passcode (right)

Come to think of it, that last restriction could have prevented those sexting Pennsylvania teens from landing in a heap of trouble.

Current restrictions in iTunes are richer than those on the iPhone, with more fine-grained choices such as by movie and TV ratings and age appropriateness of games. If 9to5 Mac's report is correct, the games restrictions will be expanded to all apps.

Which brings up a logistical question: During the company's most recent financial-results webcast, Apple's acting commandant Tim Cook announced that there are now over 35,000 applications in the App Store. Will Apple's censors now go back and rate each and every one as to its age-appropriateness? And will they issue clear and cogent guidelines describing how such appropriateness will be judged?

We welcome Apple's fine-tuning of its App Store censorship policies. But we don't expect that arguments over what is and what isn't objectionable will end with the addition of age-appropriateness ratings. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.