“Freedom From Porn.” – Steve Jobs on the iPad

I had a friend of mine who used to tell this joke, and it’s always stuck in my head. “There are two types of people: People who masturbate, and people who lie.” As taboo a subject as porn is, the facts are that porn viewing soared when the internet started, and now, it’s a huge part of the world wide web. It’s something that people try to keep away from their children during the day, while they spend time surfing it at night. It’s the elephant in the room, as it were.

The other night, Ryan Tate from Valleywag was a little irritated at Steve Jobs for one reason or another, and sent off an angry e-mail to the CEO. Not only did he get a response, but the two of them exchanged e-mails from 9:34 p.m. to 2:20 a.m., with Steve having the last word. It’s one thing to have a conversation with the CEO of a major company, it’s another to argue with him. Ryan – as he admits himself – was a bit of a jerk in the e-mails, but one thing rang clear: Steve doesn’t like porn. The exchange started like this:

Ryan Tate:

If Dylan was 20 today, how would he feel about your company?

Would he think the iPad had the faintest thing to do with “revolution?”

Revolutions are about freedom.

Wow. Calling his son out, huh? Good way to make friends.

Steve Jobs:

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

I agree with everything in Steve’s response except for that little part about porn. That is a slippery slope.

Several people – Tate included – have likened that phrase to something found in 1984. Although it is in the best interest of our country’s children not to see porn at a young age, fact is, not every kid is using an iPad or an iPhone. Those parents who do use the devices every day should have to right to view whatever it is that they want to, regardless of the content. The solution to making everyone happy is a Parental Controls filter – just like the one found in OSX – which sets the porn filter one direction or the other.

The problem here is that the boss says no. And when he says no, it’s easy to start to question why. Why can’t I look at what I want to? Maybe I didn’t want to look at porn, but shouldn’t I have the right to? Besides, these devices all have the web, so we can get porn regardless of what you say – unless you start censoring that, too.

It’s a slippery slope here, and I’m hoping Steve doesn’t tumble right down it.

Comments

  1. all I can say is WOW

  2. Steve W says:

    It is as simple as this: How many stores do you visit that sell porn? What kind of reputation do those stores have? There is a name for stores that sell porn.

    One more thing: When Steve Jobs says that mobile Safari provides “the full web experience”, he isn’t talking about Flash, he is talking about porn. You can get all the porn you want via Safari; there’s no need for porn apps.

  3. The reality for a lot of people is that they don’t really WANT to look at porn too, they’re just trapped by a habit or an addiction (whatever you want to call it). And, on the other hand, what about the women and men who are exploited in porn–shouldn’t they be given the opportunity to not be looked at as simple sexual objects and not real people. Still on another hand, what about our whole society which sees men and women in a different light (a negative one, by and large) because of how overly sexualized we are through direct and/or indirect contact with pornography and other things that overly objectify people as sexual objects instead of as people? Shouldn’t all those groups have “freedom” too? Freedom from addiction (or bad habits)–or at least freedom from as much of an easy temptation; freedom from sexual enslavement of one kind or another, freedom from objectification, freedom from general devaluing of humanity? What about those freedoms?

    I think that whatever Steve meant to say, his statement points in a good direction. Porn IS NOT freedom, it is slavery. If you dig at all into it there is no way to successfully argue that porn is freedom affirming for all the parties involved. I think that if you REALLy dig into it you find out that it’s actually worse than that–it ENSLAVES everyone involved in some way or another ultimately.

    So, I, for one, am very happy to have devices that limit my/others’ abilities to access porn to some degree (albeit not fully as per “Steve W’s” comments).

  4. George B says:

    Beware of people with power and influence, such as Mr. Jobs, dictating morality and having the temerity to claim it’s in the name of Freedom. It’s been done hundreds of times in our nation’s history–with free speech, with the right to bear arms– and what it really means is that he thinks he knows what’s best for all of the rest of us poor incapable and simple folks. Mr. Jobs, I had a great father. I don’t need another.

    And don’t conflate, as poor Daniel Z has done, the idea of taking away someone’s rights–even for a good cause–with freedom. By doing so you’ve perverted–as Mr.Jobs has done–the concept’s very idea and purpose. Freedom means we can make good decisions and bad. It means we can say things that are vile and repugnant as well as things that instruct and inspire. This means that the Klu Klux Klan can have a rally and say absolutely stupid and hateful things and that Dr. Martin Luther King can march for freedom. It’s called the “marketplace of ideas.”

    Shame on you Mr. Jobs!!! Your response to Mr. Tate was contrite and hollow. You know, deep down, that what you’re peddling isn’t freedom and that’s why you chose to respond to Mr. Tate. The whole thing came off like a belittling attempt to defend the indefensible.

    • Bob Daniel says:

      If it is freedom, George B, that you speak of, then how is marijuana legal? If we get to make good and bad decisions for ourselves, why are other things bad illegal then? Is porn just an exception? The fact is that most people who view porn, don’t want to. If they never had the opportunity to view porn in the first place, many teenagers would not be wasting their time and minds. George B, you say you had a good father, but obviously, he was not as goodbas you think if you are such a closed minded person that you would call a man wrong for standing up for what is right.

  5. I couldn’t agree with George B’s comment more. Freedom should be the constant pursuit of a world which can fairly be called a “marketplace of ideas.” Let it be a free market.
    I like what George B said about Steve Jobs: the man’s just doing what he thinks is best by looking out for us “poor, incapable and simple folk.”
    This is an outrage. I don’t have an i-pad, I don’t know how anyone can consider it wise to run out and buy the latest flashy p.o.s., no matter what it’s supposed to do. This is an outrage because this a-hole has been pushing this whole “i-world” idea and here he is, moving to limit the media that can be viewed through this latest device.
    If I find out that the user interface for the i-pad is capable of limiting what can be downloaded according to the personal beliefs of apple employees like Jobs, I will absolutely boycott this device. This is an outrage.

  6. Porn should never have been allowed on the internet in the first place. Who get to decide what is allowed on the net? – who gets that freedom? Certainly not my ilk. Freedom means something different to everyone. The freedom to live in a moral society – about that freedom?

  7. I used to be an Apple fan, but now I hate them. Their behavior is starting to get very bizarre with CEO Steve Jobs’ belligerent outbursts and rants against Flash software, pornography and now apparently, profanity?

    Over at the Apple Discussion forums it’s complete fascism… They have a whole server set up that searches for phrases like “Steve Jobs”, “Apple sucks” or “I hate apple” and when it finds them, it deletes them.

    And then there’s the whole Jailbreak your phone, Apple un-jailbreaks it bullshit. I’ve never seen a software like iTunes that fights back at you. If I want to tear apart my TV, my radio, my chouse, I’m free to do so, but GOD FORBID your mess with your iPhone.

    Steve you can kiss my ass. You say: “Freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash you battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin’”

    Well, the times just changed and we want our basic freedom of speech, freedom of choice and freedom from you.
    You’re not the future… You’re an old man.

  8. George B. has the freedom to complain, but until he creates his own hand held computer he has no right to dictate others on how they regulate their hardware. Freedom is earned……….

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