May, 03 2010

When Steve Jobs pointed out that Android has an app-store for porn, it shook the silicon-filled world: reactions and emotions flew about as Jobs’ words struck the chords (and probably the hearts) of many Android enthusiasts. He struck more than just our chords, though: the dogs behind the Parental Television Council got sicced on Android, too.

Having been scorched by the activist group for the iPhone’s ability to freely access adult content in the market without age restrictions, Apple complied and started taking steps toward alleviating the pressure from them and the FCC. Now that Apple’s mopped up, though, the PTC is getting set to target Android, as well.

Speaking with ArsTechnica, PTC’s national grassroots director (awesome title) Gavin McKiernan expressed their plans to target other mobile devices, as well, with the frontrunner being Android.

“We plan to draw attention to other platforms, such as Android, or Verizon’s Vcast service, that aren’t really doing anything,” McKiernan told Ars.” We definitely want to see progress from some of the other handheld devices.”

They plan to pressure Google in similar fashion to how they did with Apple, asking them to pull down any sexually or violently objective content from the Market. Even if an app isn’t specifically X-rated, a questionable icon or screenshot in the app’s Market description would prove undesirable. They also want browsers to begin implementing parental control features much like many of our desktop counterparts do.


It’ll be interesting to witness to what extent they’ll try to get these practices in place. I can’t imagine they’ll reasonably ask (or be able to force) all of the browser developers to implement these measures, and it definitely goes against Android’s “open” atmosphere to – at the very least – ask a browser developer to pull their app down until they’ve updated it. It’s because of this that I think – without any government sanctioned or signed laws and ordinances – Google will turn a blind eye to the matter. When you begin to go against the current that you set – the same current that attracted developers to your platform – it not only makes you look bad, but it could have a direct negative effect on developer support altogether.

This is where everyone starts to become uncomfortable, I assume. With the prospect of Google having to build protective walls around their Market and operating system, would you ever be turned away from Android? Is the PTC in way over their heads? Or will you just wait for your favorite “objective” app to appear on a website as an easy .apk download if the PTC succeeds in getting Google to comply?

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