Tim Cook is trying to contrast his company with Mark Zuckerberg’s in terms of its dedication to privacy, and he has a point there: Apple is better at privacy than the data whore. But in the same interview, where he’s supposedly showing how he isn’t as up-tight as Steve Jobs was, he demonstrates that Apple’s approach to censoring porn is just as bad as Facebook’s, and just as stone-headed.
What’s absurd is that right after justifying his “we don’t sell porn” position, he goes on to explain why his own argument doesn’t make sense. He brags about how they’ve rated and tagged music and movies to accomplish the same objective: helping individuals and parents make choices about what to avoid. They could so the same for the App Store.
Tumblr, Twitter, and Ello all give me the option to check a box indicating “I make porn”, and other users of those services need to check a box indicating “OK with me” to see what I post. Facebook and Apple could do the same thing. They don’t. Ello had to specifically engineer their iPhone app to weld the “OK with me” setting in the OFF position so that Apple would allow it. Cook says he doesn’t care if I look at porn on my iPhone, but he’s still crippling the Ello app to deny me the option of doing that.
Hey, Tim: you’ve got some great parental-control features in iOS. If you’re so proud of them, why not enable them for Ello, Comixology, and other app developers?