IPad: A Threat to Our Freedom to Read

Publishers should think twice before worshipping the iPad as the future platform for magazines and newspapers. That is, if they value their independence from an often-capricious corporate gatekeeper.

The past week%u2019s controversy swirling around Apple%u2019s retroactive ban of sexy apps in the App Store seems trivial, but the implications of Apple%u2019s arbitrariness should be disconcerting to members of the press and those who rely on the media for unbiased information.

Apple last week began removing thousands of apps containing %u201Covertly sexual content%u201D from its App Store %u2014 apps it had previously approved %u2014 in response to complaints from customers and parents. However, still remaining are apps from major publishers such as Playboy and Sports Illustrated, which contain images of partially nude women, just like the removed apps did.

While it may initially appear publishers are more shielded from Apple%u2019s ban hammer, the severity of the retroactive ban should be concerning for freedom-of-speech advocates.

From a legal perspective, Apple can do whatever it wants with the content in its App Store. Apple is not government, and thus it is not governed by the First Amendment. In light of the recent ban, many have correctly compared Apple%u2019s App Store to Wal-Mart, which also doesn%u2019t allow porn.