Apple may have let Opera Mini into the App store, but it is hardly allowing it to flourish. Apple has marked Opera Mini as containing “age-restricted materials,” forcing users to confirm to be at least 17 years old.
Why the demarcation as an application that may titillate? Apple is in effect saying that you can find porn using Opera Mini, and therefore it needs to be restricted. This continues a trend between Apple and porn, with Apple fending off pornography wherever it can. Steve Jobs recently said that his products offer “Freedom from porn.”
Adding to the mix, Apple has a history of blocking applications that either replicate, or replace functionality that the iPhone offers out of the box. Getting Opera Mini (Opera’s mobile browser) into the App store was a challenge in its own right. Labeling it 17+ is just ridiculous.
How so? Here is a little secret, every iPhone has porn built right in, it’s called Safari. Sure, Apple killed the devices access to most pornography by eliminating Flash, but not all. You can view porn in Safari; ask any 14 year old male with an iPhone, he’ll even show you how.
This makes the labeling of Opera as dangerous rather unfair. Not only does Opera have to compete against a browser that is already built into the phone, but also has to fend off scary-looking labels. Whatever porn problem Opera Mini may have (also known as the ability to browse), Safari has as well. Best to drop the warning from Opera, or add it to Safari’s first run on the iPhone.
Alert! Pornography may be viewed using this application!
Steve Jobs may be the Valley’s hero this decade, but he is also our biggest prude. The irony of the situation is that by moving tens of millions of people to smart phones and mobile browsing, he single-handedly kick-started the mobile porn business. Well done, Steve.