May 12, 2009 | By Hugh D'Andrade

Apple vs. Blasphemy (and Innovation)

Two more interesting applications have been blocked by Apple in its quixotic quest to police what users can think and do while using their iPhones.

First, we have Me So Holy, an iPhone app that takes a snapshot of the user and cleverly pastes it over the faces of holy religious figures such as Jesus Christ and the Dalai Lama. Well, it appears that Apple would prefer iPhone users to be a bit more pious — they've blocked the application from the iPhone app store as "objectionable."

Blasphemy, however, has been around for a few centuries, and even Steve Jobs is unlikely to have more success eradicating it than past inquisitors. P2P filesharing, on the other hand, is a relatively new idea, and from the perspective of Mr. Jobs and company, even more dangerous and heretical.

That's why Apple also blocked Drivetrain, a program that would allow users to remotely control their bittorrent downloads on their PCs. The heresy in this case is the idea that filesharing technologies can be used for all sorts of purposes, many of which are non-infringing and legitimately useful to the public. It doesn't matter whether your software actually uploads or downloads anything (Drivetrain doesn't) — if it's been seen in the company of other software that is capable of sending and receiving files, it will be put to the sword. Of course, by blocking software like Drivetrain Apple is putting innovation to the sword as well.

As we've said before, Apple is legally within its rights to sell or not sell whatever they choose in their store. But the monopoly they hold on applications for the iPhone means that unless users have the right to jailbreak their phones, they'll be blocked from enjoying the fruits of 21st century thinking — and 12th century thinking as well!

Peasants, peons, and iPhone users of the world, perhaps its time you were allowed to decide for yourselves what software will be running on the computer in your pocket.


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