Yet Another iPhone App sneaks p0rn through Apple’s Defenses
It was just about a week ago when Apple removed the application HottestGirls right after its launch. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told CNN on 25 June 2009 that the application had been removed and that Apple will not distribute p0rn or other inappropriate content:
Apple will not distribute applications that contain inappropriate content, such as p0rnography. The developer of this application added inappropriate content directly from their server after the application had been approved and distributed, and after that the developer had subsequently been asked to remove some offensive content. This was a direct violation of the terms of the iPhone Developer Program. The application is no longer available on the App Store.
Well… History is repeating itself. Another p0rn issue ! Another application with adult content ! Consequently another application removed !
My question: Why the empty promises?
It has been reported that an iPhone application named BeautyMeter contains child p0rn. BeautyMeter is a picture rating and dating application(hosted at funnymals-the German-based developers of BeautyMeter) that allows users to upload their personal pictures and lets other iPhone users to comment and rate the pictures.
The image was discovered by an iPhone app review site Krapps. The obscene picture in question shows a 15 year old girl from the United States, taking a picture of herself in front of the mirror, almost naked. Nearly 5000 iPhone users have rated the image. The image has been edited and censored by wired.com to prevent further distribution of child p0rnography.
Once aware of the problem, Apple removed the application from its App Store today at approximately 12:20 a.m. PST. It was stated that the application was in violation of the terms in the iPhone developer program.
However, the rules and violations of using BeautyMeter include:
“You may not place any insults, obscene statements, or p0rnographic material on this site or any other materials which may offend human dignity.”
It also warns users that BeautyMeter takes the iPhone device ID number when installed. This allows the developers to trace down the owner of the content:
“By having the device ID, a person will be explicitly identifiable if providing us with illegal content.”
The HottestGirls issue gave us a hint of the inability of Apple to control adult content-theBeautyMeter issue reaffirms the latter. This perfectly demonstrates the flaws in Apple’s safeguards. Still, Funnymals and Apple will probably not be held liable for the content because they would be protected by the Communications Decency Act, according to Mark Rasch, a lawyer and founder of computer security consulting firm Secure IT Experts. That’s because when Apple approved the application, it did not contain the prohibited content. Instead, the app downloads images off the internet, thus placing the responsibility on the people who use the application.