BigStar Sneaky iPhone Porn Trick Highlights a Pink-Pixel Future for Apps

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BigStar's app is a little-known subscription service for streaming movies to your iPhone or iPad. It's not little-known any more, as it also accesses a selection of porn movies. This proves one thing to us: Porn will ultimately have to come to the App Store.

The BigStar service has a 30-day free trial, then requires a $5 a month fee to access its archive of movies, but via the BigStar.tv site HTML5 web video player (or via Safari) you can easily access the "most watched" list which includes main-stream pornographic movies.

This is causing a big fuss on the Web this morning, even while Apple has't removed BigStar's app from the App Store yet. The fuss is, of course, due to Steve Jobs' famous assertion that the iOS devices will be "free" from porn. This decision, backed by strict App Store submission guidelines, has resulted in some extremely odd treatment of apps: Playboy's app must obey the no-nudity clause, but the Suicide Girls app (which didn't contain nudity!) was pulled...and all the while a bevy of Kama Sutra apps are available which self-evidently promote sex. The feeling is that BigStar will incur Apple's wrath.

The problem with this debate is that one way to access porn through BigStar is effectively the same as if you surfed to a pink-pixel website using Safari--it's just wrappered in BigStar's app interface. So squashing the app because it does this would be an overt form of censorship--in the same league as Amazon's dubious downing of Wikileaks, or Facebook's insane censorship of breastfeeding photos. Because what if BigStar (or Netflix, for that matter) chose to stream some very provocative "serious" movies--think 9 Songs, or the controversial Antichrist? This crosses into the whole porn/art debate of course, which is an area Apple is absolutely not qualified to make an executive decision about.

You can argue that it's within Apple's rights to control porn via the App Store, and you're right. But as more and more apps hit the Store, and people find cleverer and cleverer ways to use the iPhone's Net access, bevy of sensors and its touchscreen to dream up new games, creative apps and entertainment systems, pornographic content will eventually have to be included. Because it's a significant component of or society. BigStar may not survive long, but the next attempt to sneak porn onto the iPhone will almost certainly work. The only way for Apple to "control" porn on the closed platform is to ditch the strict stance, officially acknowledge it, add in an "adult" section of the App Store (with all the appropriate child-protection controls) and manage things this way.

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