Apple And Free Speech

It’s not like Apple is new to banning apps from its store — it’s axed pornographic applications, the Financial Times’ app for not abiding by the rules about subscriptions, etc. Now, it’s come down on an app that describes the environmental degradation and worker exploitation that can go into the production of smart phones, in part on the grounds that it violates the rules against applications that “contain fraudulent of misleading representations”

It seems like MolleIndustria, the company that makes the App, should fight at least that grounds for the banning. It would be bad for there to be a precedent that Apple gets to control which allegations about the conditions under which their phones and other products are made are considered fraudulent or misleading. Wired’s article about the efforts of Foxconn, one of Apple’s main Chinese manufacturers, and the company’s efforts to improve conditions for workers, is a balanced look at the ways our phones get made. But it’s also pretty clear that Apple and Foxconn responded to outside audits and pressure. There’s no company so trustworthy that it deserves sole control over how it’s described. Apple should only keep the “fradulent or misleading representations” rule if determinations as to what falls under it are made by a neutral rotating panel.