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access_time October 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM in Features by Andrew Kent

Burning Embers: Is Censorship Becoming The Norm?

In today’s digital age there are almost an infinite number of web pages, mobile apps, online media, digital art, games, etc. that we consume daily. You’ve got your cat GIFs, Deviant Art, and casual games like Angry Birds. But what if we set certain rules and regulations as to what can be placed on different mediums, like the internet? Well dear readers I’ve got news for you: we already are.

A recent article by Hard Core Gamer tells of Terry Cavagnah, the mind who brought you VVVVVV, and how he ported a flash game over to iOS and Android. However Apple had problems with a certain phrase in the description of the game.

Basically, the app failed review because the description mentioned that there were no in-app purchases. Cavanagh resubmitted the app without the offending description and the game passed review. Second times a charm? Highly unlikely dear readers. Cavanagh, who plans on porting VVVVVV to mobile platforms, isn’t taking the situation too seriously and finds it “funny”. However, should we take such an uninterested approach to the matter? Was the app taken down because it made fun of in app purchases? No one except the iOverlords really know for sure. However this is but one singular incident right? You couldn’t be more wrong dear readers.

Two cases include the censorship of two different graphic novels, both of which Apple took back their requests and asked for the original graphic novel panels to be re-submitted.

  • 2010: Apple demands editorial changes to the Ulysses graphic novel due to nudity
  • Apple also demands changes to The Importance of Being Earnest graphic novel due to two men kissing

Also a Danish newspaper’s app being banned due to the photo of a nude woman, called the “Page 9 Girl”, who has been published along with the newspaper for 34 years.

Now you say to yourself “well these are mostly cases of nudity so they should be banned”. But I say to you, that’s what self-censorship is for. If you do not want to see something, then don’t look at it!

“But what about my children? I don’t want them to be subjected to this, they aren’t old enough.” Despite your beliefs that everyone else should protect your children but you, YOU as a parent should censor your children. If you don’t want them to see nudity then make sure that they aren’t downloading iPhone/iPod apps with said content. Also on a side note: what is your 8 year old doing with a smart phone anyways? That’s just ASKING them to find pornography.

Now, Apple isn’t the only one infringing upon the constitutional right of free speech, Microsoft’s new OS, Windows 8, seems like it will be a family friendly only environment. I posted an editorial the other day about how Microsoft is basically “going down the drain” because they are starting to implement similar practices to that of Apple, including censorship. Windows 8 will not let apps with adult content be published on their new Windows 8 dashboard. So if you wanted to use the fancy new XBOX-esque dashboard for Windows 8 you’ll be hard pressed to find games like Skyrim or Borderlands 2. However if you switched over to the Desktop side of things, you can install games like you normally would. Cherish the desktop while you can though, companies have a bad habit of changing over to the new shiny toy that they just made and making obsolete the old thing they’ve been using. Bye bye desktop, bye bye freedom. Either that or “Hello, Linux”.

So can you see where I’m coming from with my question of “Is censorship becoming the norm?”. It seems like companies think they can infringe upon our first amendment right and not get away with it. So far they have been as you can see above.

Why then have we not fought back? We’ve battled SOPA, PIPA, and other similar proposals. Why aren’t we fighting these tech giants to keep our digital world free of censorship? Have we become too complacent, are we not noticing what’s going on, or do we just think that these are “isolated incidents”?

Again I ask “Is censorship becoming the norm”? I hope that you, dear readers, can realize if left unchecked these companies will do whatever, whenever they want to. It’s only a matter of time before we are encased in a cocoon that keeps the outside world out and whatever the world wants you to hear streamed right into your news feed.



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