Monday, January 21, 2013

Who Should Regulate Or Review Apps?

The country’s movie industry regulates itself with a ratings system that has been around for decades and tweaked over time. TV shows now receive a content rating. The FCC regulates broadcast network fare. There are also various watchdogs, non-profits and government agencies monitoring the news media, toys, and products. But what authority is reviewing or regulating apps?

Apparently Apple has its own guidelines and standards for which apps are to be sold from its app store, where some 450,000 apps are now available. Their standards differ from those of other app makers and distributors, such as Android-Google. Should there be a uniform regulation of apps or at least a consistent ratings system?

For instance, why does Apple bar apps containing flatulence? It is a normal body function, it is funny at times, and it is related to things like medical conditions. I am not advocating that we all use apps to listen to farts, but why should something like this be censored?

Apple also bars apps from showing people having sex, but it doesn’t stop ones that depict violence. Which one does society more harm?

It won’t have apps that promote kids to drink or smoke, which sounds responsible, but what about also banning apps that depict harmful activities such as eating junk food, watching boxing, or asserting religious doctrine that contradicts certain laws or principles?

Apps are like books and should be treated the same under the First Amendment. App makers can choose to create and sell the apps of their choice but the question remains: Do apps need a ratings and review system, and if so, who should be in charge of that? Are there parental controls in place to monitor or limit the content our youth are exposed to?

Maybe we can create an app to address those questions.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

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