No, I will not sign your petition asking Apple and Google to remove something from their app store

There’s this article/petition that’s making the rounds of the Internet telling me that I’m apparently supposed to be OUTRAGED! that Apple and Google have some app from an ex-gay group in their app stores. The details don’t really matter, it’s the same as the go around a few years ago when people pitched a fit about Apple allowing an app from Exodus International into the app store. In any case, we’re supposed to be signing a petition demanding that Apple and Google remove this particular app since ex-gay ministries are bad news and how dare these tech companies let such an app into their stores.

Sorry, not outraged, not gonna sign.

One of the philosophical reasons why I don’t own closed ecosystem iDevices is because I think Apple exercises too much censorship and control over what you can put on your device already. Apple routinely censors for content, and since, short of jailbreaking, you can only get apps on your phone through the app store, that means that if Apple doesn’t like the content you can’t have it.

That’s far too much control over what you can do with your device. The only control that I think that Apple and Google should have over what goes in their app stores is checking whether the app contains malicious code or is breaking the law. Neither Apple or Google should be in the business of censoring for content. I don’t want some corporation deciding that particular content isn’t good for me and keeping me from putting it on my device. 

It doesn’t matter that ex-gay “therapy” doesn’t work, that it’s teaching people to hate themselves, and that it’s adding all kinds of extra baggage that they have to work through to accept themselves. That’s not a judgment that a tech company should make. The app stores should be nothing more than a convenient way for people to acquire apps for their devices, they should not be making value judgments even if it’s a value judgment that I happen to agree with.

So no, don’t ask me to sign any petitions asking Apple or Google to censor the content of their app stores. The only petition I’d sign is one asking them to keep their stores as a free flowing marketplace of ideas where the corporate powers aren’t deciding what I should or should not be putting on my phone and tablet. 

Corporate censorship is still censorship.