When I first saw the iPhone 4 FaceTime demo, I knew it wouldn't take much time before rule 34 took effect. It was inevitable that Apple's video chat tech would be used by the sex industry as a new way to deliver live adult content to customers.
Despite Steve Jobs' best efforts to keep the iOS platform porn-free, the sex industry continues to find ways to work around the edges. While the iOS platform may be carefully guarded in terms of adult-oriented applications, there's little Apple can do to make sure your phone calls, chats, videos and Safari browsing stay clean. Truthfully, for iPhone users who are consenting adults, it's not really Apple's business.
Joel Schectman of the Associated Press reports that the 3 million+ device iPhone 4 ecosystem is already an attractive target for the porn industry. Porn companies are advertising for model positions specific to FaceTime in at least five different cities on Craigslist.
Meanwhile, adult production studios like Pink Visual -- not coincidentally one of the first adult production companies to create an iPad optimized service -- says it will let customers video chat with some of the same models in their videos. Pink Visual's service will be released in the next few weeks and will probably cost around $5 to $6 a minute.
One of the new twists to a FaceTime service is that it is inherently bidirectional; this means delivering more intimate sessions with customers interested in exhibitionism. According to Dan Hogue, the owner of the adult chat service CamWorld, "We are seeing more and more that customers want to be watched as much as they want to watch."
While this type of use isn't something Apple has any control over, I can't imagine that Steve Jobs is happy to see FaceTime being used for porn. Still, like sexting and browsing adult sites in Safari, it's ultimately in the hands of the users to decide what they will do with Apple's gateways to the open world of phone services and the internet.
What Apple has done is to help prevent children from being exposed to FaceTime porn by letting parents turn off the feature completely. As suggested by anti-porn crusader Donna Rice Hughes in the AP story, I think it might make more sense to let parents white-list specific contacts the kids can call for video chats. Hopefully we'll see more granular controls being built into iOS as FaceTime matures. Either way, parents need to stay up to date with the gadgets and technology they're giving to their kids -- and they shouldn't be used in an unsupervised fashion.
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