Google Removes Nazi and Hitler Theme From the Android Market

Discussion in 'Android Applications' started by Shadez, Aug 13, 2010.

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  1. Shadez

    Shadez Super Mod/News Team Staff Member Premium Member

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    It’s no secret, now, that from time to time, Google will remove an application from the Android market (mainly only if it violates the terms to which the developer agreed before he set up his market account or if they find the app is malicious or dangerous). An analyst taking a break through his busy number-crunching day went for a stroll in the Android market one day and – to his disgust – found Hitler themes when he searched the word “Jewish”.

    [​IMG]

    According to the analyst – Michael Gartenberg of Altimeter Group – Google contacted him after he publicly thrashed about the app and agreed that it was “upsetting and violates TOS.” The violation? Obscenity, but I can’t judge that having never installed or used the themes for myself. Obscenity is very subjective, and while I’m sure a majority of folks in this world aren’t exactly gunning to become president of Hitler’s fan club, can you really consider images of the man and the logo he once donned “obscene”? We see it everywhere now, and it just so happens to be in the Android market, as well.

    This particular case has an interesting twist, though, where searching the word “Jewish” could lead an unsuspecting Jewish user to the hurtful logo that’s been cursed by their ancestors for decades. Could it invoke psychological distress? Absolutely. But if we consider the definition of the word “obscene”, does the app really convey obscenity in such a way that Google would see fit to remove it without hesitation? Perhaps a slap on the wrist until the developer removes instances of the word “Jewish” from its description would suffice as that’s what’s bringing the app up in search terms in the first place.

    If there were hateful words or images in tow, then yes: I’d agree with Google in a heartbeat. But then again, I haven’t seen these themes myself, so only those who had the displeasure of installing it (not many, according to recent market data) – and Google – can truly judge this instance. I’m not pro-Nazi, as much as my commentary might make me out to seem (and I like Google’s judgment, if we’re considering only this case), but I’d just like a bit more consistency in the Android market when it comes to these sorts of things (there are certain other “flags” and content in the market that I’m sure a few other groups don’t take kindly to). Fair is only fair until the top of the food chain doesn’t agree with you, in case any other developer still needs a clear warning.

    If there’s one thing anyone can’t deny about the “walled garden” Apple polices, it’s that they at least make it clear what you can and can’t do and will take action before the first user calls foul. At the end of the day, I’m just wishing Google would stop trying to emulate a completely hands-off approach when it’s clear that a higher degree of regulation and consistency to enforce those regulations are needed (and desired, depending on who you are).


    [via PCMag]
    Phandroid.Com
     
  2. aminaked

    aminaked Silver Member

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    Good commentary!

    I wonder what else they would remove...a picture of Osama bin Laden? Muhammad? 9/11 images? The job of a totalitarian overlord, censoring, is not easy. (Although the droidforums moderators make it look easy. Just kiddin'!)
     
  3. BuglessFan

    BuglessFan Member

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    Honestly, my own take is I wish they left things that offend me like that up and on the market.

    AND

    I wish they made it easy for a developer to put out a market filter app.

    I'd rather let knuckleheads have whatever porn/hate/what-have-you with complete freedom. I also think people that don't want to see it shouldn't have to, but it should be on each of us to install/enforce our own filtering.

    I have no problem with removing defective/malicious/illegal apps, but I think the lack of the "walled Garden" of Disney is one of the major advantages of Android over Apple (among MANY other things). I also understand those who want some form of protection. I just think that protection should be via something you explicitly subscribe to or choose on your own. You decide which dev/app/org's sensibilities you trust to filter your apps, you don't have it chosen for you by the platform.
     
  4. Backnblack

    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    Hitler and the Nazi ideals need to be erased from the face of the earth, By far the most vile man to ever walk the earth.
     
  5. aminaked

    aminaked Silver Member

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    OK, but where do you draw the line when censoring? What else will be judged unfit? And maybe censoring just fuels the fire...people get angry when they're censored.
     
  6. Larry Mahnken

    Larry Mahnken Member

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    This isn't about censoring religion or sexuality or whatever else you consider "controversial". It's not even the Confederate flag, which has a symbolism apart from racism, though it certainly is intertwined with a great deal of it.

    Nazism is an ethos that is wholly centered on the elimination (by murder) of other races. There are *no* redeeming characteristics. You cannot be a Nazi without promoting racism and murder.

    If you're going to censor something, it's not hard to censor Nazism without creating a slippery-slope.
     
  7. aminaked

    aminaked Silver Member

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    OK, so what about Osama bin Laden, Pol Pot, Stalin, Charles Manson, Mussolini. Let's have a censoring party! Anyone else you don't like? Hitler was "censoring" the Jews.
     
  8. jev

    jev Member

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    That's a good start. You forgot Chairman Mao. IBTL
     
  9. aminaked

    aminaked Silver Member

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    Heh heh, OK, but don't you see the irony in trying to censor things like this? When you lose freedom, you're starting to act like the thing you're censoring.

    Besides, the "Streisand effect" states that if you try to cover something up, it will just get more exposure than it would have had you let it be.
     
  10. Shadez

    Shadez Super Mod/News Team Staff Member Premium Member

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    Well.. it is a touchy subject, if you wanted to get technical about it, someone could always claim:

    The Original Meaning

    The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix.

    Until the Nazis used this symbol, the swastika was used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck.

    Even in the early twentieth century, the swastika was still a symbol with positive connotations. For instance, the swastika was a common decoration that often adorned cigarette cases, postcards, coins, and buildings. During World War I, the swastika could even be found on the shoulder patches of the American 45th Division and on the Finnish air force until after World War II.


    History of the Swastika
     
  11. jev

    jev Member

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    All too true. Well said.
     
  12. Larry Mahnken

    Larry Mahnken Member

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    No, Hitler was MURDERING the Jews. I don't see why a private business shouldn't be allowed to remove apps that glorify him from their market.
     
  13. mrdroid

    mrdroid Member

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    3 things that article has wrong.

    1. Hitler and that symbol are indeed obscene. They have turned into a symbol of genocide, period.

    2. Apple does NOT clearly state what can and cannot be put on the market. Every day hundreds of apps are denied and pulled from Apple's market due to political and company held views and nothing else.

    3. Article states "If there were hateful words or images in tow, then yes: I’d agree with Google in a heartbeat." The article clearly states the theme was found with keyword "Jewish". That is enough evidence that the theme is indeed hateful.
     
  14. aminaked

    aminaked Silver Member

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    I think the other guys I listed were also murderers. Stalin beats Hitler any day, doesn't he? Anyway, I'm not saying that a private business shouldn't be allowed to remove apps. I would have removed this app if I were in charge. I'm just saying that when you start censoring things, it's hard to rationalize NOT censoring more...slippery slope.

    So, what else would you censor?
    gangsta rap
    hezbollah(sp?)
    anti-abortion
    pro-abortion
    racial humor
    porn
    girls in bikinis
    images of muhammad
    women not wearing burkas in public
    global warming skeptics
    critics
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  15. ShowTime

    ShowTime Member

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    Was just about to type nearly exactly ^ that. They didn't invent the swastika. Also, not that I in any way support the ideology or what they did, but the Nazi party is in no way the only group in history to believe in/promote racial/religious/ethnic purity and oppression/genocide. Ever heard of The Crusades?
    My point is not meant to be in support or opposition of anything really, other than it is a tough call/slippery slope in policing the market. I have said before and will say again that I think there needs to be user controlled filters in place. Then, those that want access to such items can have them while others can avoid them entirely.

    Edit: meant to reference Shadez's post. But I agree with aminaked's last one as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
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