Nerd Porn – Protection is everything

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Whether or not teens are having sexual *********** or not isn’t important. Abstinence campaigners and Condom rights’ groups can debate that issue in a separate corner stocked with cooked stats. I’d rather flesh sex out from another angle: pornography’s rising per-capita market. Porn is taking over planet earth in part, thanks to the net. Just as the video store did to the radio store, internet porn may kill adult video houses. It’s easier to access, quicker, and easier to keep on the down-low.

Porn is practically everywhere on the internet – a fact which is likely not to change despite education, worried parents, or feigned self-control. Thanks to the internet, it is simply easier than ever to ‘happen upon’ porn; this fact unfortunately comes with one often largely overlooked side-effect: the startlingly high risk of disease transmission.

2009, December 4 update: Apple, partnered with Sexapp Shop and Premier App Shop have created a safer way for porn users to view porn. The fully sanctioned app store is accessed from the web and is detailed in this TouchMyApps article: Sexapp Store – Nerd Porn on the Go!

Just like unprotected sex, internet porn can lead to unwanted and dangerous baggage. Many porn sites are rampant with elaborate phishing schemes, trojans, and other forms of malignant code (Bill Mullin’s Weblog). But, unlike a child getting caught with her/his hands all over their parents’ flesh-zine stash, the demographic of at-risk individuals is much more staggering: nearly everyone has access to internet porn.

Back in the day, VHS won out over the superior BETA max due to its lower cost, and among other reasons, the support of pornography houses. Today, internet sex venues, pornography houses, and dedicated porn sites make a killing from online business. Let me phrase it another way: in 2006, worldwide Pornography raked in 97.6 billion dollars, had 4.2 million dedicated websites, and when combined with offline content and providers, earned larger revenues than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink combined (TopTenReviews). All evidence point to the same trend continuing, and more than ever, internet pornography forging ahead.

However, internet pornography has already been established as risky. Your computer contains personal files, market habits – a digital duplicate of a person. Most systems are not set up to adequately protect their contents from the roving eyes of malignant software/scripts. This is where the iPhone becomes important.

Till now, many sites (TMA included), have lamented Apple’s approval process for a number of oddly lecherous applications. It is true, something needs to be done about the company’s ‘she loves me, she loves me not’ approval process, particularly when regarding pornography. However, the iPhone, a computing jail which runs apps within virtual sandboxes, is a rather safe venue for among other things, porn. I am not suggesting that everyone should use their iPhone for a little naughty peek and tug, but as internet pornography continues to rise in viewership and market dominance, so too will its other ill-tasting effects: virtual STD’s.

Whether pornography’s digital side-effects come from email, web sites, or downloads, the reason they hook victims is that sex not only sells, but it draws attention – a point on which Apple should ponder. Rather than fighting app developers who seek to make coin from a little hanky panky, Apple need to cooperate which what ultimately will be a lucrative draw for the App Store.

With better filters in place to sift out underage viewers, the iPhone could be a viable and safe porn outlet. Its secure sandbox file system is perfect to host dedicated apps which provide dynamic content. Of course, once porn is officially approved, the problem turns an app’s content. Apple would have to monitor the apps for illegal content such as child pornography. Though such an initiative would be time-consuming – particularly as porn apps could blossom left and right -, but necessary. The fact Apple need to face is that users want porn. Every app which has featured even the slightest bit of skin has been an instant hit, both in sales and in media flurry.

With the shrinking of the modern PC and preference by a growing number of people for ultra portable computers such as the iPhone, porn will continue to grow into such devices. It deserves a better plug that it gets now in an App Store which is one day lenient, the next day strict and forbidding. Properly harnessed, the iPhone could become the first true condom in the age of nerd-porn, a device which helps individuals engage in safe surfing, and ultimately, a stop-block for illegal content. It’s time for stodgy, conservative thinking to drop its pants and face the reality that mobile computing is coming of age.

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