What Exactly Was Apple Thinking with its ‘Jew’ App?
Posted by Dave Thomas on September 16, 2011 in Business Management, Business News, Business Technology, Marketing [ 1 Comment ]
When it comes to technology giant Apple, they may have missed a recent memo about how not to confuse and potentially offend people.
News broke recently that the company has removed a mobile app known as “Jew or Not Jew?” from its online App Store in France.
According to reports, the app allowed users to consult a database of celebrities and public figures to find out if they are Jewish or not. The removal of the app came following a complaint from a French anti-racism group that claimed it would otherwise sue the iPhone and iPadmaker. My first response was ‘Duh’, you think?
French Laws Dictate No Personal Profiling
The app, “Juif ou pas Juif?” in French, reportedly violated France’s strict laws prohibiting the compiling of people’s personal details minus their consent.
According to Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, the app did violate local law, so it was shelved in the French App Store. It is still available outside France, however, and currently markets for $1.99 through Apple’s U.S. App Store.
As the French penal code states, stocking personal information including race, sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is punishable by five-year prison sentences and fines of up to euro300,000 ($411,870).
In an interview, published recently in Le Parisien newspaper, app developer Johann Levy stated he developed the app to be “recreational.”
“I’m not a spokesman for all Jews, but as a Jew myself I know that in our community we often ask whether a such-and-such celebrity is Jewish or not,” Levy, a 35-year-old Franco-British engineer of Jewish origin, was quoted as saying. “For me, there’s nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not,” he said. “On the contrary, it’s about being proud.”
Apple has removed a number of apps from the App Store since it launched three years ago due to violating myriad restrictions it imposes on developers. In June, it turned against an app known as “ThirdIntifada” following complaints that it glorified violence against Israel. Apple claimed it violated developer guidelines by being offensive to a large percentage of the population.
While this is not the greatest gaffe I’ve ever seen or heard of in my life (I’m not saying it was right by any means), you would think the brains at Apple would be better tuned into the overly politically correct society we live in these days.
Photo credits: J Soft via iTunes and state.gov