Frédéric Filloux in The Washington Post worries that the iPad could be used to censor bad news (at least, in France).
Imagine this scenario in a coming iPad era. An iPad newsmagazine publishes an investigative piece that triggers a legal injunction: Remove that from the publication or face a $10,000 penalty per day. No, says the publisher, who has guts and money (proof that this is a fiction): We want to fight in court. The plaintiff then turns to Apple. Same threat: Face a huge fine or remove the offending content. Furthermore, says the plaintiff’s attorney, thanks to the permanent and unique electronic link to your proprietary devices and the fact that the electronic kiosk now resides on the device, you must extend the deletion to each user’s tablet. Just as you keep pushing updates and various content bits to these gizmos, you can push a delete instruction code.
Far fetched? Maybe not.
With the iPad structure, Apple is creating absolute control for product, delivery and even ownership that can be revoked at will. Apple allows or rejects the application (the container); it can remove all or part of any content from its servers; and it can even remotely delete the stuff you purchased. Imagine: You go to a bookstore and spend $25 on a book that a court later finds illicit; a bookstore employee then goes to your place, takes the book from the shelf and leaves some money on your kitchen table. Wouldn’t you be slightly uncomfortable with this?