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Apple approves prostitution-friendly app

Sugar Sugar

After June 1, it'll be possible to hire a prostitute using an iPhone app.

According to ZDNet, dating service Sugar Sugar has managed to get Apple to grant its app a spot in the App Store. The curious thing about this news is that Sugar Sugar is not an ordinary dating service. Instead of putting together people who are simply seeking traditional relationships, it links up sugar daddies — wealthy men who are willing to shower young women with money, gifts, and other compensation in exchange for companionship — and their so-called sugar babies.

In more blunt terms: The service helps prostitutes and their clients connect.

We've certainly heard about such services in the past — WhatsYourPrice.com, Craigslist's darker corners, and an assortment of shady "dating" websites come to mind — but Sugar Sugar's app is headed to Apple's App Store, a place known for its strict guidelines and approval process:

The SugarSugar Dating App will be available for download on June 1st through SugarSugar.com and iTunes, and will be compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry devices. The app will use GPS technology to instantly identify those seeking ‘mutually beneficial’ arrangements within the user’s vicinity. After ‘checking in, the application will map out the profiles of nearby members. Users will be able to trade stats, show photos or send messages to arrange an effortless rendezvous.

We don't really know how on earth the app slipped through the App Store approval process. After all, there are several Apple "guidelines" which should've prevented it from getting a seal of approval. Among them:

 16.1 Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected

[...]

18.1 Apps containing pornographic material, defined by Webster's Dictionary as "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings", will be rejected

18.2 Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (ex "Chat Roulette" apps) will be rejected

[...]

22.1 Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer's obligation to understand and conform to all local laws

22.3 Apps that solicit, promote, or encourage criminal or clearly reckless behavior will be rejected

Given that there are three guidelines which the Sugar Sugar app nearly violates, one which it might violate in some locales, and one which it most certainly violates by promoting prostitution — behavior which qualifies as criminal in many places — we'd assume that Apple would flat out reject it right away. But here we are — a few weeks away from the app's debut.

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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's obsessed with Twitter and loves to be liked on Facebook.