Android porn fears lead to ratings U-turn

The Android Market is telling developers to give all new or updated applications a rating or they'll be lumbered with a 'mature' label.

Google has always had a policy which is supposed to see all submissions tagged with one of four ratings: All, Pre-teen, Teen, or Mature, but it seems that some developers have been attempting to slip in the smut by leaving the rating blank.

In a couple of weeks' time, any new submission or updated app without a rating will automatically get a mature rating, which will no doubt boost sales no end.

Google has opted for a community policing approach to censorship which means that developers can post anything they like, and it will remain available to the general public until someone pipes up and complains.

App Store pioneer Apple prefers a model whereby nothing gets published unless a committee of lawyers has pored over the content and code for a couple of months.

Google's past policy has been roundly criticised because it has become the path of least resistance for porn merchants and bottom-feeding Nazis. Apple's has been criticised because only Steve Jobs get to look at the smut.