vrijdag 8 november 2013
Kosher smartphones answer to a higher authority
Leaders of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community have given their blessings to several kosher smartphone models. That reverses their earlier stance that such technology was a "new form of evil" -- which led one prominent rabbi to smash a handset in public, according to the Jewish Daily Forward.
The religiously conservative Jews, also called Haredi, objected to smartphones because they allow users free access to the Internet and the wider secular culture, including pornography. To address these fears, companies serving the community, such as Ramit Levy Communications, are "dumbing down" the devices by restricting a user's ability to surf the Net.
Ramit Levy does give users access to some 600 apps that its religious advisers have approved in areas such as banking and satellite navigation, according to the paper.
Ironically, the phone Ramit Levy is modifying is the LG Nexus 4, dubbed the Google (GOOG -1.45%) Phone because the search engine giant developed it to show off the very technology that caused the Haredi no end of worries.
However, users have to be chosen to buy the phones, and getting chosen isn't easy. Students at religious schools, for one, are rejected because they should be focusing on their studies.
"To apply for one, you have to complete a form outlining your reasons for needing a smart phone, and secure the approval of your rabbi, whose name and phone number must be written down so that the company’s supervising rabbis can decide whether they think that you can be trusted to use it responsibly," the Forward says. "They accept work-related reasons, but not requests for recreational -- or what they deem frivolous -- use."
Ramit Levy's rival in the market is Nativ, which sells a phone that is even more "kosher" because it's stripped of its ability to send and receive calls in order to limit their use to work hours. Even isolated communities have to make peace with the modern world.
In 2011 al: Israëlisch bedrijf introduceert kosjer smartphone