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Feb 14, 2013

Kosher Smartphones with some Internet access

Can a smartphone be "kosher"? Can a "kosher phone" include Internet access? Until now the answer has been no, but that soon may change.

According to Bechadrei, the Rabbinic Committee for Communications has been working to release a smartphone that will allow access to GPS, email and access to certain necessary services such as banking sites, government sites and others. It still will not allow usage of SMS.

For most people who need it, Internet access has been allowed, at least in the framework of business needs in an office, conditional upon using appropriate filters and an ISP that does its own filtering. No solution has yet been provided for mobile access, which has become, and is continually becoming more and more an integral part of our business and personal worlds.

The new smartphone soon to be released will not allow general Internet access. No recreational use will be approved for the phone. The smartphone is being designed and manufactured by Orange, and it will provide the ability to keep up with technology and the needs of business, while not compromising values.. The phone is being tested by Netiv and technicians, and they are working out what needs to be on the phone, and what features must be removed from the phone. There is competition between Orange and Netiv as to who will get the rights to market and distribute the new phone.

Furthermore, Bechadrei further reports, models of the new smartphone were brought to Rav Chaim Kanievsky for him to see, and to get his thoughts. Rav Chaim said about the idea that the job of the committee is to find smart solutions, so the whole thing won't become a situation of a decree the public can't uphold. "What is allowed - there is no reason to prohibit." When they find a way of providing the things that are allowed, people stop needing the prohibited devices and inappropriate content.

Little by little...

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  1. There are already kosher phones with GPS - I had a Mirs model years ago which had it.

  2. Funny how history always repeats itself. Immediately after the invention of the printing press, the Rabbis of the time banned printed books, because the printing presses were controlled by the Church, and having printed books might bring people into contact with avoda zara C"V. This loosening of the rules represents the beginning of the inevitable total acceptance of smartphones, because it's as impossible to enforce this ban forever, as it was with the printing press in its time.

  3. I don't get it - what is the issue with SMS service? If e-mail is OK, why not text messaging?


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