Feeds

Net censorship row is right cock-up

Polical correctness plumbs depth of barminess

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A Los Angeles attorney has been blocked from joining the New York-based BlackPlanet.com online service - because her name doesn't fit.

Sherril Babcock was barred from joining the African-American community site because her last name was deemed "unacceptable".

According to the cyberrights group, Digital Freedom Network (DFN), BlackPlanet.com uses a software filter to censor words deemed to be offensive.

It claims "cock" triggered the political correctness shutters and barred Ms Babcock's application.

As Ms Babcock explained: "Babcock was my father's name as well, and I am very fond of him."

Although BlackPlanet.com's Moderator for Member Services, Crystal Martin apologised twice for the inconvenience, she told Ms Babcock: "Unfortunately, the letters that form the word 'Cock' is [sic] acceptable and will not be recognised by our system."

And BlackPlanet.com is refusing to override the system manually and bypass the dotty process. In fact, it is defending its use of the censorware.

The episode has had Alan Brown, Internet development director for DFN, in stitches.

"Censorware is a non-solution for a non-problem," he said without referring once to Scunthorpe Town FC, when the bumptious team wore dicky bows and mishit the ball in a fixture against Arsenal.

"It doesn't block what it intends to, most of which doesn't hurt anyone, and it blocks far too much of what it shouldn't.

"It's a failure and it's scary that some want public libraries to adopt this junk," he said.

Still, at least this episode helped Brown take a trip down memory lane. It reminded him of the time when AOL banned the word "breast" in its chat rooms. The decision was only overturned when members of a breast cancer survivor's group complained that the ban left them with very little to talk about.

Ah, happy days. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.