Feeds

Microsoft bans Scroogle

Bah! Humbuggle!

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Updated Microsoft's MSN Messenger service doesn't want you talking dirty - and its definition of dirty talk is quite peculiar.

If you send an instant message containing the word "scroogle.org" via the Microsoft service, the message never arrives. The sender doesn't know it was discarded, and the recipient has no indication that it was ever sent, as the original message remains in the chat window and history.

Scroogle.org is Daniel Brandt's Google scraping proxy. Scroogle scrapes Google's website to return its search results without ads - bypassing the Google cookie, and protecting the user's privacy, because Google is unable to match the searches to any other information- such as your IP address or your GMail account. Scroogle putters along, makes around 50,000 scrapes per day, without being sued. As Google has failed to challenge the legality of the service, it's an odd choice of domain for Microsoft to ban.

Or perhaps Microsoft thinks it's protecting us from filth - the company has made strange and arbitrary decisions before.

In 2002, it prevented Reg reader James Woodcock from signing up for its Passport authentication system, telling him that "Your lastname contains a word that has been reserved or is prohibited for .NET Passport registration." His alternative choice, "Harold Wanker", was happily accepted, while another reader, Dr. Mark Stitson found his name was failed the filth test. Internet filters have a less than noble history when it comes to blocking innocent sites, as the Horniman Museum discovered a couple of years ago.

So perhaps "scroogle" refers to some bizarre sexual practice, or, in some arcane vernacular, is a term for the human genitalia. But if that's true, it hasn't shown up in Roger's Profanisaurus [probably NSFW], which we regard as the definitive resource in these matters.

We contacted Microsoft for an explanation on Friday, but they haven't returned our call. Brandt hadn't heard of the block, but he also declined to comment.

Have readers discovered any apparently innocuous trigger words? Let us know. ®

UpdateThanks to the Gaim project's Stu Tomlinson for explaining the cause of the mystery:

If you try to send a message containing any of the words' ".pif", ".scr", "download.php" or "gallery.php" the message will be silently discarded. The official client from Microsoft will provide no indication to either the sender or recipient that the message didn't go through.

So "Scroogle.org" goes through fine. Gaim detects this and tells you the message wasn't delivered. Can't Microsoft tell if a .scr is a .scr or not?

"Pah. What a pants regex!" says Alain Moran, summing it up nicely. Chalk another triumph up to genius censorware...

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.