Feeds

Holy f**k, Microsoft covers up ‘undesired’ words

Patents new audio censoring software

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Microsoft has gained patent rights to a technology for censoring speech.

An automatic censoring filter, available in real-time mode or a batch mode, processes an input audio data stream containing speech and then alters “undesired words or phrases” to make them “unintelligible or inaudible”.

The software giant was awarded patent number 7,437,290 by the US Patent and Trademark Office last Tuesday (14 October).

Presumably the tech is intended to soothe the ears of sensitive souls who prefer a beep to a word such as ‘fuck’ slipping out during a live broadcast. Or in call centres, if a shirty employee goes off the rails and starts swearing at the customer, the software could censor anything deemed offensive or to not be toeing the company line.

This tech in fact moves on from the crude beep sloppily employed to mask what Microsoft repeatedly refers to as “undesired words” heard in live recordings.

Instead, the auto censoring filter uses a lattice comprising either phonemes and/or words derived from phonemes for comparison against corresponding phonemes or words included in undesired speech data.

“If the probability that a phoneme or word in the input audio data stream matches a corresponding phoneme or word in the undesired speech data is greater than a probability threshold, the input audio data stream is altered so that the undesired word or a phrase comprising a plurality of such words is unintelligible or inaudible,” said MS in the USPTO filing for the new patent.

It's not entirely clear where Microsoft's interest in this technology lies. But such a move could be looked upon favourably by the Chinese government, which consistently attempts to censor much of the web.

Indeed, in August 2007 the company, alongside Yahoo!, inked a web pact with the People's Republic government in which it agreed to record the identities of bloggers and censor content. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.