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Microsoft's Seadragon graphics viewing application has come under fire for allegedly distributing pornography to unsuspecting iPhone users, presumably those unfamiliar with the way the internet works these days.

Seadragon is a powerful graphics viewer for the iPhone, distributed free by Microsoft Live Labs, and includes an array of example graphics including maps from the library of congress and the Orion Nebular. But it also connects to Microsoft's Photosynth service - which is where the problems lie, as this breathless posting on MacRumours explains:

"Porn in Microsoft's Seadragon! Yes I know, hard to believe but its true! Download Seadragon by microsoft then go to Browse Photosynth. Then the libraries named "home_two" and "home_s12" are full of it. This is ridiculous! Some one[sic] is getting fired for this one!"

Photosynth allows users to upload huge numbers of images of the same place/thing, which are then stitched together automatically to provide a new kind of viewing experience - the project comes from a startup Microsoft purchased in 2006 who have produced some very impressive demonstrations of their photo-stitching technology.

That technology is now an open service that allows anyone to upload anything - though content of an adult nature will be swiftly removed by Microsoft as there are no content filters or age restrictions in place, and that's what happened in this case.

But few of those posting to MacRumours seem to understand where their content is coming from, as one poster puts it: "This is a bit disturbing... If there were one picture misplaced somewhere in a sea of perfectly PG, then I could understand... But TWO FOLDERS?"

Microsoft acted swiftly to remove the content concerned, but the more anti-Microsoft iPhone users are still chanting "think of the children" and worrying about the beast of Redmond corrupting our youth. The rest of us are just being quietly impressed that Microsoft managed to turn out such a nice application for the iPhone. ®

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