Censored

Recent actions lead me to believe I may only be about 12yrs old. The way my body aches when I get out of bed in the morning usually confirms I’m considerably older, but I present to you, Dear Reader, my evidence: I recently downloaded an app for my smartphone which converts speech to text and as I used it as a dictaphone for notes for a blog post, I noticed it was censoring some of my words. Specifically when I said fuck, it typed ####. So like any good 12yr old boy, I tried Cunt, with the same result. I then tested the app with a stream of rude words, with the following results:

Censored : Cunt, cock, fuck, pussy, shag, cum shot, muff diving, blowjob, shit, tits, whore

Uncensored : Dick, twats (I couldn’t get it to type the singular), fanny, hard on, minge, ass, clitoris, porn, dildo, wank, jerk off, pissing, rimming, throbbing gristle, bollocks, vagina, fisting

Technology is a wonderful thing, and in particular, the Internet has had a profound and (to my mind) positive influence on the way society works. Unless you subscribe to a political philosophy such as Anarchy, you need rules. (And for the record, I mean proper Anarchy as a rational, logical and reasoned social model, not just living in a squat, wearing a black hoodie and mask and then throwing a brick through a bankers window because you blame them for societies endemic greed. But I digress …) And if you have rules, they are meaningless if they are not policed in some way. There are strong arguments for the Internet to be policed to some degree. But who should do the policing is a very difficult issue to address.

Recently in the UK’s halls of politics, there has been talk about obliging ISPs to block adult content by default – if you want to access sex, violence etc then you should have to request an elevated level of web access. I object to this on several levels: it leans towards an Orwelian society, doubtless what should and shouldn’t be accessible will be influenced by prudish zealots who’s value systems are both skewed and anything but universal, and not least, I don’t really want to alert my Wife to the fact I look at porn online (or at least not untill She has given me Her unsolicited consent and Hell has frozen over.) The motive behind the proposition is to protect children, and that is indeed a thoroughly laudable aim, but a related article I read raised a very valid point about such matters: the best way to protect children from Internet porn wa to not give them a computer in their own rooms: the family computer should be in a family room. As responsible adults, we should take responsibility for such things and not defer to a faceless organisations to determine what we may or may not be exposed to.

I’m all for Google providing Strict / Moderate / No Filtering options for searches, but should software decide what I can and cannot view of say?

As I use my smartphone increasingly for internet access (and especially porn access – it’s so much easier to look at porn on public transport when it’s only a small screen), I have noticed several example of technologically enforced censorship.

  • The predictive text feature resolutely refuses to absorb the word cunt no matter how many times I type it.
  • The web browser pretends the word cunt doesn’t exist.
  • The Google Shopping App will not return results for adult toys nearly as readily as Google’s standard search engine will via Firefox on my laptop.

There are other examples too, and they all got me thinking. Who decides what I can and cannot access? Why should anyone be able to hamsttring my vocabulary? Who thinks they have the moral duty to legislate what I can masturbate over. And why is it conceivable that the bar should be set low.

7 Responses to “Censored”

  1. deviantdiaries Says:

    Great post! I did the same thing you did when I got my smart phone and discovered the censorship feature. So apparently there is a 12 year old boy living inside me as well….

  2. I love to cuss in general, censorship aside, and I often feel hobbled by society’s standards. The US standards are ridiculous.

  3. It’s only very recently my kids have had a computer in their room (and I’m talking about the older two)… and only because their school required them to have an individual computer to take to school and use in class.
    So before then, there only was a family computer in the family room.
    This said, as my eldest was around 8 or 9, he had research to do, and I was busy with his sisters, and left him to his work. Ok, probably not my best parenting action, but hey, you learn from your mistakes!
    Well, suffice it to say that over the next few days, I could sense that something was wrong. And then after about 3 or 4 days, he opened up to me and said that he’d done something wrong. As he was doing his research, he’d come across a porn site, and though he’d seen the warnings, he’d still gone ahead and clicked, and had been exposed to images that obviously (considering the way he’d been acting for the time since) he didn’t know how to process yet.

    So yes, I’ll admit to bad parenting (though that was not the purpose of my comment to start with, and I’ll come back to it later), but at least am glad that my son felt confident enough in his relationship with me to talk to me about it (if you’ve read my one and only post (for now), you know what I mean).

    Coming back to the point I wanted to make. The fact that the computer is in the family room doesn’t prevent kids from accessing porn sites. It’s the fact the parents are nearby that might help. So the most important thing in my opinion, is that we should keep the channels of communication open.

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