Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Android keyboard banned words reveals how censorship (doesn't) work

The tricky part about censorship is that, no matter how good your intentions may be... it simply doesn't add up. Google has tried its best to stop your Android keyboard from suggesting and typing "unsuitable" words, and to that effect it comes with a long list of banned words... but the sad truth is that is just doesn't make and sense at all.

For instance, anything remotely sexually related seems to be a big no-no, even if it's something as clinical sounding as uterus. Not to mention "sex" itself, that is treated like a "bad word" - as if it weren't a perfectly natural thing/word. We also see how censorship quickly becomes a mess, as you get banned words like "morphine" but not "marijuana"; "AMD" and "Garmin" aren't allowed, although "Apple" and "Microsoft"; "supremacist" is also banned, but "Nazi" is ok; and so on, and so on...

The only good thing about it is that you can can dig into your input and keyboard settings in your Android device and disable the blocking of these "offensive" that even Google seems to be having a hard time explaining why/how are chosen.

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