Microsoft Patents Censoring Web Moderator Robots
2008-10-29 0:00

By Mark Harris | timesonline.co.uk


The problem with the internet, as we all know, is that it gives free rein to loonies. Once upon a time, green inkers would rant away on writing paper, seal their 30-page global conspiracy theory into a recycled envelope and post it to a newspaper, which would drop it harmlessly into a wastepaper basket. Now they infiltrate chat rooms, scrawl anonymous abuse in web discussions and even have their own video blogs.

Sometimes this is entertaining; sometimes it can be offensive. So Microsoft has just been awarded a patent for technology designed to automatically detect and remove “undesired words or phrases” from all manner of digital communications, ranging from YouTube broadcasts to internet chat and songs.

The patent describes a system that listens out for phonemes (word fragments) likely to be part of a swearword. If it thinks it hears a forbidden phrase, the software either fades out the offending syllables or simply replaces the rude word with a similar-sounding but clean alternative lifted from earlier speech without a second’s delay.

With Microsoft’s software put in place by parents, children could listen to the most explicit rap music and hear nothing stronger than “gosh darn mother flippers”. Theoretically, the software could monitor thousands of digital TV broadcasts, radio stations and web chats simultaneously.

That’s all to the good, as long as the targets are “trolls” (internet slang for people whose aim is to disrupt the web community). There’s a danger, though, that it could go too far. Who’s to say that an overzealous Microsoft employee might not accidentally on purpose blacklist the names of rivals such as Apple and Linux?

Worse, there are governments around the world that would probably go further still, suppressing dissent not with guns and clubs but by preventing people from even discussing concepts such as “protest” or “freedom”. And that, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a freaking scary idea.

Article from: http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/
news/tech_and_web/article5006025.ece


Ed Comment: What can you say?



Related Articles
Internet Censorship
U.N. to control use of Internet?
Globalists Seek To Sanitize Internet
Murdoch Outfoxed? - Rupert: "Internet means end for media barons"
Microsoft Vista and the Death of Internet Freedom


Latest News from our Front Page

'Whiteness is terror': Black professor says white people 'conditioned' to commit mass murder
2015-07-01 21:55
A former professor at the University of Memphis used her Twitter account – promoted at the time by the university’s website – to make the claim that the Charleston church gunman was not mentally ill, but just acting the way white people are “conditioned” to act. Assistant professor of sociology Zandria Robinson took to social media to try to make the ...
Norwegian, Danish ships rescue nearly 1,000 migrants
2015-07-01 21:38
Copenhagen Denmark (AP) — Ships from Norway and Denmark have picked up nearly 1,000 migrants from small boats off the coast of Libya in the past 24 hours. Svein Kvalavaag, the captain of the Norwegian Siem Pilot vessel, said on Monday he picked up 671 from two wooden boats north of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Late Monday night, it was asked ...
The Muslims are coming: Quick, hide the miniskirts
2015-07-01 21:12
What happens when two opposing cultures meet up, one based on permissive Western values and the other on repressive Islamic doctrine? If the latest news out of Germany is any indication, the latter wins. Earlier this month, 200 Syrian refugees arrived in Pocking, Bavaria, and the local school system set up an emergency shelter right next to the gym of Wilhelm-Diess-Gymnasium, Die ...
UK Police Tell Subjects Not to Harm Their Attackers, Get a Rape Alarm
2015-07-01 1:17
The latest dispatch from the United Kingdom’s ongoing campaign to eliminate all forms of armed self-defense seems too incredible to be true. Unfortunately, after tracking down the origin of a publicly distributed statement regarding self-defense products on the country’s “Ask the Police” website, we can confirm that British subjects continue to live at the mercy of their potential attackers.  Even ...
Activists Plan to Burn American Flags in New York City Ahead of Fourth of July
2015-07-01 1:52
Burning the flag in Charleston, South Carolina on June 22, 2015 A group calling for the immediate disarmament of the New York Police Department plans to burn American flags in a Brooklyn park on Wednesday, just days before the Fourth of July holiday. “Disarm NYPD” announced the “Burn the American Flags” event on Facebook, inviting individuals to join the organization at Fort ...
More News »