Microsoft blog service sparks censorship dodging

Microsoft blog service sparks censorship dodging

Summary: You can't register a blog with MSN Spaces if it contains words Microsoft considers rude. Or can you?

TOPICS: Networking
MSN Spaces, Microsoft's new blogging service, has sparked a new game -- trying to circumvent its censorship controls.

Boing Boing, a popular blog, reported on Friday morning that MSN Spaces is rejecting certain blog titles or URLs because they contain words that Microsoft has deemed inappropriate.

However, like so many censorship tools down the ages, Microsoft's is proving less than perfect.

BoingBoing found that all of the most obvious and emotive profanities -- think words beginning with "f" and "c" for starters -- fell foul of Microsoft's electronic sentries.

But the fun started when blogs with potentially tricky titles such as "tits for tats" and "butt sex is awesome" cleared Microsoft's censorship filters. It intensified when attempts such as "Pornography and The Law", or indeed any featuring the title of Vladimir Nabokov's most famous work, come a cropper.

Getting an amusingly named blog past the MSN Spaces controls may be fun, but it also illustrates the tensions between the traditionally free and open world of blogging, and the more corporate approach of a software giant like Microsoft.

"If you can't speak freely on a blog, what's the point of having one?" pointed out Boing Boing.

These tensions are also apparent in Microsoft's approach to blog content. Unlike rival services such as Blogger, MSN Spaces forces new users to grant Microsoft permission to "use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat" their blog postings.

Topic: Networking

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  • MSN Spaces may be designed for the Silver Ring Thing people.
  • well then they'll have to swear in Japanese then won't they, Brorox and Ship.

    its much more entertaining
  • There's 2 complaints here then? One that says they shouldnt censor Spaces and another that says they shouldnt allow the words that currently get through the censoring. Essentially, you're going to moan if they take the censorship off and you're going to moan if they make it harsher. And dont forget. it is a BETA. There are expected to be problems from a Beta no matter what company releases it.
  • Microsoft's "freedom to innovate" seems to mean to "use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat" the ideas of others.
  • If you think MS blogging is the first example of people trying to get round censorship then you haven't played everquest...I've seen characters with names such as Friza Balzoff etc...
  • You have to agree with the quote from BoingBoing though. What's the point in a blog if you can't say what you want on it?