Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

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marilyn peake
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Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by marilyn peake » April 7th, 2010, 1:31 am

Just discovered this online, and wondered what Nathan and Forum members thought about instances of censorship on the iPad and iPhone:

1.) The word "sperm" in "sperm whale" has been censored in MOBY DICK on the iPad:
http://www.boingboing.net/2010/04/04/ib ... g+Boing%29

2.) Apple blocks an app for the iPhone that warns users how much radiation they're exposing themselves to while on their phone: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/0 ... 25426.html
Here’s the entire article about it:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/a ... evels.html
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Mira » April 7th, 2010, 3:23 pm

This is wrong! The last one is pretty scary. I would have thought better of Apple.

We are in a very weird phase of history. Centuries later, I bet historians will look back and talk about our time and the domination of the Corporation.

The sperm in sperm whale.....well, that's hilarious. It's also ridiculous and scary as well.

I suppose regular publishers censor stuff like this all the time, but it's pre-publication, so we don't hear about it.....? But I also think the marriage of books with a mega-corporation brings up some interesting issues - the saving grace is with the internet, we hear about stuff like this!

Sperm in Sperm whale???? Lol. Maybe it's me, but that's just taking things to extreme.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by marilyn peake » April 7th, 2010, 3:26 pm

I absolutely agree, Mira. We've entered a weird phase of censorship - one in which large corporations are beginning to control more and more information. Having billions of dollars at your disposal would certainly allow you to accomplish this. Cory Doctorow is tweeting on Twitter against Apple's DRM policy today. I also talked with a computer banned word about Apple and censorship. Apparently, the iPad works in such a way that Apple can actually delete unapproved material that you download onto your iPad, even material that isn't purchased from Apple, and they keep track of everything you download onto your iPad. I've decided not to buy one. When I buy classic public domain books on Kindle, I actually pay for a copy from a major publisher, rather than download a free copy published by some unknown source and offered by Amazon for the Kindle, because I want a copy as close to the original as possible. I definitely don't want censored sections removed from the books I read. Good Lord, think how many classics could have huge sections missing after censorship.
Last edited by marilyn peake on April 8th, 2010, 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Mira » April 8th, 2010, 10:59 am

Marilyn,

I know. With new technology comes new ethical challenges.

It will be interesting to see where this goes - I imagine, eventually, this type of censorship, if it continues, will get to the courts and be battled out there.

It's really scary, the possiblities, but it's all so new, I guess I'm interested in watching it and seeing what they do. It's alot of pressure bringing new technology to the world - let's see what they do with it....

Right now, I'm just very upset that I wasn't in the meeting where they decided to delete the word 'sperm' from 'sperm whale.' I can't even imagine how much fun it would have been to watch that particular discussion. I can only hope they invite me next time - with the next word. :)

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by marilyn peake » April 8th, 2010, 1:58 pm

Mira,

I agree - there are endless challenges right now with the new technology. When I talked with the computer banned word about Apple's censorship, they said that most likely programmers arranged to have certain words automatically deleted from iPad books, so "sperm" would automatically be deleted from every book every time it appeared. I heard from my publisher today that all our books are going to be distributed for the iPad through Apple's iBookstore. At least my middle grade books should make it through without censorship. :)
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Mira » April 8th, 2010, 3:05 pm

Marilyn, you called Apple and asked them? That's so cool. :)

Well, I'm sincerely disappointed that the explanation is so innocous. I really wanted a committee that was designated to go through books with a fine tooth comb, and when they found the 'sperm' in sperm whale - well, my goodness. Emergency meeting. Hold all calls, no interruptions. Locked and closed doors for three days for THAT one.

Sorry. :) This particular censorship strikes me as really funny, even though I know it's very serious underneath.

In terms of their policy - sperm seems like such an innocent word. Why ban it? It's almost medical.

My guess is that they are nervous. Or someone is nervous. Or it's a product of a certain type of group think, that over-exagerrates certain problems. Hopefully, they'll get enough flack that they'll take a second look.

Because there are so many words. I'd list them, but I'm not sure Nathan would appreciate that. But extremely innocent words with pieces and parts that can have implications......we'll be down to ......(lol. I keep listing examples, but....probably best to be safe. :)

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by marilyn peake » April 8th, 2010, 4:40 pm

Mira,

I didn’t actually call Apple. I talked to a computer banned word who doesn’t work for Apple but knows how the latest e-reader gadgets and DRM work. Cory Doctorow has also supplied some rather amazing information on Twitter and in a blog post on boingboing about the iPad. He sounds absolutely apoplectic about the iPad. If Cory Doctorow’s correct, Apple built DRM directly into the iPad, so that it’s actually illegal for a customer to tamper with their own iPad or to even replace the batteries in their own iPad. Also, Apple apparently monitors everything that a customer loads onto their iPad and they can remove anything they choose to censor – e.g. if a customer downloads their friend’s unpublished manuscript onto their iPad and Apple does a sweep to remove all bad words, parts of your friend’s manuscript might suddenly disappear. What a pain. I can’t imagine reading a manuscript and having to guess which parts were removed or what ** stands for.
Last edited by marilyn peake on April 8th, 2010, 6:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Nick » April 8th, 2010, 4:58 pm

As tempted as I am to laugh at the thought of them censoring the word sperm, no. Just no. The blocking of the radiation app I most certainly do not agree with, but it's Apple's device, and thusly they should have the final say in what products do or do not make it onto it. But censorship just about anything else...I don't care how humorous the result, as someone who has stood by Anon on many occasions, that kind of thing just really pisses me off.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Mira » April 9th, 2010, 12:45 pm

Nick - I know, I know. You're right of course. I shouldn't laugh at it, because censoring a classic is just horrifying. But I can't help it. It's so silly.

I can't think of it without laughing. I'm laughing as I type. It's terrible.

Marilyn - I agree - this is scary. I think the only reason I'm not more riled up is I expect this from Corporations. Safeway tracks everything I eat. I have mysterious icons on my I-phone and my computer that I didn't put there and can't get rid of. They track my T.V. watching habits, I recently heard they track your DVR - is that true? - and I'm pretty sure that they're reading this post right now.

No, it's not funny, but I feel very heartened by the recent credit card reform bill. I think it's a matter of time before privacy and electronic control come to the attention of the public, but it's just too early.

On the other hand, I'm very grateful that you and other people bring this issue to people's attention! The implications are very, very scary! So, please don't misunderstand my calm about this issue - I take it very seriously, and I'm glad you wrote this post.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by marilyn peake » April 10th, 2010, 2:20 pm

Yeah, the removal of "sperm" from the term "sperm whale" is kind of funny, in and of itself. My husband and I were joking around, saying, maybe Moby Dick is a "spam whale" .... or "spaam whale", since Apple supplied a * for every letter they deleted. Chuckle. On the serious side, it's not great for a democracy to have reading material severely censored and removed from books. I think it's a good thing that lots of people are being vocal about this right now, while digital information is in its infancy.
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Simpatico » April 10th, 2010, 11:48 pm

Has anyone actually verified this and seen if the text is actually censored or if it's just the 'fit for public consumption' description the article shows.

And what would that mean for those who read and/or write erotica?

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Holly » April 11th, 2010, 9:53 pm

Simpatico wrote:Has anyone actually verified this and seen if the text is actually censored or if it's just the 'fit for public consumption' description the article shows.

And what would that mean for those who read and/or write erotica?
Plus what about medical books? And books where couples want a baby and look at sperm counts? Scary and interesting stuff. Thanks for posting this, Marilyn.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Greg B » April 12th, 2010, 2:51 pm

Did anyone - including the OP - read the article? Apple isn't censoring MOBY DICK. The iBooks nanny filter is blocking "sperm" in the store's description of the book. Stupid, maybe, but not exactly Orwellian.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by marilyn peake » April 12th, 2010, 4:45 pm

Greg,

The MOBY DICK description is only one small example of iPad censorship. Articles about Apple's censorship of material for the iPad and iPhone are all over the Internet. Many apps were suddenly removed from their store, even apps with many customers. Apple actually had "objectionable" words removed from a Ninja dictionary: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10303794-37.html . And Apple has censored iPhone apps for the Dalai Lama, as part of their deal with China: http://www.tuaw.com/2009/12/31/dalai-la ... -app-store and http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/kit-eat ... phone-apps .
Marilyn Peake

Novels: THE FISHERMAN’S SON TRILOGY and GODS IN THE MACHINE. Numerous short stories. Contributor to BOOK: THE SEQUEL. Editor of several additional books. Awards include Silver Award, 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

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Re: Censorship on the iPad and iPhone

Post by Mira » April 13th, 2010, 10:29 am

Marilyn,

I thought about this, and I want to say I think you're right about protesting early and bringing this to people's attention.

Right on! :)

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