Apple blocks emails containing phrase 'barely legal teen' from iCloud in new 'anti-pornography' move

Critics say screening of emails another step on the ladder towards 'Apple control'

Apple is deleting all emails on its iCloud service that contain the phrase 'barely legal teen,' according to an investigation by a computing magazine.

Macworld completed a test on the service, where they attempted to send two almost identical emails:

1) 'My friend's son is already allowed to drive his high-powered car. It's ridiculous. He's a barely legal teenage driver? What on earth is John thinking'

2) ) 'My friend's son is already allowed to drive his high-powered car. It's ridiculous. He's barely a legal teenage driver? What on earth is John thinking'

On attempting to receive the mails, only the second one got through.

The phrase 'barely legal teen' is used in pornographic searches by people hoping to find pictures of material featuring men and/or women who have just passed the minimum age required to appear in pornography (18 in most countries).

Although some would consider the phrase to have a strong association with paedophilia, it has been noted that 'barely legal' porn is, as its name suggests, not illegal, and users on social news site Reddit have criticised Apple for such 'censoring'.

Though Apple has no legal obligation to block the phrase 'barely legal teen', its terms of service state that it has every right to do so.

The terms of service state: "You acknowledge that Apple is not responsible or liable in any way for any Content provided by others and has no duty to pre-screen such Content. However, Apple reserves the right at all times to determine whether Content is appropriate and in compliance with this Agreement, and may pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove Content at any time, without prior notice and in its sole discretion, if such Content is found to be in violation of this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable."

Macworld began their investigation after the issue was brought to their attention by a reader of their sister title Infoworld who was having trouble receiving a film script that contained the phrase.

Apple told Macworld that the problem was connected with automatic spam folders:

"Occasionally, automated spam filters may incorrectly block legitimate email," an Apple spokesperson said. "If the customer feels that a legitimate message is blocked, we encourage customers to report it to AppleCare."

Apple has a history of being anti-pornography. Founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, once said that the tech giant represented the chance for "freedom of porn" and the iTunes store does not allow pornographic apps, nor does the iBookstore allow pornographic literature.

The iBookstore rejected an e-book submission on the hippie movement because it contained photographs of naked people.

Macworld writer Mark Hattersley said: "Censoring the emails of personal individuals using Apple cloud services does seem to be another step on the ladder towards Apple control. People do not have to use Apple's iCloud service, there are plenty of rivals such as Gmail and Live, but Apple makes iCloud easy to set up and it still feels like a personal intrusion to have Apple's computers deciding what you can and can;t say."

 

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

    Day In a Page

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable