Watch out, Apple will erase your iCloud emails if they contain words or phrases Apple doesn’t like

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Apple is reportedly deleting any emails received in iCloud email accounts that contain the phrase “barely legal teen.” What makes things even more interesting is that the company is also deleting emails that are sent from iCloud accounts that contain the phrase… which is pretty much a form of censorship, even though most people would agree the bulk of emails containing the phrase “barely legal teen” are probably undesirable anyway.

Take note this is actual deleting of emails, not simply marking them as spam or junk.

This censoring of content regarding the phrase actually came to light a couple of months ago, but it was only triggered when the phrase was included in email attachments. Now Apple is deleting emails that contain the phrase in any part of the email; this change shows that Apple is now screening the content of email messages.

Strangely, messages only seem to be deleted when they have the exact “barely legal teen” phrase. Adding an s and making it “barely legal teens” will allow a message to go through. The Verge tested this even further and has confirmed that vulgar phrases have no issue being sent, making it also a possibility that this is a bug.

However, as mentioned by The Verge, Apple’s Terms of Service allows them to do this sort of thing:

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.

So while it is just “barely legal teen” now, in the future it could potentially be any words or phrases Apple deems inappropriate.

Hey Apple, I know they’re barely legal — but they are still legal, right? At least they weren’t talking about illegal teens. Underage teens. Whoops, good thing I don’t use iCloud for email. (I am just joking about underage teens. Don’t flame me, people.)

[via Cult of MacThe Verge]

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5 comments

  1. Scott Hedrick

    When my first kid was on the way, and she just turned 13, I did a web search for “nursery”, because I needed to set up a nursery. The first 157 responses had nothing to do with children or plants. After the first dozen, I checked out the others out of morbid fascination. Discovered infantilism. I mean, not even plant nurseries were in the first 157 results! Another time, I was trying to get some information on a Matsushita floppy drive, and when I entered the company name in the company’s own chat room, it kept coming out “Matsu****a”. Then there was the AOL fiasco over the word “breast” – they blocked the word “breast”, and so cut off breast cancer survivor networks. If Apple can block emails, they can also alter them. Think about that before using their services for anything important.

  2. Shawn

    The irony would be some hacker adding the word apple to the word filter…

    Now that would be news…

    As for the rest of the filters they are useless because even safe words like bunny will definitely give you stuff you don’t want.