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Apple Censors Ninjawords iPhone Dictionary

The popular online dictionary Ninjawords is available for the iPhone and iPod touch, but with a major limitation compared to its Web-based counterpart: It doesn't include all off the words. The limitation is intentional thanks to Apple's insistence that the application not include words the company deemed objectionable, according to Daring Fireball.

In addition to blocking the words that upset the iPhone app review team, Apple also insisted that the dictionary carry a 17+ rating.

The list of words Apple insisted had to go includes several that wouldn't make it past prime time TV censors, along with more that are used in regular conversation but also have other meanings such as screw, snatch, pussy, ass and cock. Ass and cock, for example, appear in the King James bible, and every Macintosh and iPhone includes more than one screw.

The popular f-bomb -- a word that can earn a movie a "PG-13" or "R" rating -- is blocked, too, but appears in Apple's own Dictionary application on the Mac with 19 entries. Apple taps into the New Oxford American Dictionary for its own application, and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary has at least six entries relating to the same word.

While Apple has been busy scrubbing words out of Ninjawords, other online dictionary sellers haven't been. Amazon is currently selling print and Kindle versions of dictionaries without restricting the words they can list, Borders sells unedited dictionaries online and in its stores, and even Walmart sells complete dictionaries in its retail locations as well as online.

While Apple's iPhone app reviewers are most likely simply trying to follow the guidelines handed down to them, the handling of the Ninjawords application looks to be another example of the company's current inability to efficiently deal with the number of submission along with how to manage content that may -- or may not be -- inappropriate.

Ninjawords is priced at US$1.99 and is available at Apple's iTunes-based App Store -- no discount for missing words.

7 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

rpaege said:

This is insane.  It’s bad enough that Apple is imposing American prudish (some would argue perverted) cultural values on the rest of the world, where many if not ALL of those words can be heard on television, but has chosen to take an all-inclusive approach to any word that even remotely has a double meaning.  What kind of perverse jackasses are running the ship over there?  I’m really fed up with Apple’s priggishness.

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geoduck said:

I’ve been one to defend Apple’s standards for apps. There App Store, they get to choose. But in this case they went off the deep end. I mean come on a Dictionary? Don’t kids outgrow looking up dirty words in the dictionary when they are, like, nine.

Apple now looks like a bunch of prudish idiots.

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Lee Dronick said:

Considering that the George Carlin words can be found in OSX’s dictionary censoring the iPhone dictionary apps doesn’t make sense. Who is in charge of the app vetting department at Apple?

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Visonary said:

It’s interesting that Apple can pick and choose it’s moral stand points so selectively. The company will censor words and pictures from its applications but is fine with funding and promoting and supporting homosexual marriage. What rpaege said rings true. And when cultural values and morals are meaninglessly ‘relative’ you inevitably run into this trouble. What a perverted nation we’ve become.

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geoduck said:

It’s interesting that Apple can pick and choose it’s moral stand points so selectively.

I would agree with that

The company will censor words and pictures from its applications but is fine with funding and promoting and supporting homosexual marriage.

I agree but for the opposite reason. The former is hard to defend while the latter is admirable and one of the reasons that I like Apple as a company.

when cultural values and morals are meaninglessly ‘relative’ you inevitably run into this trouble. What a perverted nation we’ve become.

But I would put to you that it is NOT those that support freedom and liberty and equality that are perverted. It is rather those that have a narrow and bigoted hyper religious view without understanding and want to push their narrow ideology that are perverted, not to mention un-American to the core.

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Laurie Fleming said:

To whoever is is responsible for this censorship, I have the following to say (and some of this is extremely offensive):

(Maaori normally has a macron over extended vowel sounds, but the easier way for postings like this is to double them)

Upoko kohua!
Kei te kii me te tuutae koe.
Pokotiwha!
Haere atu!

Whiwhia he mahi tuuturu. (OK, I’ll translate that: Get a real job)

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Ipop said:

Check the new game for the Apple users
Is iPod safe ?

www.makeipodsafe.com

   Quote

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