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February 27, 2009 | by  | in Online Only |
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Email censorship

Nothing much has changed since National took the reigns of power. John Key may have stopped Section 92A for the meantime, but I can’t send emails with light pepperings of colourful language.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From:
Date: 2009/2/27
Subject: Profanity detected in E-Mail Message
To:
Cc: editor@salient.org.nz

You have used a word in your message that is unacceptable in an e-mail message!

Your message will therefore not be delivered!

Please reword your e-mail and resend.

The details of the message are:

The subject was:
Congratulations

The intended recipient was/were:
xxxxxx.xxxx@mfe.govt.nz

Who are the MFE to tell me what words are and are not acceptable in emails? Seriously. This place is getting more like Oceania everyday. I am sending an email to a friend. I can understand them filtering emails going out of MFE accounts, but incoming messages is creepy. Mailman reading your mail and censoring it anyone?

Also who uses the term “e-mail messages”. Don’t need the hyphen or the word messages guys. Get up with modern parlance!

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About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (12)

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  1. MARK TAYLOR says:

    What did you email?

  2. Matt Nippert says:

    Not nearly as funny as when I emailed the Chief Censor to ask whether it was ok to put the word “Cunt” on the cover of Salient. The message bounced, for reasons of “obscene” content. I thought the whole point of that office was that they employ people to make those sort of judgments?

  3. linx says:

    They should at least have a secretary read it instead of an automatic scan that did it this way, that way if it is abusive or a crazy rant then it can go in the bin and then a standardised email reply be sent back if need be, there should be some discretion allowed in the process even if it uses some slang that may even be able to be put into context.

  4. Jackson Wood says:

    When I worked part-time at a Telecom Retail store (the place where I lost my soul and all optimism for future of the human species) I also happened to be taking Politics 269: The politics of sex and sexuality.

    The university email system crashed the day that I had to hand my essay on the ramifications of monogamy/polygamy on western democracies (I kid you not). So I foolheartedly decided to use my Telecom email, which has one of those lovely filtering systems which ranks words on a point scale, to send my essay.

    After about two weeks of being suspended from my work email account, (something pretty integral to working in IT/Teleccommunications) and an official written warning, I finally managed to ram it into their thick skulls that it was an academic essay not a 4000-word lurid joke with footnotes.

    Ka mau te wehi!

  5. I’ve gotta admit that I have my biases in life. One is that the word e-mail should have a hyphen. Another is that most government departments could usefully be replaced by computers. Matt’s comment has forced me to reconsider the second.

  6. Mikey says:

    It seems to me that by blocking or censoring the incoming emails (sucks to you BK), they intend to protect the recipients from hearing bad language. The only logical conclusion I can draw from this is that all of the people working in the MFE are four years old.

  7. don says:

    >From:
    Nothing in the email above indicates it is MFE that bounced the email. But I will take your word for it.

    > I am sending an email to a friend.
    Presumably to an email account provided by MFE, which will have an acceptable use policy covering things like harassment, profanity and other activities unrelated to work, and that your friend would have agreed to.

    And if MFE did not filter objectionable material, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found themselves liable for emotional damage etc. Replacing the ‘colorful’ language with xxx’s is more usual though. Even a four-year-old can be represented by a lawyer.

    But is does remind me of a story from years ago in Britain where they tried to block porn sites. Apparently email accounts and sites hosted by an ISP in Scunthorpe were down for a week.

    >They should at least have a secretary read ….
    Well, there’s an idea that should have been at the jobs summit. Thousands of people reading incoming junk mail and politely replying to the families of Nigerian dictators that unfortunately we will not be able to help them at this time.

    I’m actually surprised you got a reply at all. Maybe they reply to every message they forward to the SIS just to make sure it is a valid return address ….

  8. Shitkicker says:

    A bup bup bup

  9. Moomama says:

    ohg that is so tollatarian it’s not funny. What is the government trying to do making us all speak politely? Its jsut like part of the hole poltical correctness thing. Its sensorship totally. I thought the National government was going to stop all the PC crap but they are even worse! omg!

  10. Boner says:

    Does anyone here know how to use rot13?
    Alternatively, you could rotate all the vowels one place, e.g: “Hiy, os ot uk of O pat thi wurd ‘Cant’ un thi cuvir uf thi megezoni?”
    Finally, dare I say it, 1337 could work quite well.

  11. Moomama says:

    hahahahahaha Boner you’re so funny! Like can I sit on you! hahahahahaah

  12. Xxxxxx Xxxx says:

    You think that’s bad, my cousin Xxx also works for a government department. He has trouble getting ANY of his emails…

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