Friday, November 18, 2011

Jesus Christ, Monkey Crotch

Pakistan Bans 'Monkey Crotch', 'Jesus Christ' and Obscene Words in Text Messages - MSNBC 11/18/11

This has to be one of the funniest stories I've heard in a while. Who uses the term "monkey crotch"??? Ladies and gentlemen, please always be thankful for the freedom to speak your mind in this country. There may be A LOT that needs to be fixed here, but the founders got it right with freedom of speech as an inalienable right. Pakistan is playing this off as a way to curb spamming in text messages, but really? Jesus Christ? Wuutang? It's pretty obvious this is a way to curb speech in a country that is notoriously known for its middle age laws and rules.

The new rule set to go into effect will filter out any message that is found to be:

A) harmful, fraudulent, misleading, illegal or unsolicited

B) in bulk

C) without express permission of recipient

D) for commercial purpose

I have a few issues with this, obviously. The first is the very first word... harmful? harmful to who? by who? who decides what is harmful? This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and has serious implications for speech rights. Second is without express permission of recipient. When you get text messages from people, friends, family, you don't give them permission for each message. They send it to you and you get it. That's how it works.

Here is the letter (unverified) sent by the PTA (Pakistan Telecommunications Authority):

PTA Letter on Content Filtering

Section 8 of this report reads: "Based on the foregoing provisions and the dictum developed by the higher courts of Pakistan that the fundamental rights of privacy and freedom of speech and expressions guaranteed under the constitution are not unrestricted and are subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law"

wow... scary

Here is a list of more of the words to be blocked, there are some 1500 total English and Urdu words to be blacklisted:

Medical terms to be banned:
Athletes foot
Daily usage words to be banned:
Religious terms to be banned:
Jesus Christ
LGBT terms to be banned:
Musicians/artists to be banned:

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