July 16, 2013
Apple doesn’t want to involve itself with hot button issues, even when it comes to the spell check feature in iOS. This means that if you misspell words such as “Aryan,” “virginity,” or “abortion,” on your iPhone/iPod touch or iPad, don’t look to Apple for assistance, according to The Daily Beast. In a new analysis, the news site came up with two different misspellings for roughly 250,000 words. This included all of the words in the internal dictionary that ships with OS X. This information was then put into an iOS simulator. From this, they created a banned word list. Provocative words aren’t the only ones missing from iOS 6. The analysis also found that over 14,000 words that are recognized as words when spelled accurately, but that won’t be corrected even when they are only slightly misspelled. These words are usually technical in nature, or very rarely used. They include “nephrotoxin,” “sempstress,” “sheepshank,” or “Aesopian,” among others. The Daily Beast notes that it didn’t address the autocorrect feature in iOS. With this, a user types a word, and halfway through the software will guess at what it thinks the person means. They also didn’t see if the software would learn how to spell a word through usage. This is a key feature of iOS spell check. According to Jillian York, the director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
I hate to say it, but I don’t think this should surprise anyone. Apple is one of the most censorious companies out there.We attempted to spell check “abortion,” “rape,” “drunken,” “arouse,” “murder,” and “virginity” on iOS 7 beta 3. Indeed, Apple’s decision to censor certain words carries over to the next iOS version. I find nothing admirable about Apple banning certain words. Indeed, we live in a world where murders happen, as do rapes. And no matter which side of the abortion debate you are on, no one is denying that they happen. Except for Apple, of course. Hopefully, the folks in Cupertino will correct this situation and get out of the censorship business. Otherwise, they look like a bunch of rose-colored fools.