Saturday, August 2, 2008

NZ town's name censored over 'F-word' pronunciation

The New Zealand town of Whakatane has found itself censored in cyberspace because the pronunciation of the word is close to the offensive 'F-word'.

The censorship was uncovered when a visitor to the tourist town on the east coast of the North Island tried to connect to the local council's wireless service, called Freenet.

His internet searches for "Whakatane" were rejected, with the Freenet website offering the explanation that "the content is filtered so this service is for legitimate use".

Whakatane District Council spokesman Barney Dzowa said the problem lay with the pronunciation of the town's name where the "wh" takes an "f" sound.

"The content filter is an American-based product and it does a phonetic analysis of what has been typed in," he said.

"Whakatane, to the system, sounds like an F-word."

However, now the problem has been discovered the council has had the name added to a list of words capable of overriding the content filter.


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