F-word gets Whakatane censored in cyberspace

The pronunciation of "Whakatane" and its close proximity to the offensive F-word word has seen the town censored in cyberspace.

A visiting tourist was astounded that he could not search for "Whakatane" on the district council's own online service, because the word was considered vulgar.

Visiting Auckland web developer John Henry used his laptop in the middle of the town to connect to the council's wireless service, called Freenet.

He was flabbergasted to discover his Google searches for "Whakatane' services were rejected by the content filter.

The Freenet website's explanation was: "The content is filtered so this service is for legitimate use." "I could search for `fish and chips' but not for `Whakatane fish and chips'," Mr Henry said.

Council communications manager Barney Dzowa explained that the problem lay in the pronunciation of the town's name.

"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."

Following Mr Henry's discovery, district councillor Russell Orr, who business provides the service, has now solved the problem.

He added the town's name to a list of words capable of over-riding the content filter.

- NZPA

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