Repeat after me: Every project I complete makes me smarter.

MSN Messenger's silent censor

Date/Time Permalink: 07/02/06 05:46:42 pm
Category: General

News has broken of a silent censor in MSN messenger's code, which causes any message containing the string "download.php" or "gallery.php" to be deleted without being shown and without even alerting the user. As one Digger put it, searching Google for the string "allintitle:download.php" will reveal many Free Software- oriented sites. Hmmmm... God knows what they have against php galleries.

Now, as the article suggests, this can be very easily gotten around. But my Penguin Senses are tingling on this one - we know about two strings that cause silent censoring; what worries me is what we *don't* know about yet! Frequently, I've gotten remarks from Microsoft devotees that just smack of somebody who's deliberately being kept in the dark; they will spout party (the Redmond party, that is) lines that have been time-worn falsehoods for ten years, and are then absolutely confused when I make a reference to common facts that have been known for so long that I originally learned them from tech veterans. It's like they've been living in a dark box for five years and haven't heard of the common knowledge the rest of us share.

That could be an explanation: they really ARE being kept in a dark box! If any of you use MSN out there and discover innocent strings that are censored, please feel free to share.

Incidentally, this is one of the practical uses of 13375P34K, as well as other small-change codes, of course. I recall a few years back when I was setting up an experimental project at one point which required me to set up a Yahoo group. Since the only user of that group would be the bot that I was writing, I wanted the front page to say that this was just a temporary hack project ("hack" sense 2 & 6) and memberships weren't to be had. Yahoo unfortunately censors absolutely everything you could even say about programming in ANY damn sense, so I got sick of wrestling with my sentence structure and just said what I wanted to say in 1337, plus explanation. The project petered out anyway...

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