Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 26th Feb 2013 21:31 UTC
Apple Well paint me red and call me a girl scout. "In its latest push to get porn off your computer, Apple now deletes all iCloud emails that contain the phrase 'barely legal teens'. It doesn't send the messages to spam, or flag them, it just straight up deletes them, and there's nothing you can do about it." So, at least we can finally put that silly myth to rest that Apple respects users' privacy. They scan your emails, including attachments, just like everyone else.
Order by: Score:
v Understandable
by andrewclunn on Tue 26th Feb 2013 21:43 UTC
RE: Understandable
by stabbyjones on Tue 26th Feb 2013 22:26 UTC in reply to "Understandable"
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

You say distributing underage porn when the definition of barely legal implies legality and has nothing to do with child porn?

W.
T.
F?

So the SOPA/PIPA/etc seem like a good idea as well? You know, if it's for unsubstantiated quasi-legal reasoning. with no recourse for allowing legitimate traffic through.

I can't wait till they start deleting emails from google or microsoft accounts because there could be something they aren't aware of inside the email...

Edited 2013-02-26 22:26 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: Understandable
by Mrokii on Wed 27th Feb 2013 00:51 UTC in reply to "Understandable"
Mrokii Member since:
2011-01-04

No, it's *not* understandable. Prohibiting underage porn, yes. But "barely legal" is *still* legal. Assuming that one automatically implying the other is dishonest and says more about the one who uses the argument than the people accused. And it's *not* Apples' job to play the nanny for their users!

Edited 2013-02-27 01:01 UTC

Reply Score: 6

v Talk about a strawman
by leos on Tue 26th Feb 2013 22:19 UTC
RE: Talk about a strawman
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 26th Feb 2013 22:43 UTC in reply to "Talk about a strawman"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Of course it has to do with privacy. Apple fans' logic never ceases to amaze me.

Google has automated bots scanning your emails for targeted ads so you don't see irrelevant crap: PRIVACY ISSUE.

Apple has automated bots reading your emails to delete what it believes does not adhere to US puritanical views: NOPE, NOT A PRIVACY ISSUE YOU GUYS.

The world is crazy.

Reply Score: 14

RE[2]: Talk about a strawman
by boscorillium on Tue 26th Feb 2013 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Talk about a strawman"
boscorillium Member since:
2013-02-26

Agreed, it seems like in both cases you can easily argue there is a privacy issue. Which one bothers you more is of course dependant on what camp you are in.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Talk about a strawman
by WorknMan on Tue 26th Feb 2013 23:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Talk about a strawman"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Agreed, it seems like in both cases you can easily argue there is a privacy issue. Which one bothers you more is of course dependant on what camp you are in.


I don't get very many emails that say 'barely legal teens' that aren't spam, so as far as I'm concerned, Apple would be doing me a favor ;) Would be curious to see what else they're deleting.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Talk about a strawman
by JAlexoid on Wed 27th Feb 2013 03:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Talk about a strawman"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Deleting, not marking as spam.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Talk about a strawman
by dvhh on Wed 27th Feb 2013 05:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Talk about a strawman"
dvhh Member since:
2006-03-20

first it is "barely legal" and then which combo of word ?
the thing is that the email/document get silently erased.

So of course right now you don't think it is an issue, but hay, I've always been a fan of newspeak

Reply Score: 4

v RE[2]: Talk about a strawman
by leos on Wed 27th Feb 2013 06:10 UTC in reply to "RE: Talk about a strawman"
RE[3]: Talk about a strawman
by franksands on Wed 27th Feb 2013 14:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Talk about a strawman"
franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

SO you think it's a good thing Apple deletes any email containing the phrase "barely legal teens"? This is not spam filtering, it's deleting messages without asking you . What if it was an important email from a relative saying something like "Can you take me to the hospital tomorrow? Since my children are barely legal teens, they can't drive."

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Talk about a strawman
by jido on Wed 27th Feb 2013 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Talk about a strawman"
jido Member since:
2006-03-06

Did you try it yourself?

It doesn't look like Apple deletes all mails with these words, it only deletes spam messages with these words.

This said, if the "hospital" message registers as spam according to the filter you won't see it. So don't rely too much on mail.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Talk about a strawman
by franksands on Wed 27th Feb 2013 18:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Talk about a strawman"
franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

I haven't tried myself because I don't have iCloud. Secondly, In the artice, the email was clearly not spam, it had a text attached that had that phrase. Thirdly, I don't think there's any other email service that does something like this: delete messages without any configuration by the user. If this is in fact, real, it would a much greater breach of privacy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Talk about a strawman
by jido on Wed 27th Feb 2013 22:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Talk about a strawman"
jido Member since:
2006-03-06

It is real. My iCloud mailbox is almost spam-free, thanks to Apple automatic spam deletion. The spam mails don't go in my spam folder they are filtered on the server. I consider it is a service Apple does for me.

I have a different e-mail address for personal mails, in part because I know that iCloud has mail filtering so I could miss something. If you don't ask them to nobody will see your e-mails, and to my knowledge Apple don't do any data collection.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Talk about a strawman
by JAlexoid on Fri 1st Mar 2013 03:07 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Talk about a strawman"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Spam filtering training requires data collection.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Talk about a strawman
by leos on Wed 27th Feb 2013 18:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Talk about a strawman"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

SO you think it's a good thing Apple deletes any email containing the phrase "barely legal teens"?


Yes clearly. That must have been why I wrote: "Filtering "barely legal teens" is pretty laughable and the wrong approach"

This is not spam filtering, it's deleting messages without asking you. What if it was an important email from a relative saying something like "Can you take me to the hospital tomorrow? Since my children are barely legal teens, they can't drive."


LOL. Is this argument ad absurdum? There isn't even any evidence that these emails are being deleted. As many people have pointed out, you can happily send emails containing that phrase and it will not delete them.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Talk about a strawman
by siraf72 on Wed 27th Feb 2013 18:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Talk about a strawman"
siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

Of course it has to do with privacy. Apple fans' logic never ceases to amaze me.

Google has automated bots scanning your emails for targeted ads so you don't see irrelevant crap: PRIVACY ISSUE.

Apple has automated bots reading your emails to delete what it believes does not adhere to US puritanical views: NOPE, NOT A PRIVACY ISSUE YOU GUYS.

The world is crazy.


Your logic is consistent, no doubt. From a purely privacy perspective you are right. But at a practical level there is a world of difference. I don't buy the "slippery slope" argument in this case when it comes to privacy. Google's history about user privacy is still far more suspect (time and time again). Apple's goal here seems pretty clear. I have no problem with their goal in this instance.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Talk about a strawman
by franksands on Wed 27th Feb 2013 18:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Talk about a strawman"
franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

Google has always been upfront with what kind of information it uses, and recently cam to great lengths of explaining how to get your information out of their systems. What other company does that?

Reply Score: 2

Actually, no, it doesn't...
by mooselegrand on Tue 26th Feb 2013 22:19 UTC
mooselegrand
Member since:
2009-04-27

I just tried sending myself an email to and from my iCloud account containing the sentence "barely legal teens" and in both cases I received the email just fine...
This looks like another case of FUD from Cult of Mac.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Actually, no, it doesn't...
by MOS6510 on Wed 27th Feb 2013 05:23 UTC in reply to "Actually, no, it doesn't..."
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I sent one from me private account to iCloud. Subject "barely legal teens" and "Porn!" in the body. Arrives just fine, no delay, no deletions.

It makes me wonder Thom also did this check.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Actually, no, it doesn't...
by phti on Wed 27th Feb 2013 06:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Actually, no, it doesn't..."
phti Member since:
2012-06-02

of course he didn't.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Come on, it's a brave new world of "journalism". Verifying the veracity of a random claim? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Edited 2013-02-27 06:53 UTC

Reply Score: 4

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I know it's going against the trend, but it would be nice if some news was checked. Certainly if it's so easy and quick to do as this one.

No doubt the writer's email and Cult of Mac's one disappeared, but it would be more interesting to find what really happened rather than just copy news and present it as fact. They may use a certain email client that thinks it's spam, an ISP may do it, perhaps some US states do it, perhaps Apple does it but only to certain users under certain conditions.

Anything is possible. The only thing I can know for certain is that my emails arrive just fine and I'm seeing others report the same.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Actually, no, it doesn't...
by novad on Wed 27th Feb 2013 07:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Actually, no, it doesn't..."
novad Member since:
2010-06-10

Is it only in some regions (US for example)?

Is it a scan on a regular basis that deletes the mail after it has been received (every day at 23:00 for example)?

Is it a technical error that deleted them instead of flagging them in an internal database (Which would mean that every mail is indexed by Apple what raises another problem)?

Or is it pure FUD?

I don't have the answer but I admit that I would love to know.

Reply Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Cult of Mac confirmed it even though I assume they would tend to be more biased towards Apple.

(many more people confirm it doesn't happen)

I don't think Apple cares were you live, so if they really wanted to ban this subject-line they would enforce it on all users on their servers in the US. For me it's also easy to ban certain subject, but I have no clue how to do this based on country or US state. It makes it a lot more complicated and not 100% reliable.

Banning porn emails based on subjects is also very unreliable. And I don't think Apple should do it. Never mind privacy, but if Apple block porn and parents still find porn in the iCloud inbox they can blame Apple for not doing a good enough job. So they might as well not do it so they can't be blamed either.

I know it's a common spam subject, so it could be the may or may not be blocking it or perhaps they were temporary blocking it during a spam run.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Actually, no, it doesn't...
by novad on Wed 27th Feb 2013 08:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Actually, no, it doesn't..."
novad Member since:
2010-06-10

Banning porn emails based on subjects is also very unreliable. And I don't think Apple should do it. Never mind privacy, but if Apple block porn and parents still find porn in the iCloud inbox they can blame Apple for not doing a good enough job. So they might as well not do it so they can't be blamed either.


For this one I don't agree with you... There's parental control for that. If parents set an option to remove pron related Stuff... OK. No problem with that. BUT, removing legal content (Whatever this content is) without the consent of the user is another problem.

I know it's a common spam subject, so it could be the may or may not be blocking it or perhaps they were temporary blocking it during a spam run.


Maybe. As I said. I would be curious to know exactly what happened... But I think that won't happen.

Reply Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

I don't think there is an Apple parental control to block porn emails.

They desktop Mail client and, probably, the server iCloud does spam checking, but blocking emails is slightly different. Spam is unwanted, but emails with a pornographic topic may be wanted.

And that's, what I think, is the tricky bit. You can't 100% block all spam, but it's even harder to block non-spam by determining using automatic systems what it is about.

If Apple says they can protect your kids and it doesn't work they come off pretty bad. People will demand they will fix it, which they can't.

If Apple says they maybe, kind of, it's great when it works, protect your kids they will come off bad and it would look silly too. Even worse!

So it's best to, like almost every email provider, to not delete/block emails that aren't obviously spam.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Actually, no, it doesn't...
by novad on Wed 27th Feb 2013 08:28 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Actually, no, it doesn't..."
novad Member since:
2010-06-10

I don't think there is an Apple parental control to block porn emails.

Bad point for Apple. Filtering by subject should be an option, not enforced by a company (As long as the content is legal).

If Apple says they can protect your kids and it doesn't work they come off pretty bad. People will demand they will fix it, which they can't.

I agree with you that people expect very high standards from Apple and will probably be less tolerant to filtering issues with Apple than with others.

So it's best to, like almost every email provider, to not delete/block emails that aren't obviously spam.

I can't agree more on this one. I would even add that spam should be marked as spam and moved to an according folder, not deleted. (Or only after some time... Maybe 30 days)

The only point where I accept automatic deletion is for a detected security threat (Fishing, virus, ...)

Reply Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Oh, YOU can filter on any subject, but you need to enter these rules yourself. There is no switch to have a bunch of Apple filters kick in to action.

Even if there were people would find out and figure out how to bypass them. If "barely legal teens" stops you you can use "blt" or "!UEGIUG!EGUWGgdud".

Reply Score: 2

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Apparently "barely legal teens" is something that could push an email over the "is it spam or is it not" threshold.

I submitted a link to an article explaining it, but my submission got deleted without any notice.

It's a funny world.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kovacm
by kovacm on Tue 26th Feb 2013 23:14 UTC
kovacm
Member since:
2010-12-16

Ask Eric what he thinks about this ;)

Reply Score: 2

v Correction
by Tony Swash on Wed 27th Feb 2013 01:05 UTC
RE: Correction
by JAlexoid on Wed 27th Feb 2013 03:25 UTC in reply to "Correction"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

What they don't do is scan your email and then sell the collected data to third parties for the purpose of targeting advertising.


Pray tell, who does?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Correction
by steve_s on Wed 27th Feb 2013 08:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Correction"
steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

Google does.

Their advertising network is very sophisticated. My mother recently saw on a home shopping network on TV a bit about a particular brand of pans, and asked me to go to the web page for it. Ever since then a very high proportion of adverts I've seen on the web have been for those specific pans. I have two windows open on OSNews right now, and both are showing adverts for those pans. It feels like for the last week at least 1/3rd of the adverts I've seen have been those ones.

Google clearly and most definitely is selling my screen to third parties.

Google's ad network is linked into Gmail. They target ads there based on the content of emails you have received. It's the same ad network.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Correction
by novad on Wed 27th Feb 2013 08:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Correction"
novad Member since:
2010-06-10

Google clearly and most definitely is selling my screen to third parties.


Right... It's their core business to sell advertisement. When a service is "free" on Internet, you are the product (Google / fFacebook / ...)

Google is not better than any other for that.

They sell it at the same time the provide you with a "free" service... It's the same logic as the "free" phone you get when you take a 24 month contract with you carrier. You finally pay your phone on a monthly basis with your contract.

But don't mix up selling your screen and your personal info. Google uses internally the info they collected to provide you with targeted advertisement. They do NOT sell it to third parties (At least not for now)

You want to get rid of it? Do the following:

- delete your cookies
- Delete the info Google has stored about you (They are quiet transparent about that)

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Correction
by JAlexoid on Fri 1st Mar 2013 03:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Correction"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

You said that they sell you data, when in fact they don't.

Actually it's the website owners that sell that space. And it's not your space, it's the space that you agree to see in order to access content for free.

You may not like Google tracking you, but that is not a reason to make false claims. And if you know that Google does not sell your data, then that statement is a blatant lie.

PS: If you don't want Google to track you, then just opt-out of the targeted advertising(in Google's privacy panel). Like I did.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Correction
by novad on Wed 27th Feb 2013 09:04 UTC in reply to "Correction"
novad Member since:
2010-06-10

What they don't do is scan your email and then sell the collected data to third parties for the purpose of targeting advertising.


Please... That's bullshit.

They don't sell your data, they use it... Big difference.

Third parties will never have access to this data.

Reply Score: 3

I don't know but...
by novad on Wed 27th Feb 2013 08:05 UTC
novad
Member since:
2010-06-10

I don’t know if it’s a fact, a simple mistake or FUD but I checked the terms of service of “Apple iCloud”.

Here is an interesting part:

-----------------
Removal of Content
You acknowledge that Apple is not responsible or liable in any way for any Content provided by others and has no duty to pre-screen such Content. However, Apple reserves the right at all times to determine whether Content is appropriate and in compliance with this Agreement, and may pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove Content at any time, without prior notice and in its sole discretion, if such Content is found to be in violation of this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable.

-----------------

http://www.apple.com/legal/icloud/en/terms.html

Even if Apple doesn’t filter (I would be surprised if they didn’t) and delete content, they give themselves the right to do so.

Not a good feeling... And this really is a concern with privacy (sweet dreams) AND censorship by a private company.

As long as something is legal (As stated by the law), it is legal... No private company should come with its own standards for “legality” or “morality” (This is valid for Apple, Google, Microsoft and even the little grocery in my street)

Reply Score: 6

Spam filtering
by jido on Wed 27th Feb 2013 14:18 UTC
jido
Member since:
2006-03-06

Apple does use ClamAV ( or a replacement) on iCloud to reduce the amount of spam you get. It has been there since dotMac.

Works fine for me. No complains really.

Reply Score: 2

Just tested
by darknexus on Wed 27th Feb 2013 16:36 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

I just tested this myself. Sent an email from an email address that is not, in any way, associated with my iCloud account with the subject "Barely legal teens" and many lewd references in the body, even a few fake links. Guess what? I got the email. Jesus Thom, do you even bother to test this crap before you post it? Not all FUD is news, and something like this is simplicity itself to actually verify before you put it up here. If Apple were actually doing this I would agree with you 100%, but so far I just don't see any evidence that they are other than some blog post that my own experiments can easily prove wrong. Doesn't journalistic integrity demand, at least a little, that something this easy to verify be tested by you?

Reply Score: 3

Try this then:
by MatsSvensson on Wed 27th Feb 2013 19:48 UTC
MatsSvensson
Member since:
2010-07-09

"barely legal Apple"

Reply Score: 1

In other Apple censorship news...
by BallmerKnowsBest on Wed 27th Feb 2013 20:00 UTC
BallmerKnowsBest
Member since:
2008-06-02

It looks like Apple's ministry of truth has been busy lately. They also recently blocked access to TheBestPageInTheUniverse.net from Apple Store internet connections:

http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=apple_store_ban
http://youtu.be/pZ7RwGRLwK0

But it isn't run-of-the-mill blocking of a website - if nothing else, Apple is in-arguably an innovator in the field of dickery. Instead of just showing a "this site has been blocked" message, Apple redirects the domain to a page on Apple site advertising the Macbook "pro" (in other words, DNS hijacking) - and they display 404 errors if you try to load specific pages on TheBestPageInTheUniverse site, giving the misleading impression that the problem is on their end and not Apple's.

And the reason the site has been blocked? Apparently Apple's feelings were hurt by some obvious comedy articles like this:

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=iphone

So, for those keeping score: a site that contains articles saying mean things about Apple is not acceptable, but hardcore porn sites & the homepage of the KKK (which aren't blocked) are apparently A-OK to Apple.

The best response I can think of? Find the nearest Apple store, and load the Archive.org copy of the iPhone article on every Mac/iProduct demo unit.

Reply Score: 5

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

Doh, so Apple Stores have web filters in place.


No, filtering would be the honest, above-board way of doing things. Instead, Apple invisibly redirects the domain name - in other words, they're using the same approach as DNS-hijacking malware.

Can you prove me that the site above has no adult content that I would not want my children to see?


Your children spend a lot of time using the internet connection in Apple stores, do they? Personally, I'd expect you to be more concerned with some of the other sites that aren't blocked than the website of a humorist who uses some naughty words... but maybe that's just me.

It loads fine on non-Apple Store networks, so I don't see what is the big fuss about.


For now... that is, until Apple's pervasive "we know what's best for you" arrogance emboldens them to the point where they start modifying DNS settings on iOS devices, to block sites Apple objects to. That would be no less-defensible than how Apple manages the appstore - it's Apple's sandbox after all, so they make the rules, right?

Reply Score: 3

jido Member since:
2006-03-06

"Doh, so Apple Stores have web filters in place.
No, filtering would be the honest, above-board way of doing things. Instead, Apple invisibly redirects the domain name - in other words, they're using the same approach as DNS-hijacking malware. "
I see your point here. The DNS hijacking is worth pointing.
"Can you prove me that the site above has no adult content that I would not want my children to see?
Your children spend a lot of time using the internet connection in Apple stores, do they? Personally, I'd expect you to be more concerned with some of the other sites that aren't blocked than the website of a humorist who uses some naughty words... but maybe that's just me. "
They can. It's a public space and the content should be age-filtered. I agree with you, better filtering should be in place-- but I don't have special objections to the "naughty words" criteria if that is what it is.
"It loads fine on non-Apple Store networks, so I don't see what is the big fuss about.
For now... that is, until Apple's pervasive "we know what's best for you" arrogance emboldens them to the point where they start modifying DNS settings on iOS devices, to block sites Apple objects to. That would be no less-defensible than how Apple manages the appstore - it's Apple's sandbox after all, so they make the rules, right? "
Wake me up when that day comes... I don't see it yet.

Reply Score: 1

majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

"For now... that is, until Apple's pervasive "we know what's best for you" arrogance emboldens them to the point where they start modifying DNS settings on iOS devices, to block sites Apple objects to. That would be no less-defensible than how Apple manages the appstore - it's Apple's sandbox after all, so they make the rules, right?"

Which is exactly the point where guys like you stop being credible: when you blame Apple for something you think they could eventually do someday without having anything to sustain this possibility apart from your own sentiment against Apple. Lame.

Reply Score: 0

BallmerKnowsBest Member since:
2008-06-02

"For now... that is, until Apple's pervasive "we know what's best for you" arrogance emboldens them to the point where they start modifying DNS settings on iOS devices, to block sites Apple objects to. That would be no less-defensible than how Apple manages the appstore - it's Apple's sandbox after all, so they make the rules, right?"

Which is exactly the point where guys like you stop being credible: when you blame Apple for something you think they could eventually do someday without having anything to sustain this possibility apart from your own sentiment against Apple. Lame.


Typical disingenuous iApologist, desperately looking for anything you can take out of context and twist into a lazy excuse to dismiss criticism of Apple without actually addressing it. Yawn.

And you're not even doing it properly. What kind of Apple fanboy actually addresses someone directly? Don't you know that you're only supposed to respond to people indirectly via weaselly, passive-aggressive snark about "Apple haters"?

Reply Score: 3

Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Fri 1st Mar 2013 11:43 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

I submitted a link to an article explaining what happened (hint: not Apple filtering "barely legal teens"), but my submission got deleted without notice.

I guess if you want to know you have to google it yourself.

Reply Score: 2