What’s This About?
An interesting bug report cropped up on Launchpad a couple of days ago. Apparently, it is quite easy to bring up search results for sex toys, pornographic materials and other adult-related merchandise in Ubuntu 12.10 via the Dash.
Here is the description of said “bug”:
Shopping suggestions can produce results that contain inappropriate images in the preview pictures, and links to items that are clearly not suitable for all ages.
There appears to be no easy way to restirct what suggestions are shown apart from removing unity-shopping-lens altogether
This is an interesting ‘bug’ report as it seems not to represent any sort of broken functionality whatsoever, though despite that fact, people seem to be heated in debate over this discovery.
If anything, this begs the question about whether or not Canonical should be censoring results and considering users of all ages. Here are some comments from the bug report:
Michael Scherer responds,
If you type “sex dungeon” and that it give you “sex dungeon”, that’s hard to avoid. Now if you typed something else, yes, that’s a issue. So could you give how someone could find a inapropriate result based on a rather regular search ( ie, if I type “kitten” and find something pronographic, that would be a problem. If I type “penis” and I find pictures of penis, there isn’t much to do )
coversnail, who filed the bug report that has since been confirmed provides screenshots of some of the results he had been given. Pictures of a penis-pump and XXX movies are attached. He later claims;
The only time I have noticed explicit content through general use was when I typed “Dungeon” (because I have a game installed that starts with dungeon), and that brought up erotic ebooks. Obviously the examples I posted pictures of can only really be stumbled across through typing explicit words.
So, it seems that his searches for penis-pumps had been deliberate after all, and searching for his dungeon game had been the catalyst for this experiment.
Since these shopping results are provided by Amazon, why not take this up with them, since they don’t filter for their shopping results. If you are a child and you are so inclined to search places for the word ‘penis’ or ‘boobies’, you can just as easily do so on Amazon’s website or on Google and obtain some far more interesting imagery.
We at The Powerbase do not condone censorship in anyway, shape or form, but it is perfectly fine for Ubuntu to allow people the ability to censor themselves and their own families. Whether or not Amazon’s API’s allow for this sort of filtering is yet to be seen.
What do you think? Should Canonical take responsibility to restrict search results from users?