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Microsoft To Ban 'Offensive Language' From Skype, Xbox, Office and Other Services ( 317

According to Microsoft's new Terms of Services agreement, you could get banned for "offensive language," resulting in the termination of your Gold Membership and/or any Microsoft account balances. The changes go into effect on May 1. CSO Online reports: [I]f you and a significant other are getting hot and heavy via Skype, you better watch your language and any nudity because that, too, can get you banned. The ban hammer could also fall if Cortana is listening at the wrong moment or if documents and files hosted on Microsoft services violate Microsoft's amended terms. But how would Microsoft even know if you had truly been "offensive?" Well, that part falls under Code of Conduct Enforcement, which states, "When investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue." Microsoft did add, "However, we cannot monitor the entire Services and make no attempt to do so." I'm not sure that will make you feel better, as another portion states that Microsoft "may also block delivery of a communication (like email, file sharing or instant message) to or from the Services in an effort to enforce these Terms or we may remove or refuse to publish Your Content for any reason."
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Microsoft To Ban 'Offensive Language' From Skype, Xbox, Office and Other Services

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  • Fuck that (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @05:29PM (#56337029)
    Really, who uses offensive language on Skype?
    • I do, quite often, particularly when it doesn't work properly. Believe me, there are few things as irritating and capable of bringing out the foul language than dropped or frozen connections and the other insanity that goes along with trying to make Skype work.

    • Really, who uses offensive language on Skype?

      You forgot the <sarcasm> tags and you were apparently taken literally in some way?

      I think that censorship is insane and offensive language is sometimes the only or at least the best way to express certain emotional states or to show sincerity. Right now I'm still reserving judgment because I think the story is quite likely an early April Fool's joke. (The problem with that theory is why pick Microsoft? A cunning selection of the highly improbable target of the joke to make it seem credible?)

    • by Humbubba ( 2443838 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @06:51PM (#56337575)
      jfdavis668 said

      Really, who uses offensive language on Skype?

      Depends. Offensive how? I once skyped, 'Now that Steve Job is dead, where will Microsoft get their killer ideas? Xerox PARC?' Had problems with them ever since.

  • by Grog6 ( 85859 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @05:29PM (#56337037)

    The web was built on porn; remove it at your peril. :)

    • No it's not, September child.

      • The web is mostly pirated material, porn, and everything else no government wants you to have free and easy access to.

        Given a free hand, most people would stay home and browse pornhub.

        Search "Celebrity Deepfakes"

        That shit has every celebrity in the world shitting their pants, because Celeb porn is going to be everywhere soon.

        I saw how shutting down Pirate bay has worked, lol.

        Sure businesses use the web these days, but 90% of people using the web are looking for porn of some kind.

        That covers a lot of ground

        • You said "built" which implies in this case historic perspective. Neither Internet nor WWW was "built" on porn. Being a media, not matter what was the original purpose, it is of course immediately used for sharing various sort of crap, be it porn, be it catz, or cute babies (yes, there was a time on the Internet, when cute babies were as popular as cute pets, nowadays of course, a human degraded so much and so suddenly that the only feeling that a human being can feel looking at a picture of a cute baby is

      • No it's not, September child.

        But it is close to April, as in April Fool's day... And yet, that actually appears to be an authentic Microsoft website and the MSA does include the actual word "offensive" and MS is not known for its corporate sense of humor. Right now I'm leaning the other way, that it is for real, as in real crazy.

        I'm really straining my brain for some way to interpret this as reasonable. Maybe it's a new make-work project to avoid firing people? From a company that used to have a policy of continuously firing the bottom

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      SJW want to inspect and ban words and images between users now.
      Big US brands support the political views of SJW.
      • SJW?

        This is a direct result of the actions of our Republican-led Congress. They would be horrified to be called SJWs. SJWs, in general, would not approve of this kind of attack on free speech on the web.

        We've now seen Craigslist, Google, and Microsoft cave. These are all companies that make monies in other ways, so they have the least to lose by cracking down to avoid the new penalties and the most to lose if they don't cave in. They are the first wave. The companies that have everything to lose, such as da

  • It looks like typical process. You must be reported for your content to be reviewed, and the other party can provide it to Microsoft.
    In other words, MS isn't actively monitoring, so if me and friends are on Skype playing a game and we F-this and F-that, nobody's going to give a shit. But if I start swearing at someone on Skype during gaming, well, that someone could report me and provide chat logs or session times to MS, at which point I'd probably be banned or punished in some way.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is offensive is subjective... and some times culture based.

    To me the word Microsoft is extremely offensive. So they should block that one right away!

  • Corporate Suicide (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @05:35PM (#56337077)

    What business would risk putting their documents on One Drive / Office with these terms?

    No sane business would.

    Between Windows 10 and now this, Microsoft is over for the business world. Over.

    • by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @05:40PM (#56337109)

      I think you underestimate the entrenchment factor here. Micro$oft is the new "Nobody ever got fired for using IBM."

      • Arbitrary termination, common employee failings, and MS pocketing account balances are pretty negative business reasons alright.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually he is correct. If anyone of my employees attempted to propose a microsoft solution they would be fired on the spot. We switched to linux for a very good reason after all the insane decisions microsoft has been making and it was probably the best financial and business decision we ever made. Everything has been going wonderfully and our IT team and even most of the non-IT staff couldn't be happier that everything just WORKS now without having to perform what equates to high-tech voodoo just to ge

        • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @07:00PM (#56337615)

          Actually he is correct. If anyone of my employees attempted to propose a microsoft solution they would be fired on the spot.

          All your employees must be terrified of suggesting anything.

          At my workplace, if someone suggests something stupid, we may say "That's stupid", but we don't fire the guy.

        • by DogDude ( 805747 )
          ... says the AC.

          Right. Somehow, our business has been doing well for the past 15 years using MS stuff. It sounds like there might be some pretty poor management in your company (if it exists) that can't handle Windows workstations.

          But, somehow I doubt that this little story is even real.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Lol this is great for business, exactly what they want. Business is probably the reason these rules came in.

      Business wants filters like these to protect employees, and by extension protect themselves from lawsuits over harassment and hostile work environments.

      Businesses won't be worried. These are exactly the same ToS they put on their own services.

    • Much safer to use Google Drive, they'd never remove your content.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      One user says the wrong word on an account and MS locks up your business computer used by that same worker.
      Only use Microsoft for computer games.
    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      You're nuts. If anything like that is in any of our corporate documents or emails, we have bigger problems than a TOS. What corporation do you know that needs to be able to Skype "offensive language"?
    • What business would risk putting their documents on One Drive / Office with these terms?

      These terms are for worthless consumers only. Businesses aren't shitty lower class citizens like the rest of us.

  • Offensive? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @05:36PM (#56337091) Journal

    Please define "Offensive".

    Audience matters. What offends one audience, won't offend another.

    • Please define "Offensive".

      Audience matters. What offends one audience, won't offend another.

      If it's anything that could possibly offend anyone, you are gonna be fucked.

      I can't think of a sentence that I could say or write that wouldn't offend someone... (including this one) /s

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This! We live in an era where everyone is offended by everything different than themselves. Pro-Trump statements offend Obama/Hillary supporters. Pro-Obama/Hillary statements are offensive to Trump supporters. And so forth on every policy topic in society. Open source was at one time offensive to Microsoft. Microsoft's proprietary EULA is offensive to various aficionados of libre software. Every policy, every school of thought, every belief system is offensive to someone out there. And then the offe
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Wait for the SJW to add to that list.
      Politics and funny cartoons about politics.
      Art. No using the wrong words about a movie.
      Words like illegal immigration.
      Anything thats related to or translated from Cyrillic.
    • Offensive to our advertisers.

    • Audience matters. What offends one audience, won't offend another.

      Right, so as a practical matter it's the least common denominator. Which pretty much allows MS to arbitrarily ban people at will. Which theoretically could be bad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please define "Offensive".

      Audience matters. What offends one audience, won't offend another.

      You want today’s definition? Or tomorrow’s? You can’t tell in advance what will be considered offensive. You just suffer the consequences when you overstep their arbitrary and shifting boundaries. Retroactively.

  • You can't, actually, do that on /., which rejects Cyrillic characters outright. But on most sites and with most applications you can replace the characters common between Latin and Cyrillic with those from the latter in the offensive words, and it will defeat today's filters. Of course, the censors will wise up to the technique eventually, but for now it works...

    Not even your target will see it, screaming internally at his inability to call you "an asshole" in response, while enraged over your ability to use the terms like that with impunity.

    • Fuçk you, assholè!

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        Yes, something like that. Except Cyrillic characters would be a better replacement — tails and umlauts at all.

    • We could go international (until they improve the algorithms). One of the best swears is Serbian (swearing champions of Europe - Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria), immortalized in the movie Underground where it is used against both the Nazi and the UN "peace keepers" 50 years later - "Mamku im/ti iebem fashistichku". No translation I have seen gives it justice - the official one is "fucking Fascist motherfucker(s)" but it actually is a promise/intention/desire to fuck the mothers of the fascists (swearing on mothe

  • I'm not welcome anywhere.... ... I give up.

    • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

      There is always IRC.

      What I want to know is how they plan to censor office. Am I not going to be allowed to write certain words into my office documents?

      • Maybe you could try inserting words into your documents and try to pass them up as typos. Sure, your cunter-arguments won't be the breasts, but at least you'll have fun.

  • Encrrypted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @06:00PM (#56337245)

    So, Microsoft is admitting that they can read or watch and listen to encrypted connections. Well, with "Legal Intercept" we knew that for some time. I banned Microsoft from my PC years ago in favor of Linux (KDE Neon on Btrfs). If you don't want MS to be your nanny then its time you moved to Linux as well.

  • Puritan mindset alive - God is watching (over) you, and from there an upbringing "don`t put foul words in your mouth", and on it goes, just always doing the "right" thing, in case of doubt, even more right, to be on the save side. Corporate culture, fitting in automagically....
    • Puritan mindset alive - God is watching (over) you, and from there an upbringing "don`t put foul words in your mouth", and on it goes, just always doing the "right" thing, in case of doubt, even more right, to be on the save side. Corporate culture, fitting in automagically....

      This is not about "Puritanism" or any particular moral standards.

      This is primarily/initially a CYA to protect themselves from the recently-passed FOSTA stupidity, which itself is not about sex trafficking, but getting the censor-camel's nose and his ass both into your pants and your thoughtcrimes.

      With things like Citibank barring the use of any of their services by either individuals or businesses for the legal purchase or sale of firearms, how long do you think it will be before the list of "offensive cont

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Its not a Puritan mindset. The US politics of religious intervention stopped in the 1990's.
      They could not block the early internet, music, lyrics, movies, art, culture. If the USA was allowing religious intervention all that art and culture would have faced bans by the US gov in the 1980-90's.

      The SJW are pushing this.
      What can now ban words, images and users can then ban comments about news and links about US politics.
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @06:02PM (#56337263) Journal

    ...not to bother with Cortana or use Microsoft cloud services.

    "Cortana listening at the wrong moment"?? That's so wrong on several levels.

  • "Sorry, I can't, Skype doesn't allow it."

    • "Talk dirty to me."

      "I haven't used the vacuum cleaner in six months. My sink is full of dishes. I haven't showered in over four days. I can't remember the last time I used mouth wash."

      That kind of thing?

  • She's beautiful.
    The FBI agent reading this.
  • So Microsoft is literally reserving the right to permanently lock you out of your own desktop if it doesn't like what you're doing it.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Thats why MS should only be trusted for computer games.
      Once that account is locked for any reason, so is the log in for the other OS.
  • Yet another reason (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DougDot ( 966387 ) <> on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @06:41PM (#56337509) Homepage

    to not use Microsoft product.

  • by Mike Van Pelt ( 32582 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @06:46PM (#56337541)

    Spam, with no content but "Hey, check this out", and a link to goatse or something stored on OneDrive. They're saying this to give themselves cover when they nuke porno-spammers.

    Any online cloud storage place that lets you share links to your content is infested with this. It's absolutely rampant, along with links to virus-infected documents, images of 419 scam letters, etc. It's the latest dodge to avoid spam filters.

    Now, if they actually do start playing the eavesdropping Mrs. Grundy with peoples' Skype conversations, then we have another issue. But I really doubt that's going to happen. As someone else said, it's probably going to require a complaint about the content they're hosting to trigger action.

  • by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @06:49PM (#56337559) Homepage

    This year marks another interesting milestone, another Linux desktop install and attempt to try to 'survive' without Windows. It's doable now, there's enough gaming choices for native Linux and plenty of emulation available to get a rich fulfilling gamer setup on Linux, at last. And in the nick of time, last fucking thing I need is my frickin' operating system telling me what I can and cannot type, look at, send and receive. Outrageous.

    Still running a dual booting box, but, Windows 10 is seeing very little use now that I've got Linux taking over it's duties and doing a fine job too!

    The point of posting? Try Linux. Start with Mint if you're frightened of Linux. It's plenty easy to use, as easy as Windows most of the time. Microsoft has pulled a lot of really dirty stunts over the years. This latest is the straw that breaks this camel. Done, finished. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gunna go play some SimCity 4 which runs fantastic on wine and Linux, flawless.

  • by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @08:42PM (#56338081) Journal

    the "sex trafficking" laws. There are cam girls and whatnot that sell private shows, guess what some of them use? Yea. Microsoft's enemies (Facebook/Google/Apple) helped back this bill. []

    There's a lot of "OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN@)(*#)$*" bullshit with this. This is how free speech dies, passing laws based on knee jerks that make people, or in this instance, platforms self-censor rather than repealing the 1st amendment.

  • Our engineers are tired of hearing your foul mouths while they data-mine/eavesdrop on your conversations for incriminating evidence and trade secrets. Most of our employees are contractors with no health insurance, so I'm sure you can imagine how hard it is to keep all of our already overworked and underpaid people drinking the cool-aide in the break-room. That, and what-with our government looking for scapegoats and patsies for every nut-job with a gun these days, we feel you will understand. After all, s

  • by Hallux-F-Sinister ( 5127197 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @09:54PM (#56338455)
    Just about the only thing I wonder when I see a story like this is "How the hell is Microsoft still even in business at this point?" Who is propping them up? Isn't everyone using GNU/Linux (or Macs) now? What business is stupid enough to be using Microsoft Office or any other of their crappy software at this point? What government is so careless with their taxpayer's revenue that they can afford to waste it, squander it really, on trash software that causes more problems than it solves? Especially when there are better, free alternatives to everything Microsoft makes? The appropriate response in the future to any story having anything to do with Microsoft should be, "who?"
    • "How the hell is Microsoft still even in business at this point?" Who is propping them up?

      Paying enterprise customers who aren't treated like shit like the rest of us. Don't pretend we are all equal.

    • Inertia is a powerful thing.

      For instance, I've lost confidence in Canonical Inc and therefore in Ubuntu Linux. But I'm not going to up and migrate all my company's systems to something else. Because that would be a huge amount of labor for dubious business value.

      I think the same sort of thing happens with companies who are running Microsoft desktops. The setup they have works fairly well, so they're not going to invest the effort and risk of changing to something else.

  • by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2018 @03:57AM (#56339471)

    If you use any offensive language anywhere on or near your computer, or store files that have offensive contents, or do anything that's offensive to someone somewhere without even using a computer, Microsoft will withdraw your Windows 10 license and erase all your... I mean _their_, who are we kidding after all... files.

    Yeah, this AI revolution will be so great... Only yesterday having automated nannies watching over everyone's shoulders and approving, or disapproving, their behaviour seemed like a dystopian future. Now it seems like it has become a dystopian _now_...

  • Go Microsoft Yourself.

    It's about time we made that innuendo mainstream.

  • ... and be done with it.

    Obviously you can't do that via Skype, but if you're storing your data on Microsoft's servers (cloud! synergy! apps!) why aren't you encrypting it?

    Then, they can't see inside that data to look for "offensive" content.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith