Apple is Deleting Emails That Contain the Phrase 'Barely Legal Teens'

Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:29pm by iClarified | Please help us and submit a translation by clicking here | 10460 views

It appears Apple is taking its spam filtering one step too far and permanently deleting any emails that contain the phrase 'barely legal teens'.

The issue was discovered by Steven G., an Academy Award-winning developer of screenplay-writing software. Steven detailed his discovery to InfoWorld.

A screenwriter was delivering a PDF attachment of a draft of his script to the project's director, by emailing it from his iCloud/MobileMe account to Gmail. The problem? The script would never arrive, no matter how many times he would send it. But sending other PDF documents worked fine.

I figured, wow -- is this some sort of spectacular failure of our screenwriting software (Movie Magic Screenwriter)? Our software had generated the PDF, so maybe we had accidentally generated information that was somehow matching the profile of a virus, or malware, causing the document to be rejected by Apple's mail servers.

After obtaining a copy of the PDF (sent via Gmail to our Microsoft Exchange server), we confirmed the exact same behavior when we tried to send it to our own iCloud mailbox. The email never arrived, nor did we receive any return notification.


After experimenting, Steven discovered that although a zipped version of the document would not be delivered, an encrypted archive would be delivered successfully. Breaking the document in chunks he eventually found the problem.

AND THEN I SAW IT -- a line in the script, describing a character viewing an advertisement for a pornographic site on his computer screen. Upon modifying this line, the entire document was delivered with no problem.

It appears that Apple is scanning each word in emails and attachments and upon seeing 'barely legal teens', the company simply deletes the email instead of marking it as spam.

We've tested this ourselves using a plain text email with the text 'All my children are barely legal teens -- why would I want to let them drive by themselves?' The email was never delivered.

iCloud users may be upset to learn that according to their terms of service Apple can delete any of their emails if the company deems them inappropriate.

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.

Interestingly, Microsoft has just launched a campaign against Google's Gmail for screening emails to sell ads. Although Apple is likely screening email to prevent the build up of junk mail, it's giving itself the permission to censor your emails based on its definition of appropriate.

Read More [via CultofMac]


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Lamont - February 28, 2013 at 9:43pm
I tried it twice in the subject and it went through without problem
Rockne1865 - February 28, 2013 at 3:29am
Unacceptable!
Keith - February 27, 2013 at 10:03pm
No, not good apple. You stupid fuck. It comes down to the fact that it shouldn't be anyone's damn business what is in someone's email except the sender and the recirver. Stop being such a mindless drone. And I just tried it. Didnt filter my email.
ed - February 27, 2013 at 9:25am
Good apple, hate perverted people and most of the times are not barely legal but underage girls!
Petr - February 27, 2013 at 4:14am
That's the point. I'm waiting for my new imac for pickup. I think I don't want it anymore.
18 More Comments
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