The Great Debate UK

Apple – stop defacing dictionaries and reread Orwell



- Mic Wright is Online News Editor at Stuff. The views expressed are his own -

When Amazon got rightly torn to shreds for remotely killing copies of 1984 on the Kindle, I thought it would be the most idiotic tech story of the year. But I was wrong. Apple’s just upped the ante by banning rude words from a dictionary application – stripping us of the virtual equivalent of looking up obscenities in French class.

Ninjawords Dictionary, a dictionary app from the creators of the excellent website of the same name, is available from the iTunes Store for £1.19. When you go to download it you will be faced with a warning that it “might contain material objectionable to children under 17″. Based on conversations I overhear on the train daily, I think that’s unlikely.

That warning is just the start of Apple’s interference with the dictionary. It’s also made the creators omit words it considers objectionable, such as the “c-word”, as my nan would put it. That’s right app fans, Apple just censored a dictionary.

Go in to any school and you’ll find English dictionaries on the shelf, accessible to children and absolutely chock full of “objectionable” words. Best start burning them because Apple’s made us realise that words can definitely hurt you. Or at least, your sales in the iTunes App Store.