Monday, 04 Aug, 2008 Offbeat
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Kiwi Town Banned in Cyberspace Because Its Name Sounds Like the F-Word

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Kiwi Town Banned in Cyberspace Because Its Name Sounds Like the F-WordA small town found in New Zealand was banned in cyberspace due to the fact that its name sounds almost like the offensive F-word.

The news regarding the censorship was discovered when one of the visitors to the tourist town located on the east coast of the North Island attempted to connect to Freenet, a wireless service of the local council.

When he entered the search term "Whakatane", his Internet searches were discarded and the Freenet website provided the following information: "The content is filtered so this service is for legitimate use.''

It is worth mentioning that the combination of letters "WH" in Maori is pronounced as "F".

According to Barney Dzowa, spokesman for the Whakatane District Council, the problem connected with the rejection of the searches results for "Whakatane" is linked with the pronunciation of the town's name.

"The content filter is an American-based product, and it does a phonetic analysis of what has been typed in,'' the spokesman said.

"Whakatane, to the system, sounds like an F-word," he added.

After the problem was unveiled, the council has added the town's name to a list which features words that can take priority over the content filter.

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