Wednesday, August 1, 2007


My class today deals with current issues and policies. My teacher gave me this article to examine and I found it extremely interesting. It really makes a person think about what is discrimination and what is protection.

God is fine, but internet users take the name of Allah in vain
Email Print Normal font Large font By Nick O'Malley and agencies
February 27, 2006

YAHOO! has changed its rules on the words it allows in email addresses after a man discovered he could not register an account because his surname contained the word Allah.

Ed Callahan said he tried to establish the email account with the internet portal in the US after his mother, who has the same surname, could not get one.

He discovered that email addresses with other religious words were allowed, but not those that included Allah.

"On one level this is just silliness. But we have a war on terrorism and it's migrating to be a war on Muslims - this just shows the confusion there is between the two and how pervasive this is," Mr Callahan told the online journal The Register.

The incident has become a talking point on technology blogs. Many engaged in the debate have noted that Yahoo! was at the forefront of a recent campaign to keep the internet free of Government censorship in the US.

Yahoo! now says it has changed its policy to allow the word. In a written statement, the company defended the previous policy as an attempt to protect users from hateful speech.

"A small number of people registered for IDs using specific terms with the sole purpose of promoting hate and then used those IDs to post content that was harmful or threatening to others, thus violating Yahoo!'s terms of service," the statement said.

Another internet user with the letters of Allah in his online name, "Kallahar", claims to have tested Yahoo!'s system before it was changed to see which other words were banned. God was allowed, but Allah was banned; Bin Laden was banned, but "terrorist" was allowed.

Mr Callahan, who set up a webpage in protest at what he saw as discrimination against Muslims on behalf of Yahoo, has a new email address which includes the phrase "alla is in Callahan".

So is it right to block certain names to protect themselves from having inappropriate material posted? Or is it just plain discrimination?

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