From: CNet News

Microsoft (MS) this week received a new patent on technology which will allow users to bleep out words, in any audio text stream, which are included in a list of pre-defined ‘unacceptable terms’.

The automatic censoring system will likely be welcomed by Web site operators — particularly social networking and media showcase sites such as FaceBook and YouTube which have millions of user uploads to deal with — but Web watchers also fear it will be used for other, less lauditory purposes.

As CNet’s Ina Fried reports, “Ars Technica, which reported on the patent both when Microsoft applied for it in 2004 as well as now that it has been granted, notes that the technology could be used for more than just censoring profanity, suggesting that perhaps China or another government would want it employed for other phrases, such as Tibet or free speech.”

The new technology could also, conceivably, be employed by the cable TV industry and cell phone service providers.

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