Apple May Be Censoring The Email Of iCloud Users

There are very, very few circumstances in which you’d use the term “barely legal teen” in your email, and it’s unlikely that any email being sent to you using that phrase is something you want. That said, there are also very few circumstances in which Apple should be scanning your email for offensive phrases and outright deleting what you send.

You’d think, anyway.

A Hollywood screenwriter did some experimenting and determined that phrase above tripped… something in iCloud that automatically destroyed the message:

It seemed not only was Apple scanning messages for malware, it was also scanning the content of each attachment and exercising some kind of rule about it. Apple wasn’t merely flagging the message or sending to a spam folder, but deleting it outright.

He wasn’t done. He created another PDF containing a variation of the offending line from the screenplay: “All my children are barely legal teens — why would I want to let them drive by themselves?”

Yes, you guessed it. That attachment got sent to email hell. To be certain, Steven created an email with that line in the body of the message and sent it from his Exchange server to his personal iCloud account. That too disappeared into the ether.

From the term triggering this, it’s pretty obvious that this is some form of anti-spam measure that Apple simply hasn’t bothered to mention to this point. It’s not surprising, in a way: Apple wants you on your iPhone, all the time, and if you’re getting pounded by spam, you’re less likely to pay attention to it.

That said, the program taking the extra step to delete the email outright is more than a little troubling, and also raises a pretty important question: What other phrases, if any, trip the Apple censorship machine? And why, precisely, does Apple feel the need to read absolutely everything on your iCloud account?