Pakistan has stepped back from plans to implement a list of more than 1,500 words that were to be banned from being sent in SMS messages. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is reportedly consulting on a much shorter list of words, with no timeframe for implementation.
There was widespread uproar and ridicule when the list was originally circulated earlier this month. Words and phrases such as ‘Jesus Christ’, ‘harder’, ‘idiot’ and ‘monkey’ were reportedly to be banned because of their regular use by terrorists or as terms of insult.
While the list of words attracted much mirth in the west, it’s unlikely that Pakistan is the only country monitoring the use of ‘suspicious’ words in SMS messages. You want to try sending lots of SMS messages with words like ‘jihad’ and ‘praise Allah’ in them, and see what happens?