Google phone’s censorship calls to mind Orwell’s ‘1984’

We techno-geeks shall now liken George Orwell with the famous biblical prophet Jeremiah. Why this strange alignment, Johnny? Orwell created a fantastic, apocalyptic vision of the future in his classic novel “1984,” which points to a future of governmental control, strange physical relationships and, more importantly, censorship to the max.

The engineers and corporate folk at Google must have taken a liking to Orwell’s famous novel with the release of the new Google Nexus One smart phone. The seemingly innocuous Nexus One has one harrowing feature: in its voice-to-text element, the phone filters out potentially offensive curse words, which we all tend to use sometimes, some more than others (you know who you are).

According to Google, this aspect of the phone is not to censor or dumb down the speaker’s words. The censoring is just there to avoid potential errors when one is transcribing his or her voice to words on the phone. Right.

I can imagine it now, an angry boss yelling at his employee for failing to acquire the big Johnson account. Mr. Big Boss is angry and is letting his timid employee have it over the phone. This won’t work though, if Google’s Nexus One sets a trend for phones in the future. The scared employee will just see random symbols as the scary words are censored by a veil of textual symbols.

Is this voice-to-text feature harmless? Perhaps, but I have frightening visions of Orwell’s “1984” coming to fruition when I try to yell at my best friend over the phone.

I hope that Google is being honest with the censorship feature on their new Nexus One phone. I do not want to wake up tomorrow and see Big Brother standing over my bed with a big grin on his face.

Danny Peters is a junior psychology major from Fort Worth.