Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Obscenity: Another reason to hate CAPTCHA

WARNING: The following post contains bad language. If you're not old enough to watch an R-rated movie, I'll see you next time. Yes, I'm serious.

It's often been said that if an infinite number of monkeys were to start banging away at an infinite number of typewriters, one would produce a script of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

What they don't tell you is that - inevitably - one of the other monkeys would end writing up a script of George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words."

Google apparently hired the latter monkey.

To help prevent automated computer scripts from opening accounts on their GrandCentral phone service, Google employs common CAPTCHA word verification. These are images of distorted, randomly (or monkey) generated letters - much like what you'll see if you try to post a comment on this blog.

So while I was browsing through GrandCentral's hundreds of available phone numbers, I saw a lot of fuzzy, warped, random letter combinations.

But this one wasn't all that random-looking.

(full screenshot here)

Honestly, I'm not particularly good at solving CAPTCHA's;* I fail them frequently enough that I check my six for Rick Deckard.

But this one is easy. From the capitalization and clarity, you can tell it's not some muttered, under-the-breath f-bomb - it's a full-fledged curse worthy of Samuel L. Jackson.

And this isn't the first documented case of abusive CAPTCHA, either.

Even if this was being used as an adjective, somebody should be ashamed. Because this stuff isn't fit for Curious George's eyes.

*In my defense, seriously - can you tell how many "v's" this fricking thing has?! And does this have a "v" or a "u" in it?!
If you think I made this up, the image is still on GrandCentral's server here. UPDATE, 1/9, 2:20 PM: The link is dead. If my visit logs are to be believed, give GrandCentral credit for taking it down pretty quickly.


The OE said...

This is why secret agents use confirmation phrases with coded responses in languages where wjzvc isn't a word

Anonymous said...

An excellent point, OE. I hadn't even begun to consider the national security implications of CAPTCHA.