Apple may be censoring iCloud email, “filter” cited

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Date: Monday, January 26th, 2015, 14:22
Category: iCloud, Legal, News, Software

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This seems a bit unsavory.

Per a lengthy post over on Reddit, a user under the handle of “Unagi33” has given a detailed description as to how Apple may be censoring their iCloud email. The story goes through the user’s transition from Gmail to iCloud-based email, initial problems the user experienced and a description as to how the user, who’s studying for the bar exam, sometimes needed to include porn site addresses in emails to friends as a means of offering advice. The iCloud mail, for its part, apparently censored and/or deleted the emails linking to adult content, which is interesting on a lot of levels.

Here you go.

Story time : I have always used Gmail. I started using it when you still needed an invite. But since I started using Apple hardware more and more, and since I also wanted to get away from Google as much as I could, I was very happy when Apple introduced iCloud. I had tried MobileMe (and still have my .me address) but I was never satisfied by it.

So as soon an I got my iCloud account, I started redirecting all my mail from Gmail to iCloud, using iCloud Mail as my only address. Although the web app and many features were IMHO lacking, I stuck to iCloud. It felt very good to see Mail on iOS and OS X finally handle my email correctly. It felt good not to see ads near my email anymore. It felt good to have escaped the Google grasp a bit.
I had read about how iCloud supposedly filtered some emails. I don’t mean putting them in the Spam folder. That would me nice. No, I mean, like you’ll read in the articles I’ve linked to, iCloud deletes these emails before they even reach you, before you even know you were supposed to receive them. But honestly, I couldn’t really believe it.

I’m preparing the bar exam. For that reason, friends sometimes ask me for free legal advice. Two weeks ago, a friend of mine received a lawsuit from a lawyer, claiming my friend’s website, which helps people cancelling their account on shady porn websites, was very detrimental to the financial health of many websites. These shady websites were quoted in the email. These were unambiguous, explicit names. He transferred that email to me.

After an hour, my friend called me “Did you receive my email ?”. I didn’t. I asked him to send it again. Nothing. This guy and I exchange emails every other day and never had a problem. I asked him to send to email again. He did once on my me.com address, once on my iCloud.com address. I never received these emails. Since then, all his other emails have arrived.

I asked him to send the email to my old gmail address and BAM ! I received it instantly. I was taken aback, hard ! (not sure if english, I’m not a native speaker). I had never thought it would happen to me.

I called Apple. They told me there was a filter, as specified in the Terms of use. They told my they understood that, with my job, I would need sometimes to read emails regarding shady content, but they couldn’t change the filter for me.

They sent me an email with a copy of the Terms of service and a link to apple.com/feedback
Now I’m a pretty hardcore Apple fan. I own an iPad, a Macbook Air and an iPhone. I was considering buying an Apple Watch. But this ! This changes everything.

This choice of theirs is extremely hypocritical. Apple is posing as this cool, modern company and yet they think we users are not smart enough to know good from evil. This email could easily have been sent to the spam. I would have been a little annoyed to put it back in the inbox (since it comes from a VIP contact) but that’s ok. Deleting it, though ? What the fuck ? I am SO disappointed ! I am now back to Gmail and I don’t see myself leaving again. I trusted Apple, I put up with some of iCloud Mail’s shortcomings. I was rewarded by being treated like a child. It’s ridiculous.

I just wanted to tell you guys about my story. I just wanted to let you know that it only appears harmless until it happens to you. If your job has anything to do with sometimes-illegal-stuff, iCloud Mail is unreliable. If you have anything to do with what Apple, in a very puritan way, considers “unpure”, like porn websites, they will censor you.

If you’ve seen anything like this on your end, please let us know in the comments and help get the word out.

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7 Responses to “Apple may be censoring iCloud email, “filter” cited”

  1. RT @JasonOGrady: Apple may be censoring iCloud email, “filter” cited http://t.co/sotngranQd

  2. RT @JasonOGrady: Apple may be censoring iCloud email, “filter” cited http://t.co/sotngranQd

  3. Bogus. I just sent the following email from one of my non-Apple accounts to my iCloud account:

    http://www.pornhub.com
    http://www.xxxhampster.com
    http://www.pornhub.com

    cunt
    fuck
    cock
    jizz
    cum

    Immediately received it. Not sure what the Reddit user was talking about, but I seriously doubt their story.

  4. A realistic response might be to use some other free email or the one you pay for with your internet service.
    This policy has been in place forever, did you really just find out about it or does it just make good link bait? I wish they were better at filtering out some of the social engineering, etc.. links that come though, actually.

  5. It makes me want to start using iCloud mail. I never need to see email with porn sites in them. This sounds like a great feature to me!

  6. I just had this happen to me. My wife and I are in escrow on a house. Forwarded an email from our mortgage company to our accountant 3 times on 3 different days, email showed as sent on all devices, but was never received. We almost just had a loan catastrophe involving a missing letter of explanation and a looming deadline. This is unacceptable behavior from Apple. Is the only way around this to use a different email provider?

  7. Our ski club (Ski Club of Manchester) runs a couple of mailing lists.
    me.com users don’t get any messages because posts contain the web site address http://www.scom.org.uk and unsubscribe links.
    I found apple are dropping all messages with scom.org in the body or subject both to and from icon.com and me. com addresses.