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Verizon, Cingular whitewash mobile content [update 1]

Vladimir Cole

If you were hoping to download saucy content (games, ringtones, music, videos, text) of any sort from Verizon, forget about it. The company has created ultra-conservative new internal guidelines that ban a variety of edgy content, most of it having to do with sinful body parts or sinful acts of human procreation, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed the documents.

But Verizon's got competition in the race to become the network of choice for old people, conservatives and other fuddy-duddies. Cingular has also developed content standards that far exceed broadcast standards. For example, Cingular bans the words "lesbian," and "condom." In other words, forget about an educational video game having to do with contraception, or about game dialogue that uses common English to describe what must surely be (in the view of censors) filthy and unnatural homosexual relationships. Cingular also bans the word "pee pee" and any video game rated "Mature" or "Adult," in addition to T-rated games that include anything more than "mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes."

Hopefully Verizon and Cingular are also working on a way to eliminate naughty words from appearing in the text messages sent by their users. (You might think that's crazy talk, but there's precedent for it. The Bloomberg terminal -- at one time widely used by the finance community for zipping off fast, quick emails -- bans all naughty words from the proprietary network, even those sent from one adult to another via Bloomberg email. Guys named Dick were not too happy that they were unable to sign their own emails when the ban was implemented.)

Verizon's not above using sex to sell themselves to gamers, but heaven forefend that gamers try to download any racy Joanna Dark photos to their Verizon phones.

[Update 1: updated post to include link to free access to WSJ content]

Verizon owns Engadget's parent company, Oath (formerly AOL). Rest assured, Verizon has no control over our coverage. Engadget remains editorially independent.

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