Have you ever had your Xbox Live experience ruined by a potty-mouthed opponent?
As reported by Ars Technica, the U.S. Patent Office has granted Microsoft a patent for real-time censoring of audio streams. Presumably, this is intended to help shoot down unwanted F-bombs before they detonate in the ears of innocent Xbox Live gamers.
If the technology is implemented, one wonders whether MS would permit a free-fire zone on XBL for players who enjoy an uncensored, trash-talking game experience.
Ars Technica' Jonathan Gitlin, however, worries about non-gaming deployment of the new tech:
I can also envisage a more sinister role, however... Imagine the same system applied to digital telephony, then think how valuable such a system might be to an authoritarian regime. As we've seen to good effect in Burma and elsewhere, the ubiquity of cell phones has been a good thing for dissidents who need to get their message out or organize themselves. The Great Firewall of China already blocks objectionable web content from reaching Chinese computers; what's to stop cell phones from censoring anti-government conversations too?