FirstGov turns up '7 dirty words'

The FCC transcript of the George Carlin monologue

Here's another new service brought to you by FirstGov, the new governmentwide

Internet portal.

The General Services Administration has used FirstGov to search federal

Web pages for offensive words, according to Marty Wagner, GSA's associate

administrator for governmentwide policy.

Specifically, GSA searched for the seven words that satirist George Carlin

identified in 1973 as "the words you couldn't say on the public airwaves...ever."

Wagner disclosed the search during an address to the Armed Forces Communications

and Electronics Association Nov. 20

The FirstGov search engine is capable of conducting rapid full-text searches

of all 27 million federal government Internet pages. GSA searched for the

seven words and then alerted agencies if any of the words showed up on their

Web pages, Wagner said. The agencies were expected to remove the offending

pages.

A search Nov. 21, however, reveals that the seven words remain, from 488

uses of the "s" word to just five for a three-syllable noun.

A spot-check of search returns, however, revealed that in almost all instances,

the offending words were not used by government employees. Most were used

by members of the public while commenting on government regulations, and

a number were used in reference to vexing computer problems.

Many were quotations cited in court cases and administrative proceedings.

A few were military abbreviations or acronyms, a few were references to

birds, and at least one was part of a film title.

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