FirstGov turns up '7 dirty words'
- By William Matthews
- Nov 21, 2000
The FCC transcript of the George Carlin monologue
Here's another new service brought to you by FirstGov, the new governmentwide
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
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.