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Off topic: Which name would you chose
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:20
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Sep 13, 2006

if your name would get banned by email providers?

One Finnish journalist noticed these days, that something was wrong with her email. British partners phoned and inquired, why she had not answered their mail. She found out, that the British service provider had filtered for some time all mail wich came from persons with (in her case) "Abu" in the name field. So arabic names were banned without any notice.
This journalist had to invent a new email personality, she chose "Amanda Wilhelmsson".
What else could she have done?

Regards
Heinrich


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Nadia-Anastasia Fahmi  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 10:20
Member (2004)
English to Greek
+ ...
I hate it and fight for my rights... Sep 13, 2006

Demand that the service provider respect her name and person, perhaps?

At least that's what I would have done and raised hell about it, especially since I am paying the provider good money.

Such practices make me furious, since I also have an Arabic last name and face all sorts of discrimination.



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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:20
English to German
+ ...
Still raise hell Sep 13, 2006

First I would have changed the provider and then I would have contacted an organisation which fights for human rights and personal freedom and tried to receive support for a law suit from them.

I have a Polish or Russian sounding last name and sometimes found that people reacted strangely to it (apart from difficulties with spelling it correctly ).

The most funny thing was a case when we received a letter written in Polish from some research institute who had collected names from the telephone book or Internet and looked for people who were willing to take part in some sort of research project on resettlers or something like that.
We called them and asked what this letter was about and they apologized. Their imagination simply had not taken them far enough to guess that families with foreign sounding names may already have lived in Germany for so many generations that they have not the slightest knowledge of the language spoken in the land their ancestors once came from.

In Germany we have the saying "Du kannst gar nicht so dumm denken, wie es kommen kann" meaning you simply cannot imagine how ridiculous situations may become.

Discriminating people because of their names is one of the most stupid things I can imagine. As if someone who goes by the name of John Doe could not build a bomb as well.


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Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 09:20
English to German
+ ...
Agree in principle Sep 13, 2006

Nadia Fahmi wrote:

Demand that the service provider respect her name and person, perhaps?

At least that's what I would have done and raised hell about it, especially since I am paying the provider good money.

Such practices make me furious, since I also have an Arabic last name and face all sorts of discrimination.



While I sympathize with your attitude, and discrimination of any kind infuriates me, you (and me...) as a freelancer could lose a LOT of business due to a blocked e-mail account until an internet provider might eventually come round and see things your way, if that happens at all. I'd rather change providers. And then contact a human rights organization, as Claudia suggests. (By the way, that saying is so true! )


[Edited at 2006-09-13 12:37]


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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:20
Member (2004)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
funny things happen sometimes Sep 13, 2006

I was once translating a series of trade union materials dealing with their struggle against a large US retail store corporation, let's call it XYZ. The client sent me an e-mail with the Subject that read like "A new XYZ job", which I never received. When I inquired with my e-mail service provider about the lost message, I was informed that it had been filtered out by the header because XYZ was in some "global blacklist"... so much global that the provider even couldn't (or wouldn't) edit it!

(I must say that my provider is doing good job filtering out spam, and I generally appreciate it.)

Perhaps they have some particularly annoying spammer in the UK called Abu.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:20
French to English
Some local knowledge for you Sep 13, 2006

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:
First I would have changed the provider and then I would have contacted an organisation which fights for human rights and personal freedom and tried to receive support for a law suit from them.


Note that it would appear not to be the journalist's (Finnish?) provider who blocked the emails, but the recipients' provider(s?). It should not have been beyond their capabilities to make an exception if asked so to do.

The local knowledge to which I refer in the title? There was a notorious Moslem cleric over here (in the UK) by the name of Abu Hamza, who made a name for himself by stirring up Islam extremism, to such an extent that he was eventually convicted of incitement to murder. Given that his activities are thus deemed illegal in the UK, and that distributing email relating to them could perhaps be deemed as aiding and abetting such activities, it is no surprise to me that UK ISPs filter out emails containing the word "Abu".


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Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
Japanese to English
+ ...
Where could that kind of thinking go? Sep 13, 2006

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:
First I would have changed the provider and then I would have contacted an organisation which fights for human rights and personal freedom and tried to receive support for a law suit from them.


Note that it would appear not to be the journalist's (Finnish?) provider who blocked the emails, but the recipients' provider(s?). It should not have been beyond their capabilities to make an exception if asked so to do.

The local knowledge to which I refer in the title? There was a notorious Moslem cleric over here (in the UK) by the name of Abu Hamza, who made a name for himself by stirring up Islam extremism, to such an extent that he was eventually convicted of incitement to murder. Given that his activities are thus deemed illegal in the UK, and that distributing email relating to them could perhaps be deemed as aiding and abetting such activities, it is no surprise to me that UK ISPs filter out emails containing the word "Abu".


While I understand this justification to an extent, could we expect equal treatment should a terrorist named John become equally as notorious?


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:20
English to German
+ ...
So what? Sep 13, 2006


The local knowledge to which I refer in the title? There was a notorious Moslem cleric over here (in the UK) by the name of Abu Hamza, who made a name for himself by stirring up Islam extremism, to such an extent that he was eventually convicted of incitement to murder. Given that his activities are thus deemed illegal in the UK, and that distributing email relating to them could perhaps be deemed as aiding and abetting such activities, it is no surprise to me that UK ISPs filter out emails containing the word "Abu".


As I stated before, it is absolute nonsense to discriminate a person because of his or her name. Criminal people will have no problem changing their names as often as they like. The people you punish are always those who have nothing to do with it but just happen to be born with the same name. The same is true for almost all similar kinds of hasty security actionism aimed against terrorism today.

What if the same happened to you because someone named Charlie became notorious? Would it then come to you as a surprise?


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:20
French to English
Please learn to tell the difference... Sep 13, 2006

... between explanation and justification. I didn't say that it was right or wrong, I merely attempted to provide a possible reason for it.

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:
As I stated before, it is absolute nonsense to discriminate a person because of his or her name. Criminal people will have no problem changing their names as often as they like.


Quite so. However, my feeling is that this possibly occured specifically because of the word "Abu", and not just for Arab names in general. Yes, it's undoubtedly an over-reaction, but I don't think that anyone who has posted a reply on this thread is fully aware of the poisonous atmosphere in the UK at the moment as regards this issue. Did you know, for example, that we no longer have the automatic right to freedom of association?

See "informal censorship" in the link below - it's not exactly about filtering email, but it's related to it. If an ISP is caught "promoting terrorism", an offence created at least in part because of Abu Hamza's activities in the UK (of which I assume you are blissfully ignorant), it could be in big trouble. So they are over cautious / over-react

http://www.irr.org.uk/2006/may/ak000006.html


What if the same happened to you because someone named Charlie became notorious? Would it then come to you as a surprise?

A similar point to the one that Can made.
In fact, if I were to be convicted of some terrorism/incitement offence, it would not surprise me in the slightest if filters were at least applied to "Bavington", if not to Charlie. Likewise, in fact, for other offences, such as child pornography.

As I say, in the current climate in the UK, ISPs can take no chances. And as I say, I'm not justifying it, merely explaining.

Edited to say that yes, I can see that filtering all "Abu" names is undoubtedly unncessary in reality - I would say this also stems from ignorance about which parts of Arab names are the "forename" and which the "surname", and a lack of sophistication in terms of UK ISPS being able to fine tune their filters adequately when dealing with a foreign language (which would probably not happen with "Charlie" if I were convicted of the same offences as Abu Hamza).

[Edited at 2006-09-13 21:20]


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:20
English to German
+ ...
I understand that Sep 13, 2006

Charlie Bavington wrote:

... between explanation and justification. I didn't say that it was right or wrong, I merely attempted to provide a possible reason for it.


Neither did I say you did. But you did write, you were not surprised. So I asked if you would be surprised if the same measure was taken for your own name.


Quite so. However, my feeling is that this possibly occured specifically because of the word "Abu", and not just for Arab names in general.


Either I do not get your point here, or you did not get mine.
It is about names in general, whether they are Arab, Russian, British, German or whatever. It makes no sense other than to, well yes, terrorize people who should be protected from terrorism. But this would lead us deeply into a political discussion which does not belong on Proz.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:20
French to English
Clarification Sep 14, 2006

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:

Neither did I say you did. But you did write, you were not surprised. So I asked if you would be surprised if the same measure was taken for your own name.

No, I am not surprised that filters are applied to the name "Abu" by UK ISPs, because of the association (rightly or wrongly, over-reaction, the current climate in the UK, applied in ignorance, whatever the reason) with "Abu Hamza". And only for that.

Therefore, as I said, I absolutely would not be surprised if my name were blocked if I did what Abu Hamza has been convicted of.


Either I do not get your point here, or you did not get mine.
It is about names in general, whether they are Arab, Russian, British, German or whatever.

Ah ha This is therefore why we are having this discussion My argument is that the Finnish journalist had her emails filtered by UK ISPs not simply because she has an Arab name, but specifically because that name includes "Abu".

Otherwise, of course, I agree with you. But pending evidence to the contrary, I'm not aware of a general policy in the UK of filtering emails from people called Muhammed, Ivan or Hans. Just emails containing the word Abu.

Although apparently some folks with Arab-sounding names ARE experiencing difficulty opening bank accounts nowadays, so clearly we should not be complacent.

(smileys intended to indicate friendly discussion, and not that I don't take your point seriously)



[Edited at 2006-09-14 00:02]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:20
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The real problem was, that nobody informed the sender Sep 14, 2006

If providers start to filter mails from individuals and reject them without notice to anyone concerned, then that is the end of email as we know it. I don't talk about mass-mailed junk, but professional communication. And that should probably condern us all, since our profession depends 100 % on the exchange of email.
Regards
Heinrich


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casey
United States
Local time: 03:20
Member
Japanese to English
Not that it adds anything to the discussion, but.... Sep 14, 2006

"Abu" is also a Japanese name....:)

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:20
English to French
+ ...
I simply want to say that... Sep 14, 2006

...in today's society, we terrorize ourselves with made-up terrorism that doesn't really exist - and we are all getting sicker by the day...

It is exactly such overreactions that make us afraid of everything anymore - and many people endure much injustice because of this.

My true feelings: half sad, half sick to my stomach.

People, we are doing it to ourselves!


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:20
English to German
+ ...
Thank you so much for pointing this out! Sep 14, 2006



(smileys intended to indicate friendly discussion, and not that I don't take your point seriously)



This is sooo nice, I really had to laugh! Thank you. I feel pacified enough not to growl at you any more.

The problem is, how to react in a sensible way without causing more collateral damage than the actual deeds did. I agree, we should not be complacent.


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