MOVE OVER shampoo and Scunthorpe, there's a new erroneous blockage in town.
PayPal users in parts of Oxfordshire are having problems caused by the local river, The Isis, and the various street names it has inspired, according to a report on BoingBoing.
The payments company appears to be blocking users with the word 'isis' in their address, as discovered by a resident of Isis Close who was unable to buy a sewing kit on eBay.
Before the terror organisation of the name took over public perception, Isis had a proud history. As well as being a river named after an Egyptian goddess, there's a crater on the moon, an asteroid, a town in Ohio, an area of Queensland in Australia ...
(Breathe in) ... a rapper, a wrestler, characters in Marvel and DC comics, a song by Bob Dylan, a scientific journal, an operating system, a solar-powered phone charger, a routing protocol, a Canadian satellite, a Royal Navy ship, a neutron source and the name of the reserve boating crew at the University of Oxford.
And a water skiing club.
And a Toyota car.
And, more importantly for our story, part of any number of addresses.
So the fact that PayPal has blocked the word 'isis' shows a large quantity of not-thinking-it-throughness.
It's not clear why it happened, but it demonstrates a rather worrying problem: you can't cut ISIS off from the internet. It just won't work.
Apart from anything else, it means blocking the word 'crisis' and that could have disastrous consequences for any number of charitable organisations.
There's actually a term for it: the Scunthorpe Problem. Other examples include shitake mushrooms and the surnames Cockburn (Hotmail suggested C0ckburn to avoid offence) and Callahan (because it contains 'allah').
Superbowl 30 was blocked for some users because it was described as Superbowl XXX. The Horniman, which is a museum in Forest Hill and a pub near HMS Belfast in London, has run into problems too.
Then, as well as Scunthorpe, there's Penistone, Lightwater (took us a minute, that one) and Clitheroe, all of which have fallen foul of filters.
It's not known so far whether PayPal has lifted the blockade so that Mrs Mingeworthy* can get her sewing kit. µ
*or whatever she was called
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