Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In ur Amazon, hax0ring your search results and rankingZ????

The blogsphere has been in a justified uproar for the last few days over what was thought to be Amazon.com's (one of the largest if not the largest online retail site on the internet today) decision to remove listings and rankings on most of its homosexual material (both domestic and international) on the grounds that it was offensive. Mind you though this does not explain heterosexual material was relatively unscathed in all this.

Well it seems that perhaps the firestorm might be a bit premature. According to this piece at Fox News.com this may all be the result of a hacker's ill intentions or a programming error.

At first former Amazon employee Mike Daisey, said it was the result of an administrator on the French version of Amazon confusing the English words for "adult" and "erotic." Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith told Fox News via email, "It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay & Lesbian themed titles — in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive & Sexual Medicine, and Erotica". She also seemed to give indication that something along the lines of Daisey theory was the cause.

On Monday morning a hacker going by (or at least claiming the identity of) "Weev" came forward to take credit for Amazon's troubles.

"I guess my game is up!", he, or someone claiming to be him, wrote. "Here's a nice piece I like to call 'how to cause moral outrage from the entire Internet in ten lines of code.'"

Another blogger tested the method and code Weev claims to have used to perform this act and concluded that while it did not work the it may be possible for the code to work if it were debugged (the process of finding and fixing errors and anomolies in computer code).

Although the details behind the cause have not been ironed out Amazon has already restored the sales rank and listing information on some of the material and will be working to make sure they are all properly restored.

So it might be a bit too soon to commence with the anit-Amazon hatred...