Blacklisting Banned; Citizens Advice Axes 'Offensive' Word and Tells Staff to Use 'Blocklisting'

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Bates

THE Citizens Advice service has banned staff from using the term 'blacklisting' over fears that it is offensive and 'fosters stereotypes'.

The taxpayer-funded quango, which advises members of the public on consumer, legal and money issues, has instead replaced it with 'blocklisting' to avoid appearing 'prejudicial'.

The two terms are both used in IT to mean the same thing. They refer to what are effectively lists of computers or computer networks which have been identified as sending spam and enable mail servers to ban or flag up mail sent from them. Emails to members of staff at the service say the move has been made to keep 'in line with aims and principles of the Citizens Advice service'.

Critics branded it 'daft' and 'political correctness going over the top', but the Citizens Advice has refused to back down, even though critics say it renders everyday communications unintelligible.

An email about internet spam sent from IT systems to staff and volunteers who help at Citizens Advice's 3,000 locations, reads: 'We have replaced the term "blacklisting" with "blocklisting" in line with the aims and principles of the Citizens Advice service. You are probably aware that the whole service's email has been intermittently blocked up to twice this week for some time now.

'This is because spam sent from within the service causes us all to be blocklisted. …