America’s Tallest Man Has World’s Smallest Problem

It’s annoying when websites require you to prove you’re human — and not a robot — by asking you to type a word or phrase. But we do it all the time because it’s a part of modern living.

But what if you were asked to type a word or phrase that offends you?

That’s what happened last week to Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in America, when he tried to change his password on the website for Electronic Arts, a leading video games manufacturer.

EA uses Captcha, a program that protects against bots. When Vovkovinskiy was asked to type a string of words into a box, he was shocked to find that those words were “mysemen.”

The Guinness-certified, 7-foot 8-inch man’s reaction proved that he is definitely human …. and sensitive.

EA.com via Igor Vovkovinskiy

“I was very offended,” Vovkovinskiy told The Huffington Post. “I didn’t feel a company as reputable as EA would allow words like this to be used on their Captcha. I realize it was not on purpose, but words like this shouldn’t be an option.”

Vovkovinskiy reached out to EA via Twitter on Sunday but said he received no response.

Days later, EA spokeswoman Sandy Goldberg told HuffPost the company knows about this issue and is working on a fix.

“We have been flagging issues to our Captcha vendor in hopes that they can find a way to block inappropriate combinations of letters that may appear in the password reset,” Goldberg to HuffPost by email. “We do use a third-party service …  And, unfortunately, at this time they do not offer the ability to block certain combinations.”

The company has since apologized to Vovkovinskiy through Twitter.

Jarin Udom, a San Diego-based systems engineer, said the naughty phrase was randomly generated and not intentionally meant to offend.

“The non-random Captchas are usually a book scan or a photo of an address or sign,” Udom told HuffPost. “That one is generated by a computer and then distorted to make it harder for a computer to read.”
Jerry Irvine, a member of the National Cyber Security Task Force, said it’s possible other potentially offensive phrases might pop up on the Captcha box at EA.com’ssite.
“Unfortunately, short of creating your own proprietary Captcha application or purchasing a professional version from a reputable vendor, there is little to do to limit the potential for specific words or phrases,” Irvine told HuffPost by email.
That worries Vovkovinskiy because he’s a fan of EA games, many of which are family-friendly. And he doesn’t want a child to go through what he did.
“What if a young kid gets a word like this?” he said.