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Examples of software forcing to ignore laws or rules
4 points by laacz on Feb 14, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 1 comment
Are there any other examples of computer programs getting groups or nations to adopt non conformant behaviour because of a tiny inconvenience or a bug?

For example, in Latvia we have a grammar rule, which requires a dot after ordinal numerals. For example, "1. vieta" (meaning "1st place") should be written with a dot and a space before next word (ignoring the fact that it should be non-breaking space).

Since Microsoft Word could not spell check Latvian at the time, by default it automatically capitalized first letter of following word, recognizing it as the start of a new sentence.

Quick workaround obviously was omitting space after a dot, which went into documents, laws, legal papers then and even now. It became a recommendation without explanation, so it became standard even being against grammar rules.

Though Word has long learned checking Latvian and not autocapitalizing in these cases, many people still are writing ordinals without space after the dot.

I'm aware of one somewhat similar case.

When I learned French (as a non native speaker) I was told that capital letters are not accented.

Later when I lived in France I found out that while this is common practice, it is neither universal nor normative and came about because typewriters typically couldn't produce accented capital letters.

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