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Foil-The-Filters Contest 120

eon(36.0) / Kathryn Aegis writes: "The Digital Freedom Network today announces the winners of its Foil the Filters Contest. To illustrate the unreliability and political slant of censorware, the DFN asked Netizens to ply the filters with innocuous words, names, or search requests to see what gets blocked. This week is Banned Books Week, so read something naughty today."
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Foil the Filters Contest

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Bush? Gore? Imagine the two together.

    The naked truth is that one might make a killing beating into shape a filter which whacked all their ads. Always thrusting their faces onto our screens, making viewers scream for the election to be over. Pity we have to finger one to be our next head of state; some might argue that both, frankly, blow. Job's the most important in the world and we've only got those two fools. Come on! If only it were over faster...

    Toss them in a boat on the South Seas with an astrolabe and sextant, and see if they even make it to an island. Then vote one off...

    Hm. I wonder if either has ever done snuff. Film companies, incidentally, are they in trouble due to digital cameras, or will they be able to sell film for those making amateur movies? But I digress.

    -- Anon. for THIS post...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Your post is wrong, but I forgive you for assuming that most people are rational human beings. After all, its a trap I frequently fall into.

    First, we would have to move all of the old porn sites over to the new .adt TLD. This is a big problem in itself, but even assuming that goatse.cx (no, don't go there) and its kin get moved over there, problems still exist.

    What about the things that isn't porn but is still the sort of things that some parents will object to? Think of nude statues & paintings, or a biological based discussion on sexual reproduction. I don't object to this personally, but sitting in the middle of the US bible belt, I'm sure plenty of folks will.

    Speaking of things to object to (which probably won't fall under the .adt TLD), what about Occult websites, RPG & "Violent" video game sites, Harry Potter books (yep, all that magic), a website campaigning against female circumcism, or perhaps a news story about Vermont legalizing same sex partnerships, or an organic winebrewing company's website?

    *Shrug* Its been my philosophy that there is a lot of weird stuff in the world today, and by sheltering a kid from it all, you don't protect them, you just make them unable to deal with those problems when they are finally 18/21 and move out.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here's my question: With people claiming to be doing this for the children, who here wishes they had been censored MORE as a child?

    Call me crazy and alone on this one... but... I wish that I had never learned out that my best friend was a 6th grade junkie, that my 4th grade girlfriend's father was a wife beater and a child mollester. I wish I hadn't learned that drunk driving would kill a classmate of mine in 8th grade and I wish that I learned my uncle hadn't committed suicide when I was a freshman in highschool.

    I'm an adult now. I go to work every day with all this stuff in the back of my mind. I sure as hell hope that when I have kids, that this isn't the sort of life experiences that they have.

    Granted, I don't want to see "Touched by an Angel" on every single channel either... I think that sugar coating the world is just as horrible. Plus neither the christian right nor the television networks have any clue as to what is "right" and what is "wrong." (One spends its time bombing abortion clinics and the other thinks Spawn should be an action figure - (granted personally I like spawn - but still its the marketing to children that is inappropriate)).

    I don't like filterware, I don't like censoring reality - but I'd like to give my child (If I ever have a child) at least the ability to have a childhood. So yes, I'll sit down with my child and make sure that they can find out what they want, but damnit if I will make every effort to extend their childhood as long as possible.

    Some parents think filterware is the solution. Fine... they can live in their own diluted worlds filled with the teletubbies (who I do not view as educational television)... and I will defend their right to censor themselves as they see fit. My workplace has every right to prevent me from surfing the web all day - that's fine too -its their dime...

    Just because you don't want a piece of software to work doesn't mean that it shouldn't exist... Filterware has every right to exist just like DeCSS has every right to exist. If you are concerned that they will take away your freedom, help them understand that it is a limited solution and not applicable to everyone and therefore should not be foisted on America as a whole - but offered to individuals as a choice.

    It may be dumb, it may be futile, but they are trying to help. Its not your solution, but damnit, its probably more than you are doing to protect people.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was shocked when I we we read the Diary of Ann Frank in 8th grade. Not because of the things in the book, as I had already read it at home a year before, but what was missing:

    The book has a rather erotic bit in it.. (don't have the book handy, it's been several years so I can't find the reference)

    Of course, being a sexually intrested 8th grader, I flipped right to that section. But it wasn't there. I compaired with my book at home, the publisher removed most of a chapter.
    I assume this was an attempt at censorship while still following the state's required reading laws.
    Did anyone else notice things like this?
  • Sorry, bud. If you're going to explain why everyone has certain beliefs, you've got to include yourself. You think there should be no restriction on information because you've been fed biased information.

    Everyone gets "fed" biased information. It's called subjective experience.

  • >Gur Tvire

    Fascinating how in ROT13, the T and G in The Giver exchange places, and the iv and er in Giver also each reverse, making the phrase only change by two letters; it's almost an anagram as much as a cipher.

    No point, I just noticed that and found it interesting....

  • 'Go outside and play, let the wind blow the stink off of ya.' Idle hands are the devils playground.
    Umm... those contradict, don't they? At least, I know when I went outside to play, it was seldom anything other than "idleness". Oh, sure, I found ways to occupy myself... but there was never a "purpose" or a "goal" which I had in mind. I was most certainly idle.

    Poor kids these days (well, even a lot of kids in my day) -- they don't get any idleness. Their misconcerned parents structure their entire day, don't let them play idlely, and always want to know what they are doing. They don't get to make the mistakes that a kid should be allowed to make -- starting fires, digging through garbage cans, making crude weapons, getting in fights, etc. These are how kids learn, figure out who they are, ease their way into independance.

    Keeping kids from doing what they shouldn't doesn't usually work. Thankfully, because that would be to destroy childhood. Kids need some shielding, but they shouldn't be protected from themselves. If you really want to protect your kid, it's a much more difficult and subtle process than looking over their shoulder all the time -- you have to teach them to protect themselves.

  • Remove all porn and such sites from every other TLD, and replace it with a .sex (or .porn) site. Example: hotteensex.com becomes hotteensex.sex. Then, all you have to do is block the entire TLD.
    Like the NC-17 rating, this could harm any sexual site that wasn't porn, or a site that was only partially pornographic.

    With all the porn segregated into a small, easily detected part of the net, the wide-spread censoring of these areas is innevitable. ISPs, libraries, places of employment will all ban anything with the .sex TLD.

    Now, I think a .xxx or .sex TLD would be a good idea -- fair advertising and all. But I don't think anyone should be forced to register under that name. That would just be asking for censorship. Sex is really important to our culture and to human interaction as a whole. To group all sexual works, even all explicit sexual works, in a category that will be marked "porn" is to cause serious harm to those works.

    A little nudity [justin.org] never hurt anyone.

  • No one fscks with Simon, BOFH!
  • I'm not a U.S. citizen, but I couldn't find handcock or hancock, or whatever the name was she was looking for on a list of U.S. presidents...
    http://www.fujisan.demon.co.uk/USPresidents/presli st.htm [demon.co.uk]
  • And how do you propose this would actually work? Unless you think that all G-rated movies are okay for kids and all PG-rated movies need parental guidance. Somewhere along the line, somebody's going to need to make the decision of what's okay and what's not, and I'd rather that decision be made by the parents as opposed to some beaurocrat at ICANN who has as much judgement as the RIAA does with their ratings.
  • And who decides what's 'porn and such sites'? We've sure been doing a great job so far, right? Slashdot is non-commercial, right? After all, only non-commercial sites are allowed to own .org domains.

    Plus, 'porn and such sites' is a judgement call for everyone. There are a few pictures on sites like http://www.allaboutsex.org which could be considered pornography in a different context, but a negligible minority would actually consider the site pornographic.

  • If you don't trust your kids, supervise them. This is like deciding between an armed guard (you standing over their shoulder) and a security camera (logging everything). I'd prefer an armed guard any day.
  • No, I just find the armed guard to be a much friendlier gesture.
  • Isn't that the one where you throw cold water on the Wintel box and it turns into an iMac?
  • When I have kids, this is what I'll do: I'll proxy all traffic from the house and log it. I'll tell my kids that I'm doing this, and that they can go to any site they want, but I'll know about it. Then I'll tell them that if they want the logging stopped they'll have to crack the proxy box... :-)
  • On a similiar note, I would just like to say that I really wanted to watch the US basketball play Italy on TV. The announcers would have had fun with Italy's Gregor Fucka [yahoo.com] . It also would have been nice to have them point out Fucka's mom if she was in attendance. And yes, I could make the obvious joke about head nuns with this name, but of course I won't.

    If you like this sort of thing then go to google and do a search on Dikshit. That is of course, if you don't have filtering software.

  • No, I wish. My karma's at 50. It's totally depressing.

    BTW, thanks to whoever moderated my post down from +2 Funny to +1, Redundant. It really was redundant, and deserves no karma. Not to say that I shouldn't have posted it. But it ought to be a +1, right where it is.

  • And you've got no right saying where your post "ought to be" - that's why not being allowed to moderate your own posts is a Good Thing (tm)

    Sure I do. I shouldn't be able to moderate my own posts, but there's nothing wrong with my having an opinion about where my own post ought to be ranked. This post, for example, shouldn't be at a 5, or a 4, or a 3, or a 2, and quite probably not a 1. (But I can't do anything about that, though I expect that somebody else will.)

    That didn't feel so wrong.

  • This has had me laughing all day:

    "Peacefire's Bennett Haselton takes the prize for his fun with Cybersitter. Bennett started with this phrase: 'Gary Bauer is a staunch anti-homosexual conservative who sees the gay movement as absolutely pure fascism and thinks movies of men with men are the greatest terror.'

    "After Cybersitter's keen filters attacked it, here's what came out: 'Gary Bauer is a staunch anti-conservative who sees the gay movement as absolutely pure and thinks movies of men with men are the greatest.'

  • I assume this was an attempt at censorship while still following the state's required reading laws.

    Not necessarily. I believe that for much of the book's life in print, Anne's father (or the surviving relative that published the book, I think it was her father) censored a couple of the more sexually-charged passages. Eventually, the powers-that-be were convinced to release a new, complete, edition.

  • The better ideas always com from technical minds. The key problem is that we (techies) can't (or don't want to) mess with the marketing world.
    So. Even if the product EXISTS , it would be so difficult to sell as a filter replacement.
    Imagine one of those nice black boxes with embeeded Linux running a firewall/HTTP requests logger, and who knows what else...(Imagine a cluster of this...I had to say it..jejeje.)
    with a nice HTML interface that you can access from your browser to control, audit, etc.
    Interesting...I only need a name for it...
    It would be a nice thing. I would buy it.
  • You forgot that Microsoft would soon integrate it into Windows2000 1/2 and would introduce some some secret code alerting microsoft of your secret sexual pervertions.
    But anyway, I still like the idea.
    Does anybody made something like this already?
  • by Rotten ( 8785 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @11:46AM (#746525) Journal
    If you have kids, and you are really interested in what the are reading, searching or looking in the internet, just install a fucking proxy and the take some time to: 1) Review the logs and where your kid has gone. 2) Talk about it whit him/her. If you can't do this, your problem is not the adult content at some internet sites...your real problem is just that Parenting is not for you. I'm sure there's some software that does this stuff for windows. When my father found a Playboy magazine un my room (I was 12 years old) we had a really constructive chat at that time. It helped me to learn how to be a better parent...Talking is much better that censoring, but you have to be prepared.
  • Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the **** **ercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of s***ch, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to ***emble, and to pe***ion the government for a redress of grievances.
  • Amazing! With all the censorship here in the US it takes a foreigner to tell us that John HanCOCK was not a president!

    This has really gone waaaay to far.

    Can you confirm for me if these people were also presidents?

    George BUSH
    aBRAham lincoln
    WOODrow wilson
    johN ADams
    CHESTer arthur
    andrew JACKS-ON
    DICK nixon
    warren g HARDing
    andrew JOHNSON
    lyndon b JOHNSON

    I think all these men were presidents, but with these dang filters I cannot tell for sure. Can you check for me? Thanks.
  • I wish that I had never learned out that my best friend was a 6th grade junkie, that my 4th grade girlfriend's father was a wife beater and a child mollester. I wish I hadn't learned that drunk driving would kill a classmate of mine in 8th grade and I wish that I learned my uncle hadn't committed suicide when I was a freshman in highschool.

    You're not asking for censorship. You're asking for a different reality. This isn't a matter of hiding a web page from you as a child, it's a matter of having had a fucked-up childhood in general.


  • by VValdo ( 10446 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @12:16PM (#746529)
    Once all the obvious fuckups are gone, all that will be left are the subtle ones, the ones that aren't so in-your-face humiliating for the censors.

    At that point they'll say "it works" and the less high-profile but just as improperly-filtered sites will be lost behind the filters.

    The point is that ANY attempt to censor like this is ultimately immoral and futile. Well, hopefully futile anyway.

    Here's my question: With people claiming to be doing this for the children, who here wishes they had been censored MORE as a child?

    Not me.

  • sure, but a more interesting proof will be that, even given a public list of fuck-ups, the c-ware companies will _never_ be able to perfect their software.

    and if they do, then, great.

    i'll leave my money squarely on 'they can't,' however.

  • by Blue Lang ( 13117 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @11:45AM (#746531) Homepage
    before we all waste a lot of time, why not make a site that has a list of 'checkoff' sites that are commonly blocked by censoreware?

    that would serve two purposes:

    1) allow us to script censorware tests
    2) allow the manufacturors of censorware some insight into what things the 'community' feels are improper to censor.

    email me if you're interested. i think we can have it up and running by the weekend. :)

  • by grappler ( 14976 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @04:12PM (#746532) Homepage
    For anyone looking to waste some time and have some great fun with evangelical types, head over here:

    http://www.wwjd.com/eforums/view/wwjd_senior/?dr op=all

    Just be insidious and subversive about it, because every post must be approved by a very thickheaded moderator. There is fun to be had, though. I am on as "crystal" the airhead.

  • Sounds like a convenient way to schism the kiddie porn apart from the more straight porn. www.goatse.kids?
  • in that case, you might as well tell'm to ban this [rotten.com]


  • If you note on the Most Challenged Books list, The Giver by Lois Lowry has been challenged more times than the Anarchist Cookbook. The Giver is one of the best books I have ever read.
    If you have not read The Giver, the reason it is banned (as best I can figure out) is because it has mild implications that the civilization it is about either represents America or a socialism, and that either America could have faults, or socialism could have pros. All depending on how you look at it.
    This just disgusts me. Where are these fascists' priorities?

  • It's easy to reject the validity of banning books when you cite cases where works of Steinbeck, Twain, or Salinger were attacked. But what about the tougher cases, like "The Hit Man" -- it went all the way to the Supreme Court and a much more credible case was made.

    (I'm still against it)

  • ... or this [fogbound.net].

    bukra fil mish mish
    Monitor the Web, or Track your site!

  • Actually, it was Jefferson who *wrote* the Declaration of Independence. Hancock just signed it the most flamboyantly.
    bukra fil mish mish
    Monitor the Web, or Track your site!
  • The olympic sailing, laser class resulted in the following commentary last night:

    Ainslie is holding out in first place, but he still has Scheidt sticking to his stern.

    Do these filters also look for phonetic spelling?
  • by Wonko42 ( 29194 ) <ryan+slashdotNO@SPAMwonko.com> on Thursday September 28, 2000 @12:51PM (#746540) Homepage
    I work for a company that develops a fairly well-known "censorware" product. Today, a coworker of mine who is a QA tester was testing the product and decided, on a whim, to see if it blocked everyone's favorite site, http://goatse.cx (if you haven't seen it already, don't go there -- take my word for it). So he loads up our product, browses to goatse.cx, and lo and behold, the product fails to work.

    He goes to the QA manager and informs him of the bug. The QA manager happens to have several people in his office at the time. He decided to test it himself. He loads up the product, everyone gathers around, and completely unaware of what he's about to see, the QA manager browses to goatse.cx. When the page loads, everyone suddenly lunges backwards in surprise, and there is a mad dash to hit ALT-F4, but not before everyone in the room has been permanently damaged by the horrible sight.

    I'm willing to bet our product will soon be filtering goatse.cx.


  • The book has a rather erotic bit in it.. (don't have the book handy, it's been several years so I can't find the reference)
    Of course, being a sexually intrested 8th grader, I flipped right to that section.

    Flipping directly to the "dirty bits" in The Diary of Anne Frank? Your going to Hell for sure.

  • *(innocent people have been mistaken for sex offenders, stalked and attacked)*

    Happened in the UK recently, this woman had her house vandalised and was forced to move from the area.

    She was a pediatrician...

  • by MrP- ( 45616 )
    john hancock wasnt a president, he just signed the declaration of independance (although i may be wrong, i dont care to give a crap about my government)
  • Because not everyone has the same ideas of what is censorable and what isn't. Would you include a description of nude art on your examples page or not?

    Examples of pages that censorware messes up on are just a way to poke fun at things some people have a fundamental disagreement with.

  • Uh, don't sex offenders have to be "registered"?
  • Not only can you avoid the censors, but with rot13
    you can use the DMCA to claim that any censorware
    that could block your content would be reverse engineering your "encryption"!
  • Can anyone explain Taco's thought process as to what is considered news and what isn't?

    To me, this was news when the contest was ANNOUNCED [wired.com], and people might have a chance to participate. Therefore I submitted this story [slashdot.org] but it was rejected.

    Now the story is no longer news, it's just history.

    NOTE TO MODERATORS: Go ahead and moderate me down, I'm so far over the 50 point cap that harldy matters anymore.

  • It doesn't matter what we want. They're not going to listen. Take a look at some of the sites that have been blocked by CYBERsitter [peacefire.org]Cyber Patrol [peacefire.org]. They willingly censor certain sites that do not match their own political criteria -- not ours. None of these kinds of censoreware products will replace good parenting...
  • some might argue that both, frankly, blow© Job's the most important in the world

    Oh great, you just got this discussion blocked by various filtering software©
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.

  • If they're given a public list, then the c-ware companies will be able to read the list and specifically allow those sites©
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • In this article [wirednews.com], Wired, points out that Dick Armey got filtered! Armey is one of the leading Congressional proponents of filtering.
  • The book was called 'Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors'. The Discovery channel actually did an episode of 'The FBI Files' on that book / story. Check it out if you can. I've seen it 3 or 4 times. The details of the story are some pretty scary stuff.
  • Out of curiousity, are you referring to the "Paladin Press" book? I don't recall much, but do remember what seemed to be a pretty hostile (to the publisher) story on, hrm, _60 Minutes_ early on.

    For those that aren't aware of the case, here is an AP story [freedomforum.org]. The case involved a lawsuit against relatives of the victims of one murderer who apparently used the book as an instruction manual.

    According to the AP story, Paladin Press settled, and agreed to stop publishing it plus paid substantial damages.
  • Well, in certain states, yes. Some (many?) have laws patterned after a "Megan's Law", named after the victim of a repeat sex offender. In general, they stipulate that offenders have to register, and update information when they move and so forth. Whether this database is public or only available to law enforcement varies, methinks. Different states may also perhaps set different minimum offenses (a single molestation offense, versus one involving homicide, or whatever), or perhaps how long one has to keep registering .

    AFAIK, there is no federal statute requiring this, and it at least was debated early on -- with opponents of the law arguing either that it was cruel and unusual (at least in the case of public databases, since that's basically a scarlet letter), led to vigilantism (innocent people have been mistaken for sex offenders, stalked and attacked), or otherwise argued that the prison time is sufficient and that no further penalty should be arbitrarily added by a legislature beyond that stipulated by a judge.

    The opponents generally lost. It's hard to argue such an emotionally charged issue on the basis of dry concepts.
  • Announcing Microsoft KidsGuard2000, the premiere tool for protecting your children from harmful content on the Internet, from the software company all of America has grown to love! KG2000 is guaranteed to block 100% of objectionable material from the impressionible eyes of children, as well as cut down on those high ISP charges!

    People would eat it up! Stick a floppy full of Java childrens games and HTML stubs in the box along with a pair of wirecutters to snip the phone line.
  • having been educated in the USian public school system (many years ago) and wanting to show that we have some shred of intelligence, here's some more information...

    John Hancock was elected to be president of the First Continental Congress in 1775. It was this Congress that asked Thomas Jefferson to write the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. After many revisions by the congress, it was finally voted on and approved on July 3, 1776, with John Hancock as the first signatory (he was president, after all). The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 4th, and the remamining members of congress continued to sign it until some point in August of 1776. Copies were distributed to each of the memebers for them to take back to their home colonies.

  • by aidoneus ( 74503 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @11:39AM (#746557) Journal
    When I first read this article, I XXXumed thaX XX was going to be the usual anXXXhematic bit of tripe, XXX Xhen I read it and found it to be quite amusing. You see, I have used filtering software for quite some time and thaX XX hXX Xometimes failed me has never been the case. I support freedom of sXXXch XX Xomething that is important, XXX Xhen again, as George W. XXXX said, "There ought to be limits to freedom."

    Anyway, thaX XX made the front page of Slashdot (the article that is) is just another attempt by the left to pollute the minds of youth everywhere.

    XX Xincerely as I can,

  • I've always believed that the only censorware that has any chance of truly being effective is the type that takes jpeg screenshots at certain intervals and saves them to a protected directory. This places the responsibility back in the hands of parents where it belongs. Who in their right mind would let a stranger control their children's access to information? As an aside, my high school's filter blocked any search for "teen," as I found out trying to get information on teens in the Olympics.


  • how about a new Top Level Domain just for adult sites? .adu? .prn? .xxx?

    .cum, surely?


  • I've used the handle "Hittman" for years. I wonder how many Nannyware alarms that's set off. I stopped using my full name and middle initial, David S Hitt, long before I got on line.

    Back in the days of BBSs Glaticom's chat had an optional nanny filter. Chatters discovered they couldn't discuss wine, at least not Chardonnay.
  • I don't see congress making any laws about having to use censorware.

    Then you're not paying attention. Congress has tried several times to pass laws that require schools to install filtering, if they want federal funding.

    Then, of course, there's the fact that the courts have interpreted this part of the constitution to apply to _all_ levels of government, which is why local laws requiring filtering software in libraries have been overturned. This regularly leads to civic leaders saying things like, "I don't care what the supreme court says, we want filtering!".

    - David
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @11:53AM (#746562) Homepage Journal
    I'll have to pop down and pick up the latest Harry Potter book. It's not quite banned yet, but not for want of trying. It's kind of funny, Harry Potter being in the same demographic with Huck Finn and Catcher in the Rye.

    Of course, I'm still trying to get the Baptist Convention to proclaim me a minion of Satan. Have you joined the Minions of Satan club? Yes, paratheoanametamystikhood. You know why?

  • As far as banned books week goes you can try to get a copy of the ALA's Book of Banned books, it lists a big load of banned books, why they were banned and when, in addition to some censorship cases, and other stuff. It's ISBN number is 0-8389-8087-2 ______________________________________
  • My daughter had to do her research on my machine at home because she couldn't find enough information on the president she was writing a report on at school.

    Just another example of the crummy American school system. John Hancock was never president of the United States. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, but was never president.

    Or maybe that's why she couldn't seem to find any information on a President named Hancock. There wasn't one.

  • My daughter had to do her research on my machine at home because she couldn't find enough information on the president she was writing a report on at school.

    Uh, huh, huuh, huh. She said Handcock.
  • Aha, that would explain the search problems. I had assumed the signers of the DoI had been presidents, bad on my part. But then again you also assumed I had been educated in America.
  • I realize that this probably wasn't what he meant, but perhaps a more accurate phrasing would be;

    "if you were constantly fed information from only a single viewpoint or bias then you may not appreciate the subjective nature of truth which is illustrated through dialouge"

    kindof like Alexander the great getting his ministers together and showing them people from around the world with 'strange' cultural practices to prove to his ministers that there was more than just one way to do things.

  • ... a while back there was a guy going around asking various watchdog institutions to condemn him so that he could get free publicity.

    can't remember the name.

  • Censorware vendors are motivated by opportunity rather than by cool AI techniques or by a desire to make genuinely practical software. Their target market is politically motivated and technically clueless. There are no decent censorware algorithms on the market. They simply hack up some obvious heuristics and hype up their product. Unfortunately, they get the usual glowing reviews [zdnet.com] from popular PC magazines.

    Most censorware vendors keep their algorithms and access control lists secret. Presumably, this is to prevent the competition from stealing their product. However, the secrecy is necessary to prevent the bias and arbitrariness of the blocking strategies from being exposed and criticized. Consider these claims made by CyberSitter [solidoak.com]:

    • Intelligent "content recognition" system recognizes even brand new sites.
    • Guaranteed to block over 97% of all objectionable content!
    These are claims made about the filterware that produced many of the embarrassing gaffes mentioned in the /.'d article. Unfortunately, this case is typical of the industry.

    First, show me a product that works. Then we'll talk about the morality issues.

  • I think its a gREAT idea...

    Not for children, if children are to grow up to be competant adults they need to be taught to deal with the world. (There is a REAL street corner out there, too, you know.)

    But for those who NEVER grow up... religous conservatives, right wing congressmen, and so on, this seems perfect. You know, those who can still be scared by words and ideas... THEY need a safe place to play.


    May the lord bless and keep Pat Robertson... far away from government.
  • I agree with your thesis statement, but not your solution.

    Until I reached high-school age I was limited to 2 hours of non-PBS TV a day. Why? a few reasons. My mother rightly saw it as a passive form of enetrtainment that did nothing to stimulate development of eiterh mind or body.

    MORE then that though, she only had two hours a day to monitor what I was watching. She made durn sure she knew what I was being told by the little black box so that she could "adjust" any messages I was recieving that she didn't approve of.

    If you can't be with your child when they surf, turn OFF the damn computer and hand them a ball or a book.

  • There is some money to be made there...

    Why not buy / write some logging software, and then market it as child protection software? Maybe couple it with a log analysis program to make the job easier on parents?

    It makes more sense than filter (it works), is more technically feasible (they already exist) and is just more legally acceptable (no censorship issues, minimal privacy concerns).

    This is a marketing problem, not a technical one. Someone, get on it! I'm not a marketer, I'm a computer programmer!
  • Hadn't considered that one before...

    Are both Bush and Gore blocked, or does Al have an advantage in the upcoming election due to the American obsession with fearing sex and embracing violence?
  • Just make sure when you name it, you don't use all sorts of weird punctuation in the name. You wouldn't want to end up lie D:::ig:ital::::::::::::Conv:e::rgance: would you?
  • I have young children (two boys under 7 yrs). I imagine that someday the problem will be them going someplace I'd rather they didn't. For that, monitoring logs is a solid answer.

    At their current age, however, there are things I'd rather they didn't just stumble across when they are using the web or reading mail.

  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @12:02PM (#746576) Homepage

    This is the first article that a link to goatse.cx would be on topic!

  • And that was the first post that openly mentioned goatse.cx and got a +4.

    Life is a disease, sexually transmitted and fatal.
  • Head of state sounds more clintonish
  • The irony, of course, is that many people probably can't even read the article because it's blocked...
  • The twilight zone section mentioned various pages that were censored for odd reasons. My suggestions as to why

    Webcrawler - 2 possibilities.
    1 - it bans all sites that are similar to banned ones. Webcralwer.com would probably be caught.
    2 - It contains the word excite
    Webmonkey - Has a link for backend.
  • I would have to agree that communication between you and your kids is the real solution. Not technology/blocking filters.

    One method that I could implement (thanks to the power of Linux and IPChains) is to have my kids tell me which sites they need to be looking at and add them explicity to a DENY policy. But this is somewhat Draconian and would not foster the relationship that I want w/my children

    The best solution though is proper communication and trust between parent and child, quite a rarity in these days.

  • I wonder how many filters filter the "Foil the Filters Contest page"
  • Rise and shine, get out of bed and I'm a war machine again. -Name that song for 20 points

    So much for my 20 points.
  • I was raised conservative christian. My upbringing made me an agnostic, despite the fact that I was raised in a very sheltered environment, as my parents were missionaries, and could easily control everything I saw.
    The fact is that once I found out about all the *thought* in the world, I chose thought rather than rehearsed drivel.
    There's vast amounts of information available, even on porn sites, where you can learn a *lot* about human sexuality and the nature of peoples' fetishes. Maybe this knowledge isn't good for young children, but it is of inestimable value in studying the human condition.
    I don't think any of the separation ideas are going to really work, because the information I may be looking for may actually be on a porn site. Anyone else remember Playboy.com's Link Everything Online of a few years back? That's how we won the censorship battle at the university I attended.
  • That is so ridiculous that I can't imagine how one would think that.

    Gur jubyr cbvag bs Gur Tvire jnf gung gur fbpvnyvfg fbpvrgl jnf bccerffvat gur vaqvivqhnyf naq xvyyvat onovrf, naq gung vg jnf n Tbbq Guvat jura gur vaqvivqhny oebxr njnl.

    Vapvqragnyyl, V qvq jbaqre jung nobegvba nqibpngrf gubhtug nobhg gur xvyyvat onovrf cneg. Gb zlfrys, ng yrnfg (qvfpynvzre: fgebatyl ntnvafg nobegvba), vg jbhyq frrz n ovg pybfr sbe pbzsbeg.

  • John Hancock was the president of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, and president of the first and second Continental Congresses, but you are correct that he was not president of the United States under either the Articles of Confederation or the Constitution.

    Biography of John Hancock [colonialhall.com]

  • I actually read the article, and I found it quite humorous. Especially the last one:

    "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of sXXXch, or the right of the people peaceably to XXXemble, and to peXXXion the government for a redress of grievances."

    There's a huge misunderstanding here, though, that most people don't seem to see.

    Congress shall make no law...

    I don't get you people here on Slashdot sometimes. Since when was Netnanny, Surfwatch, Cybersitter, N2H2, Wisechoice, or your employer or school "Congress?" I don't see congress making any laws about having to use censorware.

    If you have a beef about censorware, take it up with the censorware people or the people that implemented it. (By the way, I think censorware is quite stupid.) Don't take it up with "Congress." That's not who did it, and they don't have the power to stop the people that do.

    "Oh, but they're taking away our freedom of speech!" Well, they're not. They're limiting your hearing of it. Who has the inalienable right to be heard? (And no, it doesn't amount to the same thing.)

    Anyway, to sum up: censorware is not in violation of the constitution, and Congress has no power to limit it. It's stupid, but please understand that nobody is trampling on your rights.
  • Well, you're lucky I have no points today - I would've shoved it down another spot.

    And you've got no right saying where your post "ought to be" - that's why not being allowed to moderate your own posts is a Good Thing (tm)

  • All requests are sent to a central hub where a team of people paid $1.17 an hour press 'y' or 'n'. Previously approved sites could be cached as 'y'.

    To avoid excessive RSI problems amongst the staff, a pair of large padded buttons would be provided which the user could punch, kick, or headbutt.
  • Remove all porn and such sites from every other TLD, and replace it with a .sex (or .porn) site. Example: hotteensex.com becomes hotteensex.sex. Then, all you have to do is block the entire TLD. Who would want to have a site in there that is 'educational?'

    Someone is going to say this would be hampering the porn site operators freedom of speach, but we can come around that too. Do not take away the .com domains, but ask that they are turned into redirects. Anyone can go to hotteensex.com, but they are instantly transferred to hotteensex.sex (which the filters block)

    If a site does not want to comply with this 'policy,' then do not allow them to reregister their domain when it expires.

  • how about a new Top Level Domain just for adult sites? .adu? .prn? .xxx? then the software can block out sites with the TLD extension... mattX
  • Hitler tried to recreate a more nazi-friendly world by burning books. We Americans only ban them. It's a step up I suppose, but not a large one. The government does a fairly good job of brain washing by restricting the information that people, especially young people, are exposed to. If you are only fed certain information, especially biased information, you tend to have a very specific opinion.

    The opinions that are being encouraged include: America is the greatest and needs no improvement (I half agree with that), christianity is the only true religion, money is the most important thing in life, and (most importantly, I think) you need the government to run your life.

    Now, whether or not you hold these opinions is up to you, and there is nothing neccesarily wrong with any of them, but I think everone can agree (esp. on /.) that NO type of restriction on information is a good thing.

    And if you don't, you were probably fed biased information.

  • True enough, I am extremely biased. The best we can do is choose from the options that we are given. I just think there should be less restrictions, so we can have better-informed opinions, and more options to choose from. Making a decision out of ignorance is no decision at all. Again, this is just my own opinion. Feel free to have your own. That is what freedom of information is all about.
  • Foiling filters at school is one of my favorite pasttimes! My friends and I do this all the time...the contest was to see if you could do it, and the prize was getting to toc.oscar.aol.com and other banned websites.

  • This is like deciding between an armed guard (you standing over their shoulder) and a security camera (logging everything). I'd prefer an armed guard any day

    Why? Do you plan to flirt with the guard? Or are you really so very scared about having your own conscience being the arbiter of your behaviour?

  • by Luminous ( 192747 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @11:45AM (#746603) Journal
    While a fascinating idea, the only way to truly guarantee your children are not looking at things you don't want them to look at is to sit next to them.

    Anyone who relies upon technology or the good intentions of other people to protect their children from unwanted material is asking for trouble.

    One of the key problems I see with a .kids TLD is who would administer it? I fear the control would soon fall into the hands of Toys 'R' Us and KBKids and .kids would become a massive marketing playground in which children become indoctrinated in the ways of the commericial world.

    I don't have a kid, so I can't speak with much authority, but the voice of my father comes to me in regards to these situations: 'Go outside and play, let the wind blow the stink off of ya.' Idle hands are the devils playground. I do believe a child who is trying to do homework, is doing homework. Its only when he is unsupervised for a long period of time does the idea of 'seeking out' naughty stuff comes to mind.

    Of course, is this any different than my sneaking into my brother's secret stash of adult magazines? No. Everything is a learning opportunity and it would behoove a parent to teach the child about acceptable behavior regarding pornography the moment the child become interested in pornography. We all know that once that interest is sparked, there is no going back. It is called puberty.

  • by Fist Prost ( 198535 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @02:36PM (#746604) Homepage
    If you want to do something that is actually worthwhile (and c'mon, a contest run by geeks for geeks is not it), take some of the examples, as well as some completely legitimate sites [aclu.org] that were not meant to trip any filters, and list about 25 of them on a flyer. Then find 25 sites that are completely innappropriate for anyone* [goatse.cx] to view, and are *NOT* blocked, and list those.

    Okay, everyone go pick one brand of filtering S/W and do this. Print a paragraph explaining that this instituition uses brand-X filter, include a breif synopsis of what to expect on a few of the sites, and either tape it up next to the computers or hand it out outside the library. This is something those of you doing the goatsex redirects would absolutely love, find a URL for it that hasn't been blocked and encourage people to leave their terminal on that when they leave (Okay, maybe that won't help the cause, but make sure they understand what hello.jpg is and that it's only a click or two away.)

    Write another paragraph encouraging people to ask their librarian who to complain to about getting said censorware removed, and provide email addresses to the customer service contacts for the censorware companies.

    *That* would be worthwhile. In fact, Rob, since you enjoy the embarassment and ridicule of censorware companies, why not host a project that has printable postscript of such files? It seems like a much more effective way to get word out to the people than having cphack.exe source code posted all over your stories like a couple of months ago. Or if someone wants to start a sourceforge page for such a project, please submit it as a story.

    *Hey I said it was innapropriate, noone to blame but yourself if you click without reading...

    Fist Prost

    "We're talking about a planet of helpdesks."
  • No. We most certainly do not want this segregation.

    Not to violate a famous law in debate (Godwin's Law, anyone know?), but the first thing the Nazis did was just ask the Jews to "register." And this has been the case time and again, probably before Herod (yet another guy who found a nefarious purpose for a list).

    "Just register your adult site with us. That's all we are asking. Then we can filter out the kids."

    Registration provides a convenient blacklist, hitlist, or deadpool when it comes down for the forces of Moral Majority or whomever. It makes a nice list for sudden IRS "audits." Registration is of no benefit to the people or companies registering.

    Also, what constitutes "adult"? Would an art site which has nude sculpture have to go there? Just parts of the art site? How about a frank discussion of homosexuality? Birth control? What about plain old blasphemy? It isn't porn, but I'm betting that the Moral Majority would love to see Satanists (or Bhuddists, or Muslims) restricted to that TLD. Or I guess we could put it on .notgod.

    No, the solution is not "segregation and registration." The solution is parents sitting down and getting involved with their kids. Parenting is a hands-on application is one of the last things we would want to automate. We cannot child-proof the world, file down all of the sharp edges, round off all of the corners, and pad all hard surfaces, not without losing what is important.

  • Not only did I win, but Wired interviewed me. The complete article, by Joyce Slaton, is available at: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,39038,00. html [wired.com] Check it out. I'm "Gamer" John Woods of Arlington, VA, by the way. To be honest, I didn't expect to win--I was just sending in a description of a funny thing that happened to me...and kaboom! They wanted to interview me! I hope they send me a T-shirt or something... Aciel aciel@speakeasy.net
  • by clinko ( 232501 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @11:23AM (#746618) Journal
    I can't believe the banning of
    "The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, for sexual content and offensive language. "

    I would have atleast banned it for "Wasting Time" or "Offensive Waste Of Oprah In A Movie"

  • If you actually read the article instead of launching into your infantile display of pseudoagressive censorship (i.e. moderation), you'd know that a masked link to goatse.cx [goatse.cx] is relevent, on topic, and insightful. Instead of taking out your subconcious anger at your mother for weaning you too early or at your father for not recusing himself from your mother's bed so that you may fulfill your oedipal desires, you should read the moderation faq and visit sid=moderation [slashdot.org] to learn about the important role and power you've abused.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.