See also: Seth Finkelstein's Anticensorware Investigations
From: net-happenings moderator <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: UPDATED> UPDATE: 4/23 - Taking Aim at Filters
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 12:35:05 -0000
From: EDTECH Editor-Eiffert <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 19:25:46 -0400
Subject: UPDATE: 4/23 - Taking Aim at Filters
From: Art Wolinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Today's update is an important one. It deals with the story I told about Archerlaw.com being blocked and a series of related and unrelated events that should paint an interesting picture.
First let me go back to something I mentioned in my first post to LM_Net about this experiment. We have it within our power to make a difference if we effectively use the Internet and our intellect. This update should illustrate how collectively we have a voice that can be heard, while as individuals our voices can get lost in the wind. By talking to each other and comparing notes, we break though the blinders that are put on us by those who don't want us to see the full picture.
After reading my story about Archerlaw.com, Seth Finkelstein, < http://www.sethf.com > a well known anticensorware advocated mentioned in my last post, contacted me again. He is a computer programmer and has more resources and knowledge in that area. He took the information I provided and added expertise to provide me with information that I then examined.
My initial information made for an amusing story. By using the Internet to get it out, Seth was able to take that information to the next level and the result is what I think is a very interesting picture, but I'm only going to give you some of it, because the paint is still wet and it might change even more dramatically before the next update.
I know that Archerlaw was being blocked its IP number, which was shared by other web sites. I assumed that as with OII, there were adult sites on the server that shared the same IP number as a gateway to the site and that by blocking the adult sites they were also blocking all other sites with the same IP. What I didn't know and didn't have any way of finding out is how many adult sites were on the server and how many legitimate sites were being blocked inappropriately. Thanks to Seth, I have a much better idea of both.
1) There are AT LEAST 247 sites being blocked in appropriately 2) There appear to be NO adult sites sharing that IP *Disclaimer - It is possible that adult sites sharing that IP are registered in other countries and that Seth's software program is not 100% accurate. However, I personally don't believe either factor is at work here.
I personally tested all 247 sites with CyberPatrol's 5.0 client version and ALL were blocked. I'm saving the details of what kind of sites were blocked for an article, but all of the sites were blocked in the categories of Partial Nudity, Nudity, Sex Acts/Text. The most notable site being blocked is the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police.
Keep in mind, all of this blocking took place with a SINGLE entry and apparently without blocking a single adult site. The question now becomes, Why are Archerlaw.com and all of the other sites being blocked? That is a case for total speculation. Seth pointed to a limousine service that used some double entendre and suggestive phases in their ad copy. If that is the case, even blocking that single site is wrong, but blocking by IP and thereby blocking 247 other sites is unconscionable.
Unless there is a VERY good reason for blocking those 247 sites, this stands as a prime example of why filters don't work. Of course, they could always say, "Opps, it was a mistake and we will unblock it."
....and if you accept that as an excuse, I have some land I want to sell you here at the Jersey shore. Just come to look at it during low tide.
I hope you folks are passing these updates along to other lists. You can always point folks to http://oii.org/html/filtering.html where these updates and other parts of the story are being posted.
Don't forget to keep reporting inappropriate blocking to the web form at http://oii.org/html/overblocking.html
EDTECH has changed addresses. The new list address is
EDTECH@H-NET.MSU.EDU. All subscription commands should be sent to
From: net-happenings moderator <email@example.com>
Subject: K12> UPDATE: Taking Aim at Filters 4/26
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 13:10:12 -0000
From: Art Wolinsky <awolinsky@OII.ORG>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 15:50:23 -0400
Subject: UPDATE: Taking Aim at Filters 4/26
Just two items in this update, but one is a candidate for the Filtering Follies Award. In fact I have just decided to add that as a section to the web site. Coming soon you will be able to vote for your favorite Filtering Follies story.
The first item today is a short follow up about the ISP in South Jersey that is being blocked. As you remember, all of their virtually hosted web sites are being blocked, including schools, doctors, lawyers, churches, synagogues, and the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police.
I assumed they were hosting some adult sites, but Seth's list of blocked sites didn't include any. He said that his software might not be perfect or that domains might be registered in different countries.
Well, there is nothing wrong with Seth's software and there are no adult sites registered in foreign countries. The fact of the matter is that the ISP has strict rules AGAINST inappropriate material. NO adult sites. NO profanity. NO Satanism. NO gross stuff. NO bombs etc.
From the CyberPatrol web site, "Cyber Patrol employs a team of professional researchers at least 21 years of age including parents and teachers. Sites are blocked based on definitions that have been established for each category."
I can't help but wonder about the definition that was used to block ALL of the web sites mentioned above in the categories of Sex Acts/Text, Nudity, and Partial Nudity.
Now for the chuckle of the day. Every time I try to get away from this issue and do some work for which I get paid, something pulls me right back!
This morning I sat down to work on my next book. In the introduction I talk about teaching children to tie their shoe laces. So I wanted to get a few interesting links about shoe laces. I went to Hotbot and typed in the keywords, shoe and laces. Here are the first two hits I got.
1. Bootlaces and shoelaces by mailorder. Bootlaces for a full range of boots,shoes and training shoes in a variety of colours http://www.bootlaces.com/
2. Shoe Laces No more do you have to buy expensive shoelaces, these come with a lifetime guarantee ;-) No more double bows either... And they can be used with boots as well.. http://users.powernet.co.uk/wingett/articles.htm
Now in order to see why this qualifies for the filtering follies, you have to visit both sites and keep in mind that the FIRST site was BLOCKED and the SECOND site was NOT BLOCKED.
Don't forget to report your inappropriately blocked sites to http://oii.org/html/overblocking.html
Please take the time to make a report. The only way we can paint a full picture is if everyone pitches in a little.
Art Wolinsky firstname.lastname@example.org
I am perfectly capable of learning from my mistakes.
I will surely learn a great deal today.
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