SmartFilter stupidity - book sites as SEX

Anticensorware material by Seth Finkelstein - SmartFilter damage

The American Library Association (ALA ) has designated September 21-28, 2002 as "Banned Books Week" . This is an event to "Celebrate Your Freedom to Read". But nowadays, book-banning has moved into the modern age too. I've thought that censorware issues are a natural extension here. With a Federal censorware law (CIPA) affecting schools and libraries , the freedom to read, if using a computer screen rather than paper, is arguably being extensively threatened.

So, as a small contribution in celebration of the freedom to read, here are some book-related websites likely to be banned in some libraries and schools, as they are all blacklisted as "Sex".

The following are from SmartFilter , a censorware program made by Secure Computing. This program is used just because I had some work available from prior absurd blacklist examples . But the issues are general to all censorware, not any particular program.

Some book-related sites banned as "Sex" by SmartFilter, September 23 2002: [My comments, as to potential reasons, in brackets]
"Cultural Connection at is a source of quality art by generally widely known or listed artists and antiquarian books: rare, collectible and scholarly"
[My guess at the reason for the blacklisting (emphasis added): "Our art collection includes African tribal art, American, antiques, Asian, Eskimo, European, Far Eastern, Indian, Mid Eastern, 17th, 18th and 19th century, 20th century, contemporary, nudes, and precolumbian art."]
"Book Bucket Gifts- - childrens books, gift books, gift basket, childrens literature, wedding gifts, baby shower gifts, baby gifts ..."
[Ahh, they have a section for "Adult Gifts", which they mean as "gifts for the adults", not as a euphemism for erotic gifts - but the censorware can't tell the difference]
"Welcome to the Book Warehouse, proudly serving the book needs of Boone and the High Country!
[I'm not sure about this one, maybe the problem was the phrase "The hottest new titles now in stock"]
"Chinaberry offers items to support families in raising their children with love,."
[This is a classic, I'll quote the whole passage which I'm sure is the reason they were blacklisted as a SEX site:
Adult Good Reads

Every so often we parents need to remember that we are ADULTS - people who can think in words that are longer than six letters and sentences that have more to do with the meaning of life than the necessities of life. There are days when, instead of infant stimulation or diaper changing or preschool carpooling or cooking or baking or conflict resolution or sock sorting or any other number of noble duties, we need a little adult stimulation. And for just these occasions, we've decided to include a few just plain "good reads" in this catalog. NOTE: Some of these books have complex adult themes and situations. They are meant for adults, not children.

I didn't make this up. Just read it as a censorware program. "Adult stimulation", indeed! ]
"Welcome to Hearts and Minds! ... a bookstore which attempts to create a new space for serious, reflective readers. Unabashedly Christian ..."
[Let's see - maybe it was the references to "Youth Ministry", "Youth Worker", "Christian Practices for Teens", and so on. Oh, the "filtering"]
"Peppercorn Books - Publisher & Distributor of High Quality Books & Materials for Adult Education & Lifelong Learning"
[Hmm, "Adult Education" ... "adult learners" ... ]

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[Note - this material is not associated with or endorsed by, the ALA 's campaign for "Banned Books Week" . Merely inspired by it. ]

Update 1.1: They were finally all changed from "Sex" around October 14 2002

See also:
SmartFilter stupidity - school sites as SEX

Older material:
SmartFilter - I've Got A Little List
SmartFilter's Greatest Evils

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