IT: SmartFilter stupidity - health sites as SEX

Seth Finkelstein
Wed, 11 Dec 2002 04:06:42 -0500

[ Archived at ]

SmartFilter stupidity - health sites as SEX

The Kaiser Family Foundation just released a study concerning
censorware and health sites. In honor of this study, I give some
different health-related websites likely to be banned in some
libraries and schools as pornography, as these sites are all
blacklisted as "Sex". This is offered here as a simple, right-now,
hot-off-the-presses, see-for-yourself, demonstration of what can be
banned by censorware as porn.

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

Some health-related sites banned as "Sex" by SmartFilter, December 11 2002:
[My comments, as to potential reasons, in brackets, emphasis mine]
"Alliance of the American Dental Association" - "Foundation for Dental
[Uh-Oh - ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS TO: "Oral Health America"]
" is your source for dependable Medical Supplies and
Equipment and quality Home Health Care Information."
[" ... Handicap scooter, Medela breast pumps, Electric breast pump, Breast
pumps, Support stockings," - guess which keyword was the problem?]
"Our Aim is to actively promote eye care knowledge to the public, encourage
healthy eyes and prevent blindness"
[A site with both foreign and English versions - maybe the foreign language
triggers the censorware somehow]
"Health Care NRW, a federal state initiative, brings together North
Rhine-Westphalia's pharmaceutical companies, research facilities, scientists
and academics, service providers"
[I have no idea what was the problem here]
"Professionals for Women's Health"
[Let's see - keywords " ... Professionals for Women's Health, women's
health, women, ...". Probably to many "women" too close together]
[Hmm, "Adult/Family NP" - "The Adult Primary Care Nurse Practitioner" ...
maybe too much "adult" content]

These can be verified to all be considered "Sex" by SmartFilter, by using
SmartFilter's lookup form at or by just
clicking directly on the following Quick-check URLs:

[Note - this material is not associated with or endorsed by, the Kaiser
Family Foundation study See No Evil: How Internet Filters Affect the Search
for Online Health Information . Merely inspired by it. ]

Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  sethf[at-sign]
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