IT: SmartFilter stupidity - Christian sites as SEX

Seth Finkelstein
Thu, 18 Jul 2002 00:11:41 -0400

[Archived at ]

	SmartFilter, the censorware program made by Secure Computing,
is in the news again. Jonathan Zittrain and Ben Edelman, at Harvard's
Berkman Center, just released a report on the use of censorware
in Saudi Arabia:
It's long been known that SmartFilter has the censorware
contract for Saudi Arabia's country-wide Internet censorship.

	Normally, I don't even bother sending out examples of specific
ridiculous censorware blacklisting items. They tend not to get much
notice, being regarded as old-news-been-there-done-that. But in reaction
to the above report, a reporter asked me about SmartFilter, so I
investigated some current, hot-off-the-presses, proofs, that censorware
has not become very smart at all. With the right tools, this isn't hard
to do. But unfortunately, I can't publish too much technical detail,
because of the severe legal risks involved 
(see )

	Anyway, since Saudi Arabia was the topic, I decided to look into
Christian sites. Below are some Christian sites which SmartFilter has
blacklisted as "Sex". Note I don't think this is due to any currying
of favor or slant to Saudi Arabia. Remember, never attribute to malice
which can be explained by stupidity.

	Some Christian sites banned as "Sex" by SmartFilter, July 17 2002:
[My comments in brackets]
Christian Hangout Ministries
[Has a link to a Christian Personals site, maybe that got them blacklisted]
A foreign Christian site
[No idea why this is blacklisted, maybe the foreign language was confusing]
"Ministries of Mike Henry & Crazy For Christ."
["A dynamic,high energy,sincere, and genuinely spiritual team
providing praise, worship, and contemporary Christian music, touching
testimonies, ..." Hmm ... *touching* testimonies???]
Korean Central United Methodist Church
[aka KCUMC. The pages have "CUMC" all over them ... need I say more?]
"Joy in Jesus Ministry"
[Probably too much Joy on the pages ...]
"Faith Healing Ministries' Mission of Faith and Love"
[Maybe too much love ...]

	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:

Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  sethf[at-sign]
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