December 12, 2002

Kaiser censorware study and health sites

Here, very roughly, is what is going on with the Kaiser Family Foundation censorware study and health sites.

It's not complicated. One just has to realized that censorware is not a "filter", but basically a collection of blacklists.

Suppose one has several censorware blacklists:

Blacklist Accurate items Inaccurate items
Sex X1 % accurate Y1 % inaccurate (including Z1 % health sites)
Drugs X2 % accurate Y2 % inaccurate (including Z2 % health sites)
Rock and Roll X3 % accurate Y3 % inaccurate (including Z3 % health sites)

If you blacklist all of Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll sites, then the blacklist has the combined accurate items, plus combined also ALL of the inaccurate items, that is
(Y1 % + Y2 % + Y3 %) inaccurate including (Z1 % + Z2 % + Z3 %) health sites (neglecting any overlap).

The more blacklists that are used, the more wildly inaccurate bans are seen. The fewer blacklists that are used, the fewer wildly inaccurate bans are seen.

It's that simple.

Note the report does not address structural, architectural issues of censorware, such as the across-the-board banning of "loophole" sites (caches, anonymizers, and translation sites, etc.)

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on December 12, 2002 04:31 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups

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