July 06, 2004

Update on "Fabricated" SmartFilter / Secure Computing Web Porn Study

Latest development in the story where SmartFilter / Secure Computing Web Porn Study is "Fabricated", from ZDNet Australia:

While the company's original statement claimed that no pornographic pages had ever existed in the .nu space, Semich conceded that sites featuring adult content using .nu domain names did still exist. "I admit some pornographic Web pages using the .nu domain name probably do occur, just not in the extremely inflated number given by Secure Computing," he said. Sites which hosted adult content would be deregistered when their current term expired, he added.

The approach taken by the Secure study has also been criticised by other market observers. "It's not helpful to characterise the size of the problem by the number of pages," said Chris Disspain, chief executive officer of .au Domain Administration. "They are not a valuable, sensible or helpful measure of what's going on." Like Semich, Disspain is concerned that confusion will arise between the registration of a domain name and where the site is actually hosted.

Secure Computing told ZDNet Australia it stood by the methodology used in the study.

Now, here's my question: WHAT METHODOLOGY?

Where is the data to be examined? Where is any ability to review their assertions? To do an independent examination?

"Studies" done on secret data are inherently suspect.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on July 06, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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You are correct. There is no assertion a filter company can make re their list if the list is not transparent. Science demands a result be verifiable.

Posted by: Bob Turner at July 7, 2004 03:41 PM

Secure Computing is all over the place lately. They were on "Talk of the Nation" today, http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgDate=07-Jul-2004&prgId=5

Posted by: Shari at July 7, 2004 10:26 PM