April 19, 2005

Atheist site gods4suckers.net censorware'd as "Cult/Occult"

[Unverified, but specific enough to likely be true]


Saturday, 16 April 2005

God is for Suckers! is now blocked by the SonicWALL Content Filtering System. I found this out because I sometimes use the excellent free wi-fi access at Panera Bread, and they use SonicWALL to filter their content.


But why GifS? It's not porn, and it doesn't advocate violence against anybody (OK, W could use a good slapping, but no serious violence). What's the problem, then? According to SonicWALL, GifS is blocked as "Cult/Occult", ...

Now, there's in fact a very long history of suspicious actions regarding censorware treatment of non-Christian sites, dating back to at least 1997 CyberPatrol vs. Pagan sites

It's important to note it's very hard to prove anything in terms of censorware bias. It's always possible to see patterns which aren't there. But it's also possible that a certain bias can be denied as random error. However, there's grounds for suspicion from research such as Filtering Software: The Religious Connection. Since the censorware blacklists are secret, we'll never know for sure.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on April 19, 2005 10:56 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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I find it amusing that Google Ads conjures up text ads for DynaComm i:filter, St. Bernard iPrism, Websense and 4safe on your blog, especially since almost anyone reading Infothought will be against censorware and hardly a potential customer for them. Ah well.

Posted by: Dave at April 28, 2005 06:16 PM

It just shows how (not so) smart are the selection algorithms.

Though actually, quite a few PRO-censorware folks read me, for "opposition research". I used to call N2H2's PR flack my most dedicated reader.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at April 28, 2005 07:56 PM

Sadly, Panera/SonicWALL filters out Christian websites too, calling them "cult/occult". An example is www.undergroundbride.com, which is as inoffensive as a Christian website will ever be.

Posted by: Chuck at May 6, 2005 07:07 PM