April 24, 2007

David Sheets Tests Of "BostonWireless" censorware

David Sheets tested "BostonWireless" censorware. Rather than echo his laundry-list of censorware silliness (everything from breast implant procedures to many encyclopedia entries on lotteries), let me cut to the chase:


From a technical standpoint, the stupidly simplistic the artificial "intelligence" algorithms used to censor content are beyond sad. After over a decade of work on spam detection, the fact that a system like this has been implemented is beyond reproach. The engineers or systems administrators who chose and implemented this system should be fired and Mayor Menino should think long and hard about his stance on free speech.

I should note here that spam detection, though it may look similar, is actually a structurally different problem. A system which catches 95% of spam is very useful. But catching 95% of porn sites just means someone has to click a few more times. It's the difference between something you don't want to read, and something you do want to read.

But anyway, this shows that ridiculous bans are still very much a reality in practice.

Note also "Oh, and when I tested the network, BoingBoing was no longer restricted." - since evidently the post with the "banned combination phrase" has scrolled off the page now.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on April 24, 2007 08:43 AM (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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