Comments: DailyKos Gets Censorware Blacklisted by SmartFilter as "Profanity", "Mature"

Admittedly, I didn't do a lot of gumshoe work on this story but off the cuff, I'm not seeing what the problem is. DKos is no stranger to potty-mouth ranting, and yes, some filters will ban it. If I understand correctly, if a corporate LAN is blocking the site, I'd be interested in reading the business case for why a site like DKos (or other political op-ed site) needs to be accessible through a corporate LAN.

Other than the whole "information wants to be free" thing, of course.

Don't get me wrong, I am not pro-censorship per se. But in a corporate environment, many people forget that the computers they use are lent, not given. If you want totally unfettered internet access, use your home computer. (My public library offers totally unfiltered access with a waiver.)

Aside: My old blog was banned by a hotel LAN because I listed one of my categories as "vices". It told me I couldn't visit my blog because ostensibly, talk of "vice" would be on there. (There wasn't, or not on the front page anyway.) Some filters are sillier than others.

Posted by Ethan at October 5, 2006 05:09 PM

What I find so hypocritical about this is that I have been sounding for months now, to him and a lot of the other top liberal bloggers, about this problem. Most of the top feminist site in the US, are being filtered by Google and now this company while publications like "LifeNews" and "Men's News Daily" mozy along with nary a peep.

Have he or others have done anything? Nope. But now that it's affecting them, now they care. Meh.

Posted by liza Sabater at October 5, 2006 06:54 PM

Ethan: The problem is basically "slippery slope" in blacklisting. People tend to think in a model that there's "worthless sites", and then that switches to "fits the definition" - so "Profanity" is taken to mean "This is a worthless site", but then a technical definition is imposed. Does an unabridged dictionary qualify as "profanity" - remember, it's got bad words in it! That's sort of what's going on with dKos. Then there's the "control rights" issue - suppose it's not a corporate net, but a library, which has bought into the "worthless sites" thinking. See the problem?

liza: Nothing focuses the mind like being affected oneself :-)

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at October 5, 2006 09:20 PM

Thanks for the clarification.

RE: Dictionary, I would imagine that a censoring-on-the-fly filter would allow the mundane stuff and block the "naughty" stuff as encountered. Yes, part and parcel censorship is bad, and I see what you're driving at. But if a front-page item is particularly bursting with say, f-bombs, from a corporate LAN perspective that's a tough sell in terms of "but I needed to see that." Personally, when it comes to that sort of thing, I appreciate "NSFW" warnings on links so I know to check it out somewhere else. YMMV, IANAL, ETC.

Posted by Ethan at October 6, 2006 12:14 AM