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Did you know that the entire photo.net domain has been blocked by the filtering software program Cyber Patrol under the categories for sexually explicit material? Is there some justifiable reason for this block?
-- David Smith, January 12, 1998
I'm proud to say that I account for more than half the banned URLs at MIT (according to the search engine that the good folks at Pathfinder constructed). Fortunately, I have enough domain aliases that I can almost always email determined folks a URL that will get them complete access to my 6000 photos (including the 50 nudes that presumably have the censors exercised).
Is it justifiable? I think so. As far as I can tell, the Web is dividing into two halves. The first half is the new one, a sort of extension of American Media. You've got lots of advertising and the kinds of bland opinions that go with advertising-sponsored media. It is a safe environment for kids. Not only is there no nudity but there is nobody saying "public school is a warehouse to prepare kids to accept the boredom and routine of a factory job".
The second half of the Web is the original Web circa January 1994 (when my site went up). People write true to their experience because there aren't any advertisers to please and life is short and they aren't getting paid so they might as well. Sometimes the author/publishers have messages that the Fortune 500 doesn't want America's Youth to hear. It is easier to look for naked flesh than to read every word and look for dangerous ideas. So banning any site that contains a questionable image is an inexpensive way to suppress questionable ideas.
Oddly enough, I think many people will come to associate frames, nav bars, banner ads, and bad, slow graphic design with "a nice safe site for me and my family". Cyber Patrol, et al., merely institutionalizes what would have transpired eventually on its own.
-- Philip Greenspun, January 13, 1998
We've got something on our firewall at work that's trying to do the same thing. Interestingly enough though, the only part of photo.net that's blocked are Philip's pictures of MIT women's soccer because sports are blocked. It is also blocking www.census.gov (U.S. Census Bureau) because of all the job opportunites there. I guess there's a reason for blocking anything.
-- Geoffrey S. Kane, January 14, 1998
(a) I have a firewall on my PC. I only block: nukers and hackers.
(b) Who defines pornography anyway? no doubt some impotent politician who now rolls around inside his Viagra bottle every time he wants to get it up for a 16 year old bimbo.
(c) government historically gives anything a bad name when it is afraid of it. Pictures of war, shootings and murder are OK. God forbid we show pictures of humans at their best, naked and screwing...
Now mind you, I don't view photographs of sexual acts and I don't appreciate it when it's sent to me without my requesting it however, I believe it has a right to exist for those who feel they want or need it. If children are accessing it, THAT'S THE PARENTS FAULT. No "minor" should be on the Internet without parental supervision and herein is the real problem. However, parents vote and therefore, no pervert/politician is going to tell the truth to someone who does not want to hear it. "Regulate" is the answer, (or so they say)...meanwhile the problem never really gets examined or solved. My thesaurus says that Politician means "coward" and Politics comes from "Poli" meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "blood suckers" Get it???
-- Marika Buchberger, May 9, 1999
Take a look at the September 18, 1999 entry in the Seti At Home Project Technical News. One of their pages was blocked for using the phrase "naked eye" when discussing astronomical observation. This is both funny and scary.
If the filter maker blocked a page that was obviously unobjectionable, I wonder what sorts of pages they are letting through.
A filter cannot substitute for an individual's judgement and discretion.
-- Frank Wortner, October 8, 1999
When AOL first moved into the UK they had a means of applying for an account on-line; they probably still do in fact but this was about five years ago and not many ISPs that I knew of were doing the same thing then.
The safeguards they had in place to protect us from slightly dodgy language prevented the entire population of Scunthorpe from registering with them.
-- Chris Russell, December 12, 1999
I think anyone prudent enough to use Cyber Patrol deserves whatever ignorance they bathe in.
-- Ian MacAllen, July 24, 2001
who,what,and where is the Cyber patrol
-- ray flynn r, July 29, 2002
-- hanan hammoud, July 20, 2007