[attrition] Surf No Evil: The Fight Against Big Brother
lyger at attrition.org
Wed Jul 4 02:54:27 UTC 2007
As previously discussed, there are a number of inherent flaws in the
practice of web content classification and how the fruits of that
classification are then sold in the form of content filtering products.
The impact of these flaws, however, are not limited to the consumers of
content filtering products. Mis-classification of web content affects
websites themselves, often as harshly as it affects users of content
filtering who need access to the resources provided by mis-classified
sites. Before discussing the impact of mis-classification on legitimate
websites and users of content filtering, it is important to understand the
process by which a website is classified (or mis-classified) by the
content classification industry.
To better illustrate this problem, consider the following web sites and
their URLs. Each one is a legitimate business that has absolutely nothing
to do with indecent material, but runs the risk of being filtered due to
'inappropriate content' simply because of the site's name. Some filtering
products act on the assumption that if a 'bad' word is in the URL or site
name, it must be part of the content they are offering.
... which leads us to a time in the not-so-distant past (as you will read
below) where attrition.org was again directly affected by the content
filtering industry. Shortly after the release of an email to the "General
Attrition Mayhem Mail List", we received a curious email stating the
From: A.A. (xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxx.com)
To: lyger (lyger at attrition.org)
Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2007 13:01:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Bloody Bobbing Bollocks, You've Been Blocked!
Wow... just wow. Imagine my happiness when I arrived at work after a few
days off and saw a bunch of new dataloss entries and a new going postal.
"Good times," I thought to myself," as I typed attrition.org into my
address bar only to be greeted by this:
You have attempted to access a site that is not consistent with
[Company]'s Internet Usage Policy.
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