CyberPatrol Blocks the American Cancer Society

by Bennett Haselton

I hardly ever send out notifications of individual Web sites that are inaccurately blocked by blocking software, mainly because there are so many examples that we usually publish them "in bulk", in reports like the Amnesty Intercepted report about blocked human rights pages ( ).

But yesterday we found out from our own testing that the American Cancer Society, at, was being blocked by Cyber Patrol in the "Full Nudity", "Partial Nudity" and "Sexual Acts/Text" categories (the same classification as Playboy). Cyber Patrol claims that every site blocked by their product is viewed by a "human reviewer" before being blocked, but since probably no employee could have decided to block this site, I looked on the front page for keywords that might have tripped up Cyber Patrol's web-scanners and gotten the site added to their database. The front page has two links labeled: "Drinking Alcohol Increases Breast Cancer Risk" and "Join a Making Strides walk and let's make breast cancer a thing of the past!"

*Deep sigh*. The debate about blocking software censoring breast cancer sites has been going on for **six years**. It's the example that almost everyone brings up when talking about the inaccuracies of blocking software (one of the women on "The View" even mentioned it once, the only time I ever watched the show). It's also the one example that blocking software companies usually bring up to show that the mistakes of the past have been fixed. Cyber Patrol's category description page at: even says: "We do not block sites regarding sexual health, breast cancer, or sexually transmitted diseases (except in graphic examples)."

Having been involved in this debate since 1996, I am *SICK* of hearing about breast cancer sites being blocked, and just when this example was starting to become a cliche and go out of fashion... I guess now it's going to start all over again.

Here is a screen shot of Cyber Patrol blocking the American Cancer Society home page (the URL doesn't all fit on one line; might have to copy and paste to get the link to work):