Blacklisted by Cyber Patrol
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jamie McCarthy
voice: (616) 375-7528
fax: (616) 375-7528
December 22, 1997 - The Censorware Project, a newly formed organization founded by net activists and writers, today announced the release of its report, Blacklisted by CyberPatrol: From Ada to Yoyo. <http://www.spectacle.org/cwp/>
The report takes a close look at over 100 sites blocked by the highly-regarded filtering software from MicroSystems (a subsidiary of The Learning Company).
Previous reports about the accuracy of Cyber Patrol have brought to light some blocks of sites which can be called inappropriate at best. "From Ada to Yoyo" presents many more bad blocks, but the report also takes an in-depth look at special topics: the blocking of internet service providers; of gay sites, including a neighborhood with over 20,000 users; of newsgroups; and the subject of whether such a product is appropriate to censor what adults may see in public libraries.
"I was stunned by some of the sites which were blocked," said Jamie McCarthy, a Michigan-based software developer who is a founder of the Censorware Project and author of the report. "Some of the errors at least made sense: there were pages which could be mistaken for explicit material, even though they were not.
"But some were bizarre. The town of Ada, Michigan is just an hour's drive from my house: it has a website about local politics, which is blocked as containing full frontal nudity and sexual acts. It's baffling."
"We have only scratched the surface in this report of the problems with CyberPatrol," said James S. Tyre, a free speech attorney in Pasadena, California. "Products as riddled with flaws as CyberPatrol have no business in public libraries, which are arms of the government. Libraries exist to promote knowledge and ideas, but CyberPatrol's bad blocks and reblocks of sites it said would be unblocked demonstrate vividly that its agenda is not to promote the free flow of ideas."
The Censorware Project's mission is to call public attention to the flaws of blocking software and its inappropriateness in public institutions such as libraries. For more information, please contact Jamie McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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