[LINK] Minister warned on porn filters
cas at taz.net.au
Wed Jan 2 10:14:12 EST 2008
On Tue, Jan 01, 2008 at 10:46:25PM +1100, grove at zeta.org.au wrote:
> I lurk on a forum in the UK for electronic music. They have a word
> filter that turns "pakistan" into "****stan" because in the UK the
> altered part is a racist slur. But it makes it extremely difficult
> to discuss current global matters
i remember having this argument with management when i worked at an ISP
focussing on providing internet access to schools about 10 years ago.
they wanted me to configure the proxy servers to block sites with the
string 'sex' in any part of the URL.
after several days i got them to (very reluctantly) give up on the idea
by pointing out the existence of web sites for Essex, Sussex, Middlesex
counties in the UK, and dozens of other non-porn sites (the only one
of which i can remember now was businessexchange.com), and specific
educational sites about sex-related topics.
it was an idea they kept coming back to, though....at one point they
wanted to still block 'sex' but have a whitelist of exceptions that
would be allowed until i (finally) got them to understand that the
potentially enormous size of the exception list would be a maintainence
and 'sex' wasn't the only string they wanted blocked. they couldn't
(wouldn't!) understand that it was a fundamentally broken idea no matter
how many times i came back with counter-examples for each different
string they wanted blocked.
single word filtering is stupid, especially when the word is so small
that it is likely to be a substring in many other unrelated words.
mind you, my own spam filters on my mail server at home have hundreds
of rules for deliberately misspelt words used by spammers...i figure
that they're either spammers or illiterate morons that i don't want to
communicate with anyway. even then, most of the rules are only triggered
when there are two or more of the misspelt words in close proximity.
these are the rules i have to be most careful about and generally cause
me the most problems - it's very easy to block more than you want to.
> and it is also a kind of implied slur in being filtered.
yes, definitely. the message there is that ALL use of the word "paki"
and hence "pakistan" is an insult, therefore to be pakistani is a bad
in any case, it doesn't take kids long to figure out that "p at ki" and
other mis-spellings get past the filter....or even invent a whole new
slang based on innocuous words.
craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>
BOFH excuse #220:
Someone thought The Big Red Button was a light switch.
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