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  •  I was going to post this (4.00)
    but all that's left is the backstory:

     Boingboing, if you're not famiiar with it, is an arts  and culture website. It's one of my favorite sites (outside of dKos, of course). It's not a porn site or a site for hackers, but a company called secure computing put it on its ban list for nudity last week anyway.

    At fault in most of these cases is a US-based censorware company called Secure Computing, which makes a web-rating product called SmartFilter. But SmartFilter isn't very smart. Secure Computing classifies any site with any nudity -- even Michaelangelo's David appearing on a single page out of thousands -- as a "nudity" site, which means that customers who block "nudity" can't get through.

    Last week, Secure Computing updated their software to classify Boing Boing as a "nudity" site. Last month, we had two posts with nudity in them, out of 692 -- that's 0.29 percent of our posts, but SmartFilter blocks 100 percent of them. This month, there were four posts with nudity (including the Abu Ghraib photos), out of 618 -- 0.65 percent.

    In fact, out of the 25,000+ Boing Boing posts classed as "nudity" by SmartFilter, more that 99.5 percent have no nudity at all. They're stories about Hurricane Katrina, kidnapped journalists in Iraq, book reviews, ukelele casemods, phonecam video of Bigfoot sightings (come to think of it, he doesn't wear clothes either), or pictures of astonishing Lego constructions.

     Secure computing is apparently used by the US govt, some military sites, the UAE ... a lot of people all of a sudden weren't able to see BB. So they called securefilter, and tried to work out some sort of relaxed standard.

    Secure Computing offered us a devil's bargain: if we'd change the URLs of images with "nudity" (which, they assured us, included photos of Michaelangelo's David) to something they could detect and block, they'd let the rest of the world see us again. That guy in the UAE who was worried he'd be imprisoned for trying to read BoingBoing would be OK again.

    We considered their offer, and decided not to do it. What happens when the next censorware company comes along with another editorial process they want us to engage in to help them censor the site?

    More importantly: why should we let a company that helps corrupt dictatorships oppress their citizen dictate morality to us?
     


    So they decided to put Secure Computing out of business instead.
    On the most pragmatic level, they suggest the browser Bumpercar for keeping your kids in kid-friendly parts of the net. They also have put up the links on how to evade securefilter, and encourage IT depts to share this info when higherups start demanding web filtering. Finally, they're encouraging web site operators to post photos of Michelangelo's David and to inform Secure Computing, so that the site is even further clogged with false positives.

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