Silly Internet filtering

Boing Boing has started collecting stupid decisions by Internet filters. Example: a school blocking all forums and social networking sites. Talk about overkill!

3 Replies to “Silly Internet filtering”

  1. Probably apocryphal, but I once heard a UK government agency inadvertently banned access to sites featuring the words ‘Sussex’, ‘Essex’ and ‘Scunthorpe’….

  2. @Richard: Not apocryphal. Early censorware products (and I suspect some still in use) use fairly basic word filters.

    The Censorware Project … discovered that such tools routinely blocked unobjectionable sites while also failing to block intended targets. An example of this tendency was the filtering of all sites containing the word “breast”, on the assumption that this word could only be mentioned in a sexual context. This approach had the consequence of blocking sites that discuss breast cancer, women’s clothing, and even chicken recipes. Similarly, over-zealous attempts to block the word “sex” would block words such as “Essex” and “Sussex”. Content-control software has been cited [9] as one of the reasons Beaver College decided to change its name to Arcadia University, as content-control software had been blocking access to the college Web site.

    There’s also the problem that the word “Porn” is a perfectly good word in Thai, meaning “blessing” and is often used as a given name and in business names like Porn Gems in Bangkok.

  3. ‘…business names like Porn Gems in Bangkok.’

    No doubt their sign has been photographed by Anglophones and sent to the National Lampoon’s ‘True Facts’ column dozens of times.

    (See also: Wank, Germany and Poo, Spain.)

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