1389 AD, a blog with a very well-defined viewpoint about Islam and the War on Terror, has an issue with Websense and that filtering service's - mistakes?
Quoting from a message the blogger sent to Websense: "I request that http://foehammer.net (Foehammer’s Anvil) be reclassified as a news site. It is currently misclassified as a "games" site.
"There are NO games on Foehammer’s Anvil. Instead, it is a a hard news and commentary site with no fluff."
... "In addition, I request that you also reclassify http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com (Gates of Vienna) as a news and commentary site."
It seems that Websense, a filtering service used by schools and companies to keep students and workers from using the "wrong" websites, uses categories like "news" and "games" to define websites.
Sometimes Websense makes a mistake. That's understandable.
What disturbs me is that Websense apparently is more likely to block a website "by mistake," if that website is what 1389 AD calls "anti-jihadist."
That smacks of censorship, the sort of politically correct "tolerance" that's plagued American culture, particularly academia and the media, for decades.
This latest allegation of deliberate blocking of unwanted opinion and information is, I think, another example of why the best blocking software is what we all carry between our ears.
When I started browsing the Web, I considered using one of these blocking services. Briefly. I decided against it because
- Those relying on keywords were notoriously ineffective: letting porn through, while blocking innocuous fan sites about Patrick Stewart
- Category-based services, where human beings make lists, deciding whether websites are naughty or nice, combine the disadvantages of human error and bias
It will be a hot Minnesota winter before I let someone else decide what I, or my family, sees.
Related posts, on censorship, propaganda, and freedom of speech.