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The Breaking of Cyber Patrol 4

michael posted more than 14 years ago | from the what-they-don't-want-you-to-see dept.

Censorship 181

In the wake of recent announcements by Peacefire that they'd decrypted the secret block lists employed by two brands of censoring software, the "encryption" used by another major brand of software, Cyber Patrol, (produced by a company repugnant enough to advertise the increase in sales after Australia passed national censorship legislation), has also been broken. Matthew Skala and Eddy L O Jansson report in an in-depth essay about the practical difficulties encountered when undertaking this task. Their announcement follows.

Their announcement:

"March 11, 2000 - ANNOUNCEMENT

Cyber Patrol(R) 4, a "censorware" product intended to prevent users from accessing undesirable Internet content, has been reverse engineered by youth rights activists Eddy L O Jansson and Matthew Skala. A detailed report of their findings, titled "The Breaking of Cyber Patrol(R) 4", with commentary on the reverse engineering process and cryptographic attacks against the product's authentication system, has been posted on the World Wide Web at this address:

http://hem.passagen.se/eddy1/reveng/cp4/cp4break.html

The abstract of the report:

Several attacks are presented on the "sophisticated anti-hacker security" features of Cyber Patrol(R) 4, a "censorware" product intended to prevent users from accessing Internet content considered harmful. Motivations, tools, and methods are discussed for reverse engineering in general and reverse engineering of censorware in particular. The encryption of the configuration and data files is reversed, as are the password hash functions. File formats are documented, with commentary. Excerpts from the list of blocked sites are presented and commented upon. A package of source code and binaries implementing the attacks is included.

Eddy L O Jansson
srm_dfr@hotmail.com
http://hem.passagen.se/eddy1/index.html

Matthew Skala
mskala@ansuz.sooke.bc.ca
http://www.islandnet.com/~mskala/"

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Can we see more legal actions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210350)

I always feel reverse engineering is good. If people who don't do this for a living can break your code or encryption and solve how your program works, then you need much better encryption. It also means that if they could do it, there's a good chance the government could have done it as well.

However, we've seen that corporate America *HATES* this kind of check. Will we see legal action against the authors, and have the program stripped from the internet? Could the DMCA be used again as leverage?

I say, let's do the DeCSS all over again. Spread the program. Mirror away. Mirror in other countries. *FORCE* these people to redo their encryption, or change the method their software works.

Flat out censorware has been proven not to work effectively. Instead, make it more dynamic with checks in the program. I hope the information they found will prove to the people already trying to pass legislation to force libraries and other public computers to use similar programs, that such an action will do nothing to prevent what they're hoping.

Man, what's with the colour??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210351)

This is way off topic, but why the ugly brown colour scheme? Does it have any significance, or did someone skip a character somewherewhen coding the HTML?

-Markus

Re:That quote describes the "movement" perfectly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210352)

(rest of the post, though a perfect example of what I'm talking about, not quoted)
No, Skippy, it doesn't, not anymore than a Tooth Fairy actually brought you cash for your lost baby molars.

And you're telling him to get a sense of proportion and to quit grandstanding and stop acting like a kid.

Either you're a troll or the biggest hypocrite I've seen in a long time.

You are so right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210353)

Censorware may not be perfect, but ... it is the only vehicle we have for preventing the corruption of our children through the Internet.

How correct you are.

We must make a stand in preserving our nation, and censorware is one of the ways we can do this.

Yes. We cannot let the forces of ignorance, intolerance, conservatism, and Christianity take over our great nation. I would be horrified if I found that my child had been browsing a fundamentalist Christian website -- who knows what kind of terrible, insidious, corrosive ideas she could have picked up? I'm glad to see that there are other parents out there who can see the issues clearly.

Re:Do shelter kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210354)

One nitpick:

Giving reasons helps also. "Don't do drugs because drugs are for losers. Every person I grew up with who started doing drugs in HS is either dead or working the takeout at McDonalds."

This is a reason? It's anecdotal evidence. This would have just started me looking to see if I could find more information and ways to find out (and possibly experiment) for myself. Point me at a few good objective studies instead, please.

Re:Do shelter kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210355)

I do drugs and I've been looking at hardcore porn since before puberty. I also have a Master's degree from one of the top universities in the world and an extremely well-paying and satisfying job. I am a productive member of society and I have no more trouble with relationships than the typical person of above-average intelligence. Any attempts to "shelter" me as a kid only pissed me off and were easily circumvented. Kids aren't harmed by seeing nudie pictures. If anything, they are harmed by being taught that nudie pictures are something "dirty" and "bad" to which they must be denied access at all costs.

Re:Legal Recourse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210356)

Why would a site like The National Organization for Women be blocked?

http://www.now.org/issues/abortion/ [now.org]

Re:This is bad for out children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210357)

And just think how much they will learn, when they reach 10 or 11 years of age, and discover debuggers and reverse assemblers. I can just picture those little boys, scribbling strings of hex numbers on pads and studying the Intel instruction set, working like beavers. And then--bingo!--the administrator password, and unlimited access to the 'net. I think they're entitled to all the p0rn they want after that...

Moderate this up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210358)

Children are inherently vulnerable and early exposure to such disturbing material such as pornography, gay rights or sexually transmitted diseases can scar them for life, making it far harder for them to grow up to become fine upstanding people with a good Christian decency.

...

The Australian government is obviouly more concerned with the growth and morality of their nation's children than with such modern illusions as "free speech" and "equal rights". Such things only get in the way of the happiness of society in the long-term.

My god... that's the most brilliant parody I have ever read. It deserves at least a (Score 4: Funny)

Not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210360)


The Nazis didn't claim to be Christian, and in fact (IIRC), a lot of the top ones were pagans of some kind. Tell that to Eric Raymond the next time he starts emitting idiotic, uninformed generalizations about socialists :)

Most American fascists, of course, have always been drawn to Christianity. Most of Hitler's and Mussolini's sympathizers in the USA in the 1930's were Christians (Father Coughlin, Charles Lindbergh, etc.), and God knows we've got Christian Identity and friends now. Don't forget the World Church of the Creator, though; they're not even remotely Christian.

Nobody gains from oversimplifying these things.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210361)

THEN SHUT UP...We do not want to hear your meaningless poorly thought out dribble. There is no right more worth protecting. Haul me to the gallows but allow me my last words....Give me liberty of give me death....Those words ring truer today than ever, the enemy has given up the frontal assualt and is now sneaking behind our backs everyminute of everyday....The price of freedom is eternal vigilance....

Re:You illustrate res0's point perfectly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210362)

Get a clue the moderation system PRESERVES free speach not the other way around. You can alter your threshold to see ANY COMMENT not matter how stupid..I even SAW yours

Re:Do shelter kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210363)

Drugs are a thing just like your computer, whether you turn into a script kiddie/cracker or not is up to you, your upbringing and parental guidance, but just like security through obscurity does not work neither does raising your kids in ignorance. There is no PAT answer only LOVE RESPECT and TRUTH. Things which NO GOVERNment, or CORPORATION have the slightest understanding of.....

corperate drug use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210364)

you may not realize it but many many successful people out in the world have used or are still using drugs. it's not about if you use them, but how responsable you are about using them.

i occasionaly smoke pot or drop e, and i am not working at mcdonalds. in fact i taught myself to program when i was 15 and have made a shitload of shareware and made quite a living for myself. i've been using linux since 1996, i am currently a network administrator. i just turned 19 a few weeks ago..

just because you don't hear about business men being busted by cops for doing drugs, doesn't mean that they don't. it's because they are responsable and smart enough not to do anything stupid or let it interfier with their lives. or even let people other than their friends know about it.

i can honestly say that i haven't had a job where at least some of my fellow employees have never used or are still using drugs on a recreatonal basis. you just have to get to know someone first before you assume that they don't..

posting ac for obvious reasons..

People like you shouldn't have kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210365)

They'll turn 18, and go absolutely crazy, because they've been sheltered from the world.

That's how we get Ted Bundy types...

Can't sleep, clown will eat me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210366)

It only took me two minutes to find this picture [geocities.com] . But censorship wouldn't help me, it would just make me think the clown is not out there when in fact he is. My ignorance would make me more vulnerable. Please pray for me in church [enviroweb.org] this weekend.

You are completely correct. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210383)

I know what I am about to say goes against the grain of /. thinking which is why this comment is being posted as an AC - the first time I have felt the need to do so.

I know how you feel.

However let's face it, most of the people who read /. are still at school or college and don't have kids of their own - and as such their comments on this issue are uninformed and arrogant.

Oh, I know exactly what you mean. There are so many people here who are completely unfamiliar with the challenges of raising a child.

When, one day, who finally have children you will understand that censorware is not wrong, it is in fact the only solution that will allow you to bring up your children in a moral way without polluting them with the filth that makes up most of the Internet.

I agree completely.

Children are inherently vulnerable

Yes, and this is why they need to be protected from growing up Christian. Growing up Christian can really hold you back later in life, and it gives you a very warped view of the world. But yes, without censorware, how can I be assured that my children won't see anything defamatory about a gay or lesbian lifestyle? There are so many destructive lies about homosexuality on the Internet that I don't want my kids seeing. And what if they get the idea that sex is dirty and shouldn't be talked about? How will they ever learn about its joys and dangers then? They can't be allowed to see anything at all that might give them this idea and make them less willing to learn.

However I believe in the Internet and want my children to be able to access all of the wonderful educational information that it contains

I am with you completely.

and I expect those few parents here on /. to agree with me, even if they don't say so for fear of being labelled "fascists" or "nazis" by the younger members of /.s readership.

You have my full support.

You're right -- we can't let our children grow up with intolerant, Christian, anti-homosexual, sex-ignorant lifestyles and attitudes. To do so would be doing irreparable harm to them and our society.

Re:This is bad for out children (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210384)

Censorware may not be perfect, but nothing under Heaven is. As such, it is the only vehicle we have for preventing the corruption of our children through the Internet. You seem to be advocating free access to pornography for children - as such you are at best misguided and at worst a tool of the liberal forces that would destroy our great nation, which has been a bastion of morality until recently. The rise of things like the Internet and the insistance by liberal child-haters that Christianity be destoryed through the use of the Devil's tools such as evolution is what is bringing the US to its knees.

Whereas once our great nation was the shining beacon of morality illumating the evils of the world today it is becoming as degenerate as anywhere else. We must make a stand in preserving our nation, and censorware is one of the ways we can do this.

Porn scarred me for life! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210385)

I started looking at nekked pictures when I was a wee lad of only 12 or 13 (downloaded from a BBS). Well today, at 23 I am almost addicted to sex! I sometimes crave sex upwards of 2-3 times a WEEK.. if I can't find my partner then invariably I am left masturbating to Victoria's Secret catalogs. I feel ashamed and know 90% of the rest of the male population isn't like this. I'm sure it was the porn at a young age that turned me into a perverted freak. If only we had had this type of censorware back then I might be a good upstanding citizen working in a church or on a bible retreat. Now I am relegated to the bowels of the world... networking. :-( SAVE THE CHILDREN! Don't let them view porn or they will grow up to be adults and want to have SEX! It is disgusting. There are times when I wish I would have just cut my own penis off as a child.. then god wouldn't hate me anymore.

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210386)

I think you MISS the point. Parents can do whatever they want with their computers, yes, but Cyberpatrol is misrepresenting to these parents what it does. The fact that it would be impossible for the consumer to verify every URL is irrelevant in this context. You're agrueing their right to convenience. Also, they can't 'agree' with Cyberpatrol's choices because they're encrypted, so invisible.

And what about Peacefire? What about the rights of that site's authors, which you so easily dispose of? Cyberpatrol is representing Peacefire as pornographic, violent or obscene by blocking them. Isn't this slander? Your arguement is that it shouldn't matter since kids aren't the core audience. Seeing basic rights disposed of in such a cavalier manner for the sake of convenience or business demographics gives me the chills.

This is bad for out children (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1210389)

I know what I am about to say goes against the grain of /. thinking which is why this comment is being posted as an AC - the first time I have felt the need to do so. However let's face it, most of the people who read /. are still at school or college and don't have kids of their own - and as such their comments on this issue are uninformed and arrogant.

When, one day, who finally have children you will understand that censorware is not wrong, it is in fact the only solution that will allow you to bring up your children in a moral way without polluting them with the filth that makes up most of the Internet. Children are inherently vulnerable and early exposure to such disturbing material such as pornography, gay rights or sexually transmitted diseases can scar them for life, making it far harder for them to grow up to become fine upstanding people with a good Christian decency.

However I believe in the Internet and want my children to be able to access all of the wonderful educational information that it contains. Not letting my children do so would be holding their future development back, but letting them access the Internet unfettered by filtering software would be exposing them to every kind of human sin and degredation. This is why I support censorware whole-heartedly, and I expect those few parents here on /. to agree with me, even if they don't say so for fear of being labelled "fascists" or "nazis" by the younger members of /.s readership.

The Australian government is obviouly more concerned with the growth and morality of their nation's children than with such modern illusions as "free speech" and "equal rights". Such things only get in the way of the happiness of society in the long-term.

Yup. (2)

Brian Knotts (855) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210390)

And the sad thing is, he's not even a very good one...

New XFMail home page [slappy.org]

/bin/tcsh: Try it; you'll like it.

Right cause, wrong approach? (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210391)

While I strongly believe that censorware is bad, at least as most packages currently implement, I would argue that these latest actions by cracking the program and making available the means to crack it are doing just as much damage to the cause, compared to what other means can achieve.

What these groups are doing is very similar to the fellow that cracked the ecommerce sites, obtained the lists of credit cards numbers, and posted samples of those on a web site. Sure, the fellow was trying to point out that security on the web is nearly non-existant at many places, but the means to demonstrate this is poor.

I think that if a group of hackers was interested in fighting for the cause, they would approach the commercial companies, and offer to aid in their services, either to ensure the security of the blocked site list, or to maybe aid in improving the criterion that the blockers use. Assuming that the creditals of such a group are good, along with the offer to sign NDAs, I don't see why a company would not want to accept this offer (OTP: while the movie sucked, the concept of the team in 'Sneakers' is exactly what I'm thinking of). The only huddle to this is to get companies to respect these various hacker groups; initially, only small projects would be worked on, but as the involvement of a hacker team outside of the company is used to achieve successful results, more and more companies will want to participate. Certainly most companies do have their own security team, but adding a third party will always improve the quality of the final product.

Of course, I also still believe that for censoring the web, self-regulation is the real only answer. The only problem is to get 1) a standard and 2) some body to maintain that standard and implement an informal protocol to handle it. Sure, RSCI is almost there, but it's not widely implemented. What such a team can do is to first get a small subset with a good cross-section of the web and set the various ratings on it, so that a baseline for what a "violence: 3 (out of 5)" represents, for example. This will help those that want to self-censor their page to understand what the levels are. In addition, there should be a way for the causal user to send feedback to the standards body, to let them know of a site that might not have the ratings on them, or the ratings are inappropriate, such that the standards body (as opposed to the user) can contact that page's owner and ask them to adjust the rating. There's nothing forced about it, and no legal penalty can be brough against the offending site, but I would figure that getting such emails repeatedly will eventually force them to update their page.

If such a system was in place, then it's rather easy for parents to set the censor levels to what they think is appropriate for Junior, with password protection to keep those settings out. Sure, the script kiddie will probably find a way to crack the password and get to the sites, but for the most part, this would achieve the censoring without forcing issues with commercial products.

It's all about the list. (2)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210392)

Is that really necessary? I mean, the whole point of this effort was not to produce a program that could decrypt CyberPatrol's list so that millions of script kiddies could mirror away and the software could be used forever, completely destroying the decryption. The goal was to expose the list and CyberPatrol's motivations. I mean, honestly, mirror the list. That's what's damaging. A couple of lawsuits brought against this company will be enough to bring it down. It doesn't matter if they re-encrypt their list. The fact that these web sites are in there should be enough to form a case, and the list has already been decrypted. This program is not the next DeCSS, the list is.

Might as well mod this post down now... (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210394)

I congratulate you. I've seen flamers before. Heck, I've been flamed before. But in all that time, no flamer has ever managed to do what you have just done. You have really pissed me off. I once promised not to flame again, but your arrogance needs a chewing-out in the worst way, and since you were too much of a coward to supply an e-mail address so that this could be taken to a private conversation where it belongs, there is no recourse left but to post it here. I apologize in advance to the rest of the Slashdot community; I wish you didn't have to see this.

Before we start, I want it noted for the record that I am in fact a Christian, as this poster claims to be. I belong to no formal demonimation therein at this point in time, but nonetheless we share many of the same beliefs. My post may sound uncharacteristically preachy, but I am attempting to argue on this poster's own terms. I've found that to be more effective than simply screaming aimlessly.

You are scum. You are lazy, overzealous, bookburning scum. I'd nearly go so far as to call you an unfit parent, but that may be going slightly too far. So instead I'll explain my statemeent point-by-point.

I said you were lazy. This is because you obviously don't take the time to do your job as a parent right (and you can always make time; sometimes it isn't easy, and sometimes it involves making sacrifices, but your job as a parent is the single most important job you have and to shirk that responsibility, as you advocate doing, is among the most immoral things I've ever seen). It's not enough to teach a child "don't do this." You have to teach them why not to do it. Censorware, your artificial babysitter, cannot do that. Schools cannot do that. Live babysitters can't do that either. Only you can. And yes, that may mean that you have to take time out from watching the game to be with your child. You might have to momentarily take a break from whatever hobbies you have. You may even have to expose them to certain kinds of "filth," as you call it, to get the point across. But if you must, far better to do it in a controlled situation than letting the kids stumble into it on their own (and they will, eventually; no filtering software blocks everything).

You are a bookburner because you advocate such. "The Australian government is more concerned with the growth and morality of their nation's children..." That's wrong, and worse, you know it's wrong. A good, moral child grows up knowing not only what is right and wrong, but why things are right or wrong, and you propose that we all leave our children and ourselves in the hands of poorly-coded software that cannot teach these things. Because you're apparently too lazy to so this, you would instead kill the growth of knowledge, the very thing which makes us what we are.

And then, we get to your lunatic zealotry. We could start by your statement that you would impose your beliefs on the whole world, which is immoral even if the beliefs do happen to be correct. You have no right to force anything on anyone, not even your own religion (and if you ever read the Bible that you're so proudly thumping in this post, you'll see that). God gave humanity free will so they could choose Him freely (or even not choose Him if they wished), but certainly not so false Christians could force their will upon people. I assert that free will is the single most precious of God's giftts to humanity, as it is the only gift given to humans alone, and thus the one which defines our humanity. So there is no greater sacrilege than to deny this gift, or to attempt to crush it, as you advocate. Chew on that for a while.

While we're at it, let's look at your definition of "filth." I see pornography there, and I agree with you on that count. I cannot agree on the sexually-transmitted disease bit; that knowledge is simply too useful, and could quite possibly save your child's life someday. Then, there's the "gay rights" one. How is that filth, I ask? I've never seen any examples of pornography, gay or otherwise, on any gay-rights site. Nor have I ever seen any hate speech (which is conspicuously absent from your definition of "filth," by the way). All I see is people fighting for their civil rights. What's so bad about that? And let's go back to the absence of hate speech from your lists for a moment. Surely you consider that to be filth; is God not supposed to be a diety who loves all His children? I can point out numerous instances where just that is said. And if you're going to pull out the tired old "God hates fags" bit, I think we could get into quite an interesting theological discussion on why I don't believe this is, strictly speaking, the case. That's an honest invitation, by the way.

You say "I expect those few parents here on Slashdot to agree with me, even if they don't say so for fear of being labeled 'fascists' or 'nazis' by the younger members of Slashdot's readership." Several points here:
  • One, I think you underestimate the number of parents here on Slashdot. I am not one of them, but I'm willing to bet that I have more experience with children as an equal or as a teacher than you have as a parent. Either way, who are you to judge the demographics having never seen so much as one number backing your point? I'm not one to judge the demographics either, mind you, but you can no more say there are few parents on Slashdot then I could say that I'm the only one on Slashdot who isn't a parent.
  • You think they will all agree with you. That's arrogance again. You are not the only parent on the face of the Earth, and given the number of parents out there it's doubtful that you're even the best. For that matter, I know plenty of parents who will disagree with you. And yes, I know one set who does agree with you, but they have their own problems which I'd rather not go into (I've mentioned them here before).
  • You talk about fear of being labeled as Nazis or fascists. That's all well and good; no same person would want to be called those things. But do not forget that the real Nazis and fascists of World War II claimed to be Christian. A lot of bad things have been done in Christianity's name, by people who pervert its teachings to justify some of the most evil acts in all human history. I fear you are doing the same.

Finally, you say "Such things [free speech and equal rights] only get in the way of the happiness of society in the long-term." No. They are what keeps a society happy. What if I told you that because I found your words offensive, you would be permanently silenced? Certainly you would take offense, and you would be right to. But that's no different from what you are doing; because you don't like something you don't think anyone should have the right to say it. That's arrogance on an unbelieveable scale, that you think that you somehow have the right to rule the minds of the whole world. Funny, I seem to remember someone else saying that a very long time ago. If I remember correctly, he was called Satan. I'll leave you to figure out where I'm going with that statement.

OK. It's time to get offensive. (2)

Forge (2456) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210395)

This software blocks access to sites that criticize it under fraudulent reasons. This is enough to validate a suite for slander.

The obvious defense of course will be that they didn't block it deliberately which is why it is necessary to sue simultaneously for consumer deception. Any Australian taxpayer can file such a suite.

These people are caught between a rock and a hard place if you want to squeeze them. All you have to do is bang them around in court since they have no legs to stand on and get a settlement that says "we will only market to home users and actively discourage legislation that forces us on libraries and ISPs."

Sweeping ot under the rug is never a solution (2)

jjoyce (4103) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210398)

The censorware debate is just like "security through obscurity." American society loves to push things under the rug; hide it rather than understand it and hope it goes away.

Intelligent people know that when stable, well-adjusted individuals are exposed to pornography and violence, they aren't adversely impacted by it. So the question becomes: why aren't we raising stable, well-adjusted people? No one likes to answer that question, because it's a poor reflection on all these people pushing the censorware in the first place.

Mankind has always dreamed of destroying the sun.

WatZ Da Point? (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210400)

Oohhh neato, look what they did. I don't see the point. Beyond publishing embarrasing lists of unjustly blocked websites that only netheads read. If the point is that you don't want public access facilities filtered through censorware, legislation is the only effective cure. Annoying these companies and giving them a little bad press won't hurt them at all. In fact by hacking/cracking this software they are pushing legislators into the opposite corner.

I mean, lets get real. Mr or Ms. average net user hears about things being cracked or hacked, viruses, DDOS attacks and other techno mumbo jumbo scaryisms all they want to do is complain to the government (thus more restrictive legislation) or buy the pigslop security or "protection" software to err on the better side of caution (what do you think convinces people to buy this junk? Real life experience or the scary stuff they hear from talking heads on the news.

Go ahead and keep up this wonderful line of attack. Give them seemingly good reason to write bs legislation and scare cluless consumers into buying more censorware. I just can't wait until they (MIB) implant that GPS transmitter and thought recorder in my head.

Do shelter kids (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210401)

Ok ,maybe shelter isn't the correct word. At some level you have to show your kids right from wrong by example. Being overprotective can produce bitterness but it is also true that that bitterness, rebelling againt authority, is a pretty standard feature of the human condition.

If you say nothing is off-limits then you wind up with kids that don't respect authority and get in trouble a lot.

On the other hand if you maintain an authoritative stance and let them experiment with different things as they mature then they are more likely to respect authority. Giving reasons helps also. "Don't do drugs because drugs are for losers. Every person I grew up with who started doing drugs in HS is either dead or working the takeout at McDonalds." or "You are too young to watch porn on the net. maybe when you are a little older I'll help you understand that just because people do things to each other on film or in a picture it doesn't mean that someone your age blah blah blah"

The point is that there are two seperate issues. Getting your kids to respect authority when it deserves respect and showing them that you care enough to want them to gradually be eased into the realities of the world. When I see some punk kid 13YO walking the street with the attitude of an Ex-Con it makes me want to cry. The world is rapidly becoming a big information gererator and repository and kids can become shellshocked running face first into a battleline of uncensored information.

Re:WatZ Da Point? (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210402)

People that use this software (the consumers) would rather err on the side of caution. Also true is the fact that if censor software companies published the lists freely then the censored companies are more likely to try to circumvent the software. Maybe their methodology (or more likely one of their methodologies) is too crude. Maybe ,like the software we use at work (big company I have no idea what they use) they simply block any file with "Fuvk","Shit"... in the URL. Therefore they could be easily circumvented.

Let me try and choos an anology from the physical world. Since, at its most basic, censorware is a type of security device I'll relate it to that.

Suppose the FooBar mall decided to hire a security service because of recent breakins. They have been broken into numerous times but nobody has been caught due to the slow response time of the local police. FooBar mall is located downtown directly on a street that divides a really posh neighborhoos from a low-income, high crime neighborhood.

After their first week on the job many neighbors notice the security gaurd's vehicle patrolling around the neighborhood. Some of the neighbors are minorities and immediately wonder if their neighborhood is being overly patrolled because they are minorities. Many of the other poor families wonder if they see the patrol vehicle so often because the officer figures poor people are more likely to commit crime. In the posh neighborhood they are annoyed at having a bothersome patrol vehicle driving by at all.

The next time they have a city council meeting the subject of the security patrol is brought up. Some peole think the security patrol should be stopped. Some think the mall should release a drawing of the patrol's route along with a timeline of how long they spend in each neighborhood. After much debate they draw up a proposal. The city council will demand that the mall draw up a map and timeline of the patrol's circuit. Further, the mall must then post copies of this route on all streetcorners of the surrounding area and update the information whenever it changes. Also, if anyone in the community objects to having the security patrol go by their residence the mall must provide written explainaitions why they are patrolling past that residence.

The mall recieves the councils request the next day. Their immediate response after discussing it with the security company is to say that providing that information would be cost prohibitive and allow crooks to circumvent the security patrol's efforts.

Ok ,its not a perfect analogy, but pretty close I think. The mall represents consumers, the security patrol represents the censorship software company, and members of the surrounding neighborhood represent all the internet websites. The local police represent the federal government trying to regulate net abuse.

Re:Do shelter kids (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210403)

The first time I took a sharp knife away from my son I showed him the scar on my hand from being cut by a sharp knife. And I told him how it happened.

I imagine the first time I discuss drugs I'll tell him about by best friend in the 5Th grade who had a party where they started smoking pot. He got stoned and decided it would be funny to smoke his mom's houseplant. He died that night die to a heart attack brought on by a severe allergic reaction.

Or I could tell him about another friend who decided to go out to the garage at his house and get wasted. After a while he ran out of coke to mix with his drinks and decided to grab off the floor what looked like a bottle of mountain dew. The radiator fluid (ethelene glycol) killed him withing the hour. His loser buddies were too wasted to notice before it was too late and too scared of getting caught with drugs to call for help. Then maybe I'll call up the parents of my friends at let them talk about their experiences.

Then to top it off a trip to the local jail to view the bloodshot dead-eyed, crackheads. Mark Twain told Anecdotes. These are real life experiences with real life people.

Re:Do shelter kids (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210404)

I'm sure there is some guy that managed to play Russian Roulette with a fully loaded pistol and live to talk about it. Heck, one guy even survived a tumble over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Then there is that guy that guy who fell 10,000 feet with a failed parachute and survived. these are exceptions. Heck, maybe you are an exception. My point is that you try to control what your child has access to until they have the maturity and understanding to really comprehend what they are seeing.

And another fact is that most people with problems tend not to be too objective on evaluating their own problems. Another fact is that supposing you are doing drugs, if you have a responsible position or other responsibilities like kids then you obviously have a serious problem. I would think that someone with a Masters from Ivy U. would be capable of the reasoning to understand that the cost-benefit analysis of doing drugs makes no sense or the empathy to understand the damage that could be done in both monetary and emotional terms to loved ones if you get caught is too great. Unless you live in Amsterdam.

Re:WatZ Da Point? (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210405)

Actually I do get your point, you don't seem to entirely get mine. And as far as public access services using censorware, attacking the company providing the software is pointless. Getting legislation passed or having the courts clarify existing legislation so that publicly funded institutions and servies can't use the software should be the focus. Looking at my previous analogy, what they are doing is comparable to bombing the security company because the mall decided to have them patrol your neighborhood.

Re:Do shelter kids (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210406)

This is true on everything in life. The facts are that the bad guy often gets away with it.

There is an underlying factor that affects the ability to teach anyone anything about right and wrong. Within the population there are three groups of people. There are those that only do the right thing if there are direct and immediate consequences for doing the wrong thing, call them moral retards. Then there are the people who do the right thing because they obey what they are told or fear furute negative repurcussions for doing the wrong thing- call them the religious moralists. Lastly, there are the people who do the right thing becase they understand why some things are right some are wrong and can empathize with others that can be hurt by doing the wrong thing- call them the self-moralizing. In the general population about 70% are morally retarded, 20% are religious moralists and less than 10% are self moralizing (the extra missing percent accounts for people like Jeffery Dalhmer). Think about this fact. Soak it in. Look around and at yourself.

That being the case, as a parent you have to either dope your kid up with religion or teach them to be self-moralizing. When you say, ""If the law (or censorship program) is made stupid and I can flout it without any trouble, and I will never get caught, then what exactally is the purpose of the law? " I say your point is irrelevent since the law is an artificial construct meant to deal with the 70% moral retards because I'm trying to make my son become self moralizing like me. Unfortunately the path to self moralization usually isn't overnight. It is a process and requires life experience and gradual development.

Re:Do shelter kids (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210407)

I see what you are saying and I agree. But as my son is 4 years old I'd rather not have that discussion right now. He doesn't have the maturity to even comprehend what the discussion is about. Maybe when he is * or 12 or whatever but some sort of attempt at filtering is better than none. The other choice would be to just deny him access totally and that would definitely be wrong.

Re:corperate drug use (2)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210408)

I'm sure there is some guy that managed to play Russian Roulette with a fully loaded pistol and live to talk about it. Heck, one guy even survived a tumble over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Then there is that guy that guy who fell 10,000 feet with a failed parachute and survived. these are exceptions. Heck, maybe you are an exception.

My point is that you try to control what your child has access to until they have the maturity and understanding to really comprehend what they are seeing.

And another fact is that most people with problems tend not to be too objective on evaluating their own problems. Yet another fact is that supposing you are doing drugs, if you have a responsible position or other responsibilities like kids then you obviously have a serious problem. I would think that someone with a Masters from Ivy U. would be capable of the reasoning to understand that the cost-benefit analysis of doing drugs makes no sense or the empathy to understand the damage that could be done in both monetary and emotional terms to loved ones if you get caught is too great. Unless you live in Amsterdam.

and this

This is true on everything in life. The facts are that the bad guy often gets away with it.

There is an underlying factor that affects the ability to teach anyone anything about right and wrong. Within the population there are three groups of people. There are those that only do the right thing if there are direct and immediate consequences for doing the wrong thing, call them moral retards. Then there are the people who do the right thing because they obey what they are told or fear furute negative repurcussions for doing the wrong thing- call them the religious moralists. Lastly, there are the people who do the right thing becase they understand why some things are right some are wrong and can empathize with others that can be hurt by doing the wrong thing- call them the self-moralizing. In the general population about 70% are morally retarded, 20% are religious moralists and less than 10% are self moralizing (the extra missing percent accounts for people like Jeffery Dalhmer). Think about this fact. Soak it in. Look around and at yourself.

That being the case, as a parent you have to either dope your kid up with religion or teach them to be self-moralizing. When you say, ""If the law (or censorship program) is made stupid and I can flout it without any trouble, and I will never get caught, then what exactally is the purpose of the law? " I say your point is irrelevent since the law is an artificial construct meant to deal with the 70% moral retards because I'm trying to make my son become self moralizing like me. Unfortunately the path to self moralization usually isn't overnight. It is a process and requires life experience and gradual development.

Well.... (2)

Chas (5144) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210415)

Personally, I could care less about some piece of babysitting software. About the only time I find the use of it offensive, is when it's enforced upon a non-minor by another entity (such as the fuster cluck down in Australia).


Chas - The one, the only.
THANK GOD!!!

Re:This is bad for out children (5)

Felix The Cat (9459) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210416)

Well, speaking as the father of a four-year-old daughter, I just have to say: BZZZZZT! WRONG!

Censorware is not the only solution, as you would have us believe. As a parent, I feel it is my duty to draw and enforce the boundaries within which my little girl can live, play and learn, whether it be in real life or on her computer. As sush, it is also my duty to personally monitor those boundaries to make sure she doesn't wander outside of them. As she gets older, those boundaries get wider and wider until, when she becomes an adult, I cannot set them anymore.

I cannot and will not abdicate this responsibility to a piece of software. This is, in effect, what the proponents of this software want us, as parents, to do. Right now, she has not discovered the Internet (like I said, she's only 4), but when she does, you'd better believe that I will be right there, helping her to discover new things on the 'Net, but always ready to enforce those boundaries that I and my wife have set for her. This, I think, will help her grow into a much more responsible and, yes, moral person than a collection of bits could ever hope to.

Meow.

good read (1)

einstein (10761) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210418)

I haven't finished reading it yet, but from the first few pages, it looks very interesting. I will finish this once I get home from work.

they go into how to reverse engineer, and use their project as an example. If you wanna learn about (un)secure system design, read this!

Re:hmm (2)

Bad Mojo (12210) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210420)

The issue has NOTHING to do with parents protecting their children. It has to do with companies using their own product to keep people from seeing web sites that show the truth. It's about revealing that these companies lie about what their software does. You may not live in the US, but if you start to let companies tell you one thing, and do another, you might as well give up ever getting a decent product.

And as for Free Speech, I find your post SO very ironic. You treat it like dirt yet you take FULL advantage of it just to post to SlashDot here. Maybe next time you think about posting, you won't have `free speech' and I won't have to listen to your pathetic whining anymore.


Bad Mojo

What the US Govmnt thinks about anti-censorware: (5)

Blue Lang (13117) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210424)

Quote from news.com the other day: (Haselton is the peacefire guy)

---
Gear wouldn't comment on the findings, but Bruce Taylor, chief counsel to the National Law Center for Children and Families in Fairfax, Va.,
disputed Haselton's study.

"I don't trust that Peacefire is telling the truth," Taylor said. "It's all part of the cyberpunk revolution. They don't like the government telling them that they don't have free access to the Internet. It's like 'Lord of the Flies,' and they think they have the conch."
---

That condescending, patronizing bullshit opinion in and of itself is more than enough to put me in the mood to grab a pitchfork and prepare for the politicians-up-against-the-wall kind of revolution.

The issue is not with censoreware, folks, the problem is with the use of hidden and encrypted ban lists. If everyone could see and change those lists at will, then censoreware, while still standing zero chance of actually working, would at least be acceptable.

As for the issue of performance, I think it's a pretty simple math problem to determine the chances of any one product effectively filtering Pr0n on the great big lan - with the number of new sites coming up every day, the ability of Pr0n purveyors to change sites at will, etc, etc, the chance of a high success rate is pretty well near nil, even if you consider only the sites that play by the rules and allow themselves to be censored.

--
blue

Re:It's all about the list. (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210425)

I'd honestly love to get my hands on a copy of this list just to do my own analysis on it which I'm SURE would show that peacefire is completely stacking the deck in their reports... Where can I find it?

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210426)

Again, no. You can't determine what a parent does with their computer. As for computers in public facilities, you'd have to take it up with the owners of the computer, not the makers of the software.

Just as when someone gets shot, (generally... you never know anymore in this day and age) it's the shooter that gets in trouble, not the gun manufacturer. But in these days of "lets sue everybody" it sounds like gun makers are also starting to see some lawsuits as well.

If you find yourself in one of those lists, and believe that you're there for no good reason, take the time to write the company (on paper would be even better than just an email) and kindly explain to them why you don't feel that your site falls into the category which they placed you in.

But yeah, in the end, you don't have any real leg to stand on to go after the makers of censor ware... Your only hope would be to take it up with the publicly run places that install the software.

Re:Legal Recourse? (3)

um... Lucas (13147) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210427)

NO.

In the US at least, this software is used by parents on their home machines... Parents have every right in the world to say what and what not their children can do and see on the internet on their home machines. It'd be awefully difficult for parents to configure proxy servers on their own that explicity block sites that they stumble across, not to mention the waste of effort. By using the software, parents are implicitly agreeing that they agree with the censorware's author's idea of what and what is not acceptable.

It's not like it should make much difference to many sites... I mean, kids don't generally have credit cards, so they can't order anything... All those ads also basically go to waste because again kids can't order anything they see promoted on various sites.

So far as the blocking of Peacefires site goes, that's probably acceptable as well... Why should parents go through the hassle of buying and installing the software if the kids can easily go to a site that gives them tools to circumvent this.

You have to realize, kids are not real citizens. Parents are in most cases liable for the actions of their kids... They have every right in the world to determine what constitutes acceptable use and what does not. It's not a denial of service attack...

That quote describes the "movement" perfectly (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210428)

As does your response. Your immature response, by the way, is why politicians laugh at people like you and make comments like the one you quoted. See, you come off as having absolutely no sense of proportion, as being just another wacko zealot, like the tree huggers and bra burners that came before you. I.e., the punchline to a passé joke. Get a grip, climb down from your high horse, learn the meaning of the first amendment, talk to people instead of making utopian speeches at themm and maybe people would actually be open to debating the subject with you. As it stands, you come off like a bunch of kiddies wanting to do a lot of grandstanding to give yourself a false sense of relevance.

And for the love of God, quit saying stupid nonsensical shit like, "The Internet views censorship as damage and routes around it." No, Skippy, it doesn't, not anymore than a Tooth Fairy actually brought you cash for your lost baby molars.

Cheers,
ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

Re:That quote describes the "movement" perfectly (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210429)

Ahhh, but you miss the difference, and the reason why I'm not a hypocrite. I am having fun on a Saturday morning, pointing out how some of these people have brainwashed themselves into thinking that they're heroic in a world of absolutes. Call it trolling if you choose, I don't care -- of course, it does bring up the delicious possible irony of the anti-"censorware" crowd trying to label me a troll so that most people will ignore the points I'm making. Hmmmm? :)

The point is that I'm just having fun, not ranting and raving about revolutions (Ha!), putting politicians up against the wall, and other silly things like that. I don't take my ridiculing of the poster's point as word from on high, something that every child should be tought in school, as opposed to the self-important dreck that comes out of the anti-"censorware" movement.

But hey, if labelling me helps you feel all warm and fuzzy and safe inside, Skippy, let me be the first to tell you to go right ahead and continue doing it. :)

Cheers,
ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

You illustrate res0's point perfectly. (2)

Zico (14255) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210431)

That is, about people making such a big deal about free speech that the debate becomes ludicrous. Do you really think you come off as a rational person when you attack res0? He surely didn't say anything worth throwing your average person into a hissy fit.

And as for Free Speech, I find your post even more ironic. Here's a hint, kid: There isn't free speech at Slashdot. Post too many trolls (read: posts that argue that Linux isn't perfect, or that don't meet the proper lame anti-Microsoft joke quota) in one day, and Slashdot might take away the ability to post from that user's IP address for a while. Same goes for the newly instituted "70 second between posts" rule, which screws the prolific and the speed typers out there. In other words, there is no free speech at Slashdot -- perhaps you could take up the crusade to boycott Slashdot?

Cheers,
ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

Re:This is bad for out children (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210433)

There's only two problems with this position:

  1. Censorware doesn't prevent your kids from finding undesirable content. There are so many holes in it that they'll still easily be able to access the stuff you're trying to block them from.
  2. It's been widely documented that censorware will prevent them from finding content that you wouldn't object to or would want them to view when that content doesn't match the censorware creator's own prejudices. For example, several excellent Bible sites are blocked by the software in question if I recall correctly.
In short, while your end may be fine, the software you're supporting doesn't accomplish that end.

Censorware Encryption Doomed to Fail (1)

Ether Trogg (17457) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210434)

Any type of CensorWare (CW) that uses any form of encryption on its blacklist is fated to be broken. The whole concept of the Open Source Movement supports this: 1000+ eyes peering deep into the quality and structure of your software.

Those 1000+ eyes all have computers, and quite a few will have mathematical and progamming skills capable to dissecting the encryption used by the CW blacklists. All it takes is a little time, and the encryption will be broken.

Strangely enough, the US Govt's ban on exporting high-level encryption actually assists in this -- someone outside Canada or the US with a good machine can crack the export version of these CW blacklists in a short span of time.

Perhaps 5 years ago, this would not have been the case, but now we have personal computers that have massive calculative capabilities (equal to a Cray of 20 years ago??), and the ability to distribute the calculation/cracking process over multiple machines running 24/7. The encryption will fail.

So, will there ever be a time when CW blacklists are encrypted in such a manner that completely defeats the resourceful hacker? Not bloody likely.

Keep up the good work, guys. Every one of your successes shows the true meaning of Freedom of Speech.

Re:This is bad for out children (1)

Mr. Mikey (17567) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210435)

As a 37-year-old who is engaged to be married, I could hardly be considered "uninformed and arrogant" by fiat, at least any more so than any other adult. I have thought about the issue of filtered access for the children I will be having.


To begin with, I take issue with this:


Children are inherently vulnerable and early exposure to such disturbing material such as
pornography, gay rights or sexually transmitted diseases can scar them for life, making it far harder for them to grow up to become fine upstanding people with a good Christian decency.

First, exposure to pornography has never, ever, been shown to be of harm to children. Next, are you suggesting that gay people shouldn't have rights? Third, I'd say reading about sexually transmitted diseases is considerably less scarring than contracting them due to ignorance.


See, I'm not calling you any names, yet I do disagree with your position. It is possible to have a civilized dialogue about this. Surely, you would rather control which sites your own children can or cannot visit than leave the decision up to the filter's manufacturers? You have no idea what they are blocking or not blocking - they could very well block access to bible sites while letting porn through. Clearly, that isn't what you want. One of the objections that I and others have is that some filter manufacturers pursue their own political agenda by blocking sites that have nothing to do with pornography, and everything to do with criticism of their products or organizations they don't approve of. Were it not for organizations like Peacefire, we would never know.


When I have children (in the next few years), I most certainly will NOT filter their access. It's my job as a parent to give them the guidance, education, and skills such that they can decide for themselves what to read, what to think. I can't do that for them - I can only provide guidance. As for the Australian government, they weren't motivated by the morality of their nation's children - there are far better ways to help their children than requiring filtering.


Finally, do you so lightly consider "free speech" and "equal rights"? If the US government decided tomorrow to restrict the speech and rights of Christians such as yourself, I suspect you'd get a whole, new perspective on life. Think about that.

Re:This is bad for out children (1)

Mr. Mikey (17567) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210436)

The thing that will keep me up at nights, is that I can't be sure that the above AC isn't serious.

Re:It's not just porn (1)

Mr. Mikey (17567) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210437)

Oh, please. It is a classic mistake to define the middle by the extremes. Yes, these pictures are icky. Yes, I looked at them. Would I want my children looking at them? That would depend on their level of maturity - I doubt they'd like them any more than you or I do. But, frankly, what the hell do you mean "If I could find these pictures in ten minutes, you can imagine much, much worse things exist on the net." ? You are trying to appeal to ignorance and fear - you aren't trying to help anyone, you're trying to scare others into your own little ideological corner.


I suggest that, in the future, you refrain from posting unless you have something substantive to say.

Re:There is a solution to this... (1)

Jrme Zago (17794) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210438)

No one really wants kids to easily see hard core porn, do they?

I must say I don't get this point. After all, porn only (usually) shows people having sex (even if it sometimes look very dirty *grin*). What's the problem with this ? I mean, is it worse than showing people killing other people for the Nation, or for God, or (name a so-called "noble" cause here) ? Aren't these materials available to children ? Yes, often they are, and rightfully so.

I think there are more important things to do than deny to our children the access to resources considered harmful in our current society.

Re:There is a solution to this... (2)

Merk (25521) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210442)

For gods sake here, all it is is a couple of naked bodies having sex, who cares! Kids can undress and look at themselves too ya know. These puritan mores in our society sicken me.

I'm no fan of the US puritan society, and think that most censorship goes way too far. However not all web pages are "a couple of naked bodies having sex". These days on the Internet you can find s&m, necrophelia, pedophelia, beastiality, rape, etc. "Playboy" might not scar a kid for life, but there are sites out there that I would guess aren't healthy for young minds.

Re:Wow! (2)

Nodatadj (28279) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210443)

Yeah, it took me over an hour to read it, I didn't understand half of it, but it was very interesting. I just wonder how long it'll be before they get complaints for putting the dissassembled code on the page (all of 10lines).

Re:hmm (2)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210444)

What is ludicrous in nature is lengths these politicians will go to in blaming the worlds problems on pornography and "subversive" influences on the internet. It is all about getting themselves in the media and creating fear and misunderstanding to further their agendas. Protecting children is only a convenient excuse.

Why do you think so many of these products block political sites and sites critical of censorship?

Open Source CensorWare? (2)

Izaak (31329) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210445)

The issue is not with censoreware, folks, the problem is with the use of hidden and encrypted ban lists. If everyone could see and change those lists at will, then censoreware, while still standing zero chance of actually working, would at least be acceptable.

I agree totally. Software can never replace parental involvement. That being said, might it still be possible to create software (in an open manner) that assists parents in monitoring their child's net usage? It would use public ban lists that the users themselves would maintain. Feedback from the users would constantly refine the publicly readable ban lists, and users could opt into lists that seem to most closely match their needs. They can always selectively permit or deny specific sites... and those choices could even help strengthen or weaken the weights assigned to sites in the ban lists.

OK, a crazy idea... but worth discussing.

Thad

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210446)

By using the software, parents are implicitly agreeing that they agree with the censorware's author's idea of what and what is not acceptable.

Actually, its painfully apparent that that isnt correct. What the parents are actually implicitly agreeing to is that they agree with some form of automated scripts idea of what is and is not acceptable.

The question is, would the parents agree if they knew what their children could or could not watch was entirely up to a computer, and very few, if any, sites were actually inspected manually?

Re:It's not just porn (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210447)

Disturbing indeed. I've seen pretty much the same stuff on the evening news tho. Those war victims and accident/starvation/disease images never look nice.

The problem, of course, is that censorware wont block it. What you end up with is an arbitrary list of sites to be blocked for some arbitrary reason decided without human intervention a few months to years after something is on the net.

Face it, the world isnt a happy happy joy joy place, in fact, it pretty much stinks.

Sometimes I wonder how much of adolescents problems are due to the fact that their parents cant lie and decieve them anymore, and they're left without sufficient psychological defences when they are confronted with the actual reality of life. I dont know, but experience tells me you deal with problems much better when you are informed, so Ive never quite understood the 'keep em ignorant until they see through it and never trust us again' approach.

Wow! (3)

fremen (33537) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210449)

What an incredible read! These guys really have their act together, and this is a MUST read for anyone interested in reverse engineering anything with crypytography.

What I really got out of this article (Other than the obvious facts about censorware) is that security through obscurity is never a good thing. In this case, it just took some bright programming and some time with a decompiler.

What was even more entertaining is how limiting their key space for the hash algorithm actually improved the security (marginally) such that a dictionary attack was a bit harder. While not that much harder, the authors have an excellent point that security would be better with salts.

Kudos to these guys for a fascinating read and a good job engineering.

Re:Porn scarred me for life! (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210450)

Just pour hot grits down your pants, it works for most trolls..

-- iCEBaLM

Re:Do shelter kids (2)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210451)

Giving reasons helps also. "Don't do drugs because drugs are for losers. Every person I grew up with who started doing drugs in HS is either dead or working the takeout at McDonalds."

Carl Sagan (and a lot of successful people I know) smoke(d) pot. :)

Depends on the drugs really, some are as harmful as cigarettes, others are pretty harmless, some are rather destructive..

-- iCEBaLM

Re:There is a solution to this... (4)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210455)

Think about this realisticly here...

If you're not specifically looking for it, its very hard to come across, especially for kids under 10, who will no doubt be looking for pokemon sites and whatever. Kids 10-16, if they do go looking for it, what do you think their reaction will be? "Ewww Sick" or they laugh it off.

This kind of content doesn't have as much effect on children as some people would have you belive.

-- iCEBaLM

Re:There is a solution to this... (5)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210456)

I think most people agree that, in certain ways, "censorware" can be useful. No one really wants kids to easily see hard core porn, do they?

To be perfectly honest with you, if I had children, I wouldn't care one way or the other if they see hard core porn.

Why you ask?

Because all kids do it, I know when I was 10 or 11 I found my brothers porn mags and looked through them, curiously. It didn't scar me for life, it didn't make me go into violent convultions, it didn't kill me.

For gods sake here, all it is is a couple of naked bodies having sex, who cares! Kids can undress and look at themselves too ya know. These puritan mores in our society sicken me.

When it's all said and done, it's not about sheilding your children from nudity and sex, because they are going to see it eventually whether you like it or not. It's about bringing up well adjusted children who are able to handle it.

-- iCEBaLM

It's not just porn (2)

slashdot-me (40891) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210469)

I getting real tired of hearing people say "it's just naked people fucking, why should we need to filter that?" And "let kids see sex, it's not unhealthy." I spent about ten miutes gathering a few pictures that you might not want your kids to see. Disturbing pictures that might very well cause emotional trauma. If I could find these pictures in ten minutes, you can imagine that much, much worse things exist on the net.

Note: these are very disturbing pictures, you DON'T want to see them. Do yourself a favor and skip the link.

http://www.ryans.dhs.org/sick.html [dhs.org]

Ryan

Re:It's not just porn (2)

slashdot-me (40891) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210470)

How could a parent explain these pictures to a kid? "That man got shot in the head with a rifle. But don't worry sweetie, no one will shoot you in the head."

These pictures would have given me nightmares a decade ago. There really isn't anything a parent can do to erase these images from the child's mind. Yes the world is a bad place, but third graders shouldn't have to scared that they will end up in one of those pictures.

Ryan

Re:It's not just porn (2)

slashdot-me (40891) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210471)

My "little idealogical corner" is more or less libertarian. I'm not a parent, I'm a twenty year old college student.

I'm not trying to "define the middle by the extremes." I certainly do not believe that these pictures represent average net content of average net porn. I simply suggest that these pictures are something I would not want my kids to see. Furthermore, I do believe there exists "much, much worse things on the net." I wouldn't want my kids to see any of that either.

I think my examples show that there are things on the net that most parents would not want their young kids to see. [accurate] filtering software would be a solution to this problem.

BTW, logging and other after-the-fact monitoring software won't do much good for these cases.

Ryan

Re:There is a solution to this... (4)

snookums (48954) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210473)

The solution is to stop thinking in terms of keywords/phrases and manually-compiled lists of sites. These are methods that have been shown to consistently loose.
My mother is a primary (elementary) school teacher, and the use of CyberPatrol is mandated by the Education Department. It blocks searches for the phrase black cockatoo (a common Australian bird) because it contains the substring black cock. This kind of mistake is unvavodable in a pattern-matching system.
Decryption of block-lists by Peacfire and friends have shown us quite clearly that these lists are compiled in a manner that is not just sloppy, but actively malicious.

The solution is to implement a scheme of probability of content type in exactly the same way that Google does it. If lots of known porn sites, or sites with a high occurrence of "bad" words link to a given page, then that page is very probably filled with porn.
Another technique is to look at combinations of factors. If a page scores highly in "sex" category, but also in "psychology" then it is probably safe to assume that it is a research paper on human sexuality and not porn. Similarly, if a page contains the words nude and supermodel but has no images or hyperlinks, then it is probably innocuous.

If anyone from Google is listening, how much to license your technology and database?

Cyber Patrol (1)

British (51765) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210474)

I had to support this software about 3 years ago. I believe there was a backdoor password that's the current date(its been a while). Also, you can just Ctrl-Alt-Delete your way out.

Re:That quote describes the "movement" perfectly (2)

ronfar (52216) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210475)

Either you're a troll or the biggest hypocrite I've seen in a long time.
He's a troll.

Re:What the US Govmnt thinks about anti-censorware (4)

ronfar (52216) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210476)

The issue is not with censoreware, folks, the problem is with the use of hidden and encrypted ban lists. If everyone could see and change those lists at will, then censoreware, while still standing zero chance of actually working, would at least be acceptable.
Actually, though, I think the fact that the software doesn't work is something that people can also hold against it.

Of course, the bizarre thing about these programs is that they are a product which you sell to people which are designed to cripple their computers. If the software were efficient and trustworthy, of course, we could probably find it acceptable for use by home users who feel a need to install it on their (or their kids) PCs. (I'm not even going to get into the problems of public institutions inflicting these things on people, that's another debate.) However, what we have are a lot of people in the business of giving people a false sense of security.

I can some it up by paraphrasing (I don't remember the exact quote) an exchange between Homer Simpson and a con man:

Con Man:Now I could sell you a fancy security system with a lot of bells and whistles that doesn't really work.

Homer:Yeah, let's get that one!

The point is, how do these people get away with selling people software that doesn't actually work? I mean I could probably come up with a simple software program that would block exactly 50% of the World Wide Web (without checking content at all, just randomly blocking every other page) and say, "My product blocks more porn, violence and Satanic sites than any of my competitors." I could even (if I were able to hide my identity as a Libertarian rabble rouser) possibly get defenders from these AFA type associations provided my rhetoric was correct. The worst thing though is the lucerative government contracts some of these companies are starting to get. Believe it or not, these companies are probably only getting into this for the money, but once the money starts coming in they will be willing to spend at least some of it to continue pushing these bad laws. The Cyber patrol press release about Australia is particularly troubling in that regard. I don't like it when people commit to censorship for ideological reasons, but I think that when you add people with $ signs in their pupils but who don't have any particular ideological commitment to censorship, you create a really bad situation.

Re:There is a solution to this... (2)

Weezul (52464) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210477)

Perhaps someone could start a project to produce a GOOD "censorware" product, one that's engineered to block the right kind of sites.

First, there is very good censorware for libraries. It's called putting the computers in the middle of the room where anyone might happen to look over you sholder, complain to the librarian, and have you kicked out. If your library has a big problem with porn (i.e. many complains daily) then just run a slide show on the circulation desk computers that runs through the newer files in the netscape cache directories of the web browsers. These ideas will be FAR more effective then a software only solution.

Actually, the AVS probable to a better job of preventing kids from seeing porn then censorware dose, so if you really want to keep kids out of porn, just run an AVS which pays the sites more.

Second, the religious right dose not really care about blocking porn. They want to block information on gay rights, women's issues, etc. Porn is just a way to get people to lissen. This means that releasing an open source blocking program would only help them, i.e. they would proide a free program too, and we would still need to fight the legislation they push.

The short version of the above statment is "we can not prevent the crazies from controlling the censorware, so it is better not to have censorware."

Third, you over estimate the danger of internet content to kids. This is one of those "takl to your kids and the problem will go away things."

Clearly, the only solution we have is to kill all attempts to install censorware in public places.. and just let parents make up their own minds about censorware.

Now, if we want to do somethings to really help we should start suing the censorware companies for false blocks and implementing these ideas [slashdot.org] .

Why you can't read Peacefire: (1)

underwhelm (53409) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210478)

This is borrowed from the linked report:

There are a few entries in the CyberNOT list that are blocked under all non-reserved categories. For instance, the anti-censorware site of Peacefire is listed as containing "Violence / Profanity, Partial Nudity, Full Nudity, Sexual Acts / Text, Gross Depictions / Text, Intolerance, Satanic or Cult, Drugs / Drug Culture, Militant / Extremist, Sex Education, Questionable / Illegal & Gambling, Alcohol & Tobacco". That's not such a surprise; blocking Peacefire has become traditional among censorware manufacturers.

In plain english: even when using CyberPatrol to block only sexually explicit and violent sites, allowing all others, you will still not be allowed to load the Peacefire site.

This seems like the most egregious violation of consumer trust a censorware distributor can commit; and until Peacefire decrpyted their lists, nobody would have been the wiser.

Re:It's all about the list. (2)

CrayDrygu (56003) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210480)

I'd honestly love to get my hands on a copy of this list just to do my own analysis on it which I'm SURE would show that peacefire is completely stacking the deck in their reports...
I didn't see their software for CP up on their site yet. I can't imagine it'll take them long, though. However, I downloaded the X-Block list and their decryption tools for that, analyzed *twice* the number of sites they did, and found their results to be pretty darn accurate.

Also, some people might say that they're skewing the results by only looking at edu sites. For one, they're explicitly telling you, right up front, that's what they're doing. And secondly, there's a higher signal/noise ratio in com and net, which means it's a lot easier to find errors in edu, where there isn't as much stuff that warrants censoring to begin with.

Re:This is bad for out children (1)

crtreece (59298) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210483)

Thank you! Finally someone with a brain and a child. You nailed it. With love and support a child can grow up to be a responsible adult. There is not some magic age when a child becomes responsible. Some people can reach an "adult" maturity level in there teens. Some never do.

Sheltering children from the hard cruelty of the real world is a very hard thing to do responsibly, and putting the burden on software/daycare/teachers is a recipe for failure.

Re:Right cause, wrong approach? (2)

crtreece (59298) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210484)

You seem to be under the assumption that companies producing censorship software really care about being a good citizen and helping the parents of Amerikkka produce smart, responsible adults. In reality, all they want to do is make money and force their views on the users of their product. If you have the same belief system as these companies, then by all means, use their products. But don't think for a minute that your views == my views, and that I just need to be shown the "light"

One reason that companies would not want to have outsiders control the sites that were blocked by their software would be control. It seems that THEY want to control what you see, hear, believe, which would not be a change from the last couple of hundred years. Any view that does not agree with theirs is to be squashed, not allowed to be evaluated on its merits and judged by each individual

Who gets to be in control of this "standard"? The religious leaders of the country? In the majority(read: mob) rules of the US, anyone who is not a Jew or some form of Christian, would not be counted, because we don't have the numbers.

Knowing what your kids are looking at and talking to them about it is the only realistic, non orwellian, way that these things can be regulated. Look at the browser history on your kids computer, look at the proxy logs(if you have them), look at the sites they are surfing to and talk to them about the ones that concern you.

rant

Americas hangups about nudity and sexuality are the root cause of all of hoopla regarding pr0n on the net, and it is really sad. There is nothing wrong with a breast, penis, or vagina except that the moralists of this country view them as dirty. By attaching a stigma/taboo to these things, young people are going to be more curious and want to search out information about these things. The sad part is that when they find out that sex can be safe and enjoyable, despite the drivel their local god-monger has been telling them, it will just cause them to rebel against the percieved unjust authority.

/rant

Don't shelter kids (3)

Voltage_Gate (69001) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210485)

My view is that kids grow up to be intelligent. When they find out what's been hidden from them and why, all it does is create angry and bitter feelings, especially when other kids weren't so sheltered. Some of us willfully go off the wagon and become total party alcoholics. Like I'm making up for what I missed, or maybe I'm just spiteful. Censorship is bad. Posting anonymously.

Re:There is a solution to this... (1)

cheese63 (74259) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210489)

No one really wants kids to easily see hard core porn, do they?

What exactly is so wrong with "hardcore porn"? It's just two people having sex. Is it the nudity? The strong "sexual content"? Why do children have to be raised in an environment that teaches that what people do normally is bad? Is a penis (philisophically sorta) that much different of a body part than someone's arm? Why censor it? People always talk about this fucking "internet revolution", but all it is is the same bullshit, presented in a new form of technology. It would be funny to have the people that cry for more censorship suddently start kicking and screaming when they lose some of their privacy. Or maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210493)

"Seeing basic rights disposed of in such a cavalier manner for the sake of convenience"

And is this sort of treatment the thing you want to display to your kids where the right to free speech is concerned. "Yeah, kid its important, thats why its in the Constitution - now shut up and stop trying to tell me its important you read about censorship on the peacefire.org website. I am your Parent, I tell you what you can say or do, remember that"

I don't think so...

Re:WatZ Da Point? (1)

MrEfficient (82395) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210494)

I understand your point that allowing eveyone to view what is being blocked and how its being blocked might allow people to circumvent the software. But, I don't think your getting my point.

First, this is about Free Speech. Censorware is potentially dangerous not because it prevents someone from speaking their mind, but because it prevents people from hearing it. People should be allowed to view both sides of an argument and make up their minds for themselves and not have the decision of what is right left up to someone like CyberPatrol. I think the fact that they block Peacefire.org is a perfect example of how this software can and is being used incorrectly.

Second, censorware isn't really a security device and your analogy isnt very accurate. I would define a security device as being meant to protect you from others, whereas censorware is essentially meant to protect you from accessing information which may or may not be harmful.

In the case of a parent using this on their computer to "protect" their children, its fine. After all, the parent has made the choice to use the software. They should, however, be aware of the fact that some harmless sites will be blocked in the process.

Where this software is used in schools and libraries, I think the issues of censorship and Free Speech are far more important. People visiting a library have no choice in the software being used. I think they should have much more freedom to access a variety of information (this does not include porn, as far as I'm concerned, if a person wants to look at porn, thats fine, but they should do it in the privacy of their own home and should not expose other people to it).

Re:WatZ Da Point? (2)

MrEfficient (82395) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210495)

I think the point is that people need to be educated on what exactly this software is doing. Unless the list of web sites being blocked is available to public scrutiny, the public's only source of information is from the company itself. "Trust us" they say, "We know what's good for you and what's bad for you".

The public should also be educated as to why this information should be available. If this is done properly, I think people will realize its a good thing. These lists should be open to public scrutiny so that the company will have to justify why a certain site is being blocked.

Yes, I think there is a need for filtering software in certain situations (schools, libraries, childrens' computers), but I think censorship is just as dangerous as some of the porn, hate sites, etc.. that this filtering software is supposed to be protecting people from.

Re:This is bad for out children (2)

omnifrog (93180) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210498)

The reason that I think that most people on Slashdot disagree with you is twofold. First of all, most people in the US (assuming most of /. is US based) have had a lot of exposure to JudeoChristian religion. I was certainly inquisitve and was always the kid in the back of the sunday school class asking why? why? why? why? why? My experience was that my teachers didn't understand what they were teaching and the rabbis couldn't explain it to my satisfaction either. And I began to believe in one morality, the only one that made sense to me which I think I learned before going to school. The golden rule. It basically says, Don't hit someone over the head with a plastic shovel if you wouldn't like to be hit over the head with a plastic shovel.

I've lived my life (yes I am still young) by this rule because it was the only morality that truly made sense to me. And I feel that a percentage of /. would feel the same. That's why there are often attacks on the Christian morality. In my opinion Gay rights is the most important issue in this country today. I am not gay (not that there's anything wrong with it :) (Would that be IANAH?) But gay rights is important because it pits my morality directly against the idea of a gloabal morality handed down by God.

At the start I said two reason's right? Here's the second.

While growing up I learned like a sponge. Reading everything (10 magazines a month, a few books too.) I wanted to know why everything happened. And I took everything people told me at face value. This includes everybody, from they guy at the fruit stand, to my parents, to my teachers. At some point I realized that I had been lied to... misled and many issues... adult issues. It seems like most people are able to shift and relearn everything quickly. I didn't. It is my guess that a good number of /.ers also don't like the idea that knowlege might be denied to children.

I am a firm believer that we don't have to protect children because children won't search out what they don't want to see. It is only when it is forbidden that it becomes interesting. I've written this on /. before, but it bares repeating. A study was done (in Europe, I believe) where children were shown hand drawn sketches of naked penises and vaginas. There was no reaction. Except maybe bordom. When kids are ready, they will search this stuff out, not before.

The problem that most /.ers seem to have is when other people's moraility makes it into law that would affect them in any way. So before you start talking about Censorware and how it helps preserve morality, please remember that even our definitions of what constitues morality greatly differs. And while I might not agree with your morality, I feel that you should be allowed to practices it. I just don't feel that your morality should have any basis in the law that governs me.

Re:Can we see more legal actions? (1)

Trombone8vb (110011) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210503)

I say, let's do the DeCSS all over again. Spread the program. Mirror away. Mirror in other countries. *FORCE* these people to redo their encryption, or change the method their software works.

The difference between this and DeCSS is that the Censorware companies can easily issue an 'upgrade' that renders the decrypting utility useless. They can't do that to DVD's unless they want to completely overhaul the entire industry of manufacturing discs and players. Plus they'd have to deal with the consumers who suddenly have to buy all new players.

Re:Man, what's with the colour??? (1)

Trombone8vb (110011) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210504)

Slashdot has different color schemes for different topics. Your rights online gets this color, while Apache's colors are even more offensive.

Re:What the US Govmnt thinks about anti-censorware (1)

Rudolfo (111984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210506)

Gear wouldn't comment on the findings, but Bruce >Taylor, chief counsel to the National Law Center for Children and Families in Fairfax, Va., disputed Haselton's study. The National Law Center for Children and Families is certainly not a US Government agency

Re:WatZ Da Point? (2)

friedo (112163) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210507)

I have to disagree here. It's not like bombing the security company. It's a lot more like following the patroll cars to determine if the routes they're patrolling are, infact, fair.

But as another poster in this thread mentioned, the two are not the same. Censorware is not a security product. Revealing the lists does not make it any more or less easy to circumvent the software at all, it just lets you find out if it's playing fair.

Re: Right cause, wrong approach? (1)

moeffju (114331) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210508)

Remember this is not about hacking the encryption to show that the encryption is weak.
This is to check the blocked URLs and give an error rating, to show that censorware, in general, is a huge failure.
Censorware blocks too many sites in error, and lets too many sites pass through on the other hand. It simply is not useful at the current state of the art. Neither URL blacklists nor word blacklists could imagine to keep up with the web's growth.

hmm (1)

res0 (132546) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210510)

i don't see a problem with software for parents to keep their kids out of porn sites and what not, but i don't think that ISPs need to enforce it on their customers. i also think that many people make too much of a deal over "free speech" and such to a point where the debate becomes very ludicrous in nature.

Re:It's not just porn (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210511)

I totally agree with your point (except that I don't believe you comment that you can get "much much worse"). I wouldn't want ME to see those. And the people who say "We don't need to filter that" are causing more harm than good.

The trouble is that your site probably wouldn't be blocked. And if Slashdot isn't blocked, then people can access it very easily.

I wonder how many of the origional sites you got those from are blocked. Anyone who has a censoring program want to see? I don't think I've got the stomach for it.

What is the big deal? (1)

esobofh (138133) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210513)

I'd be impressed if they were able to add microsoft.com and associated domains into the block sites list and stop my kids from seeing that, without the knowledge of the people at cyberpatrol...

----------------------------

Re:Man, what's with the colour??? (1)

esobofh (138133) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210514)

mmmmmmm rotten banana

----------------------------

Re:This is bad for our children (2)

latcarf (143356) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210516)

Sorry, I'm a parent of two -- one in high school and one in college. They have had their own computers for many years and web access since early 1996 and never had censor software on their computers. Their mother and I have tried to help them to understand the power of the Christian principle of love for one's fellow man and, on that basis, to distinguish pictures (or sculptures, etc.) that lovingly represent the human form and those that show the degradation of people. Is this [musee-rodin.fr] naked couple harmful to our children?

To my mind, putting Net Nanny on a kid's computer says "I don't trust you." more than it says "I want to protect you." However, I accept that reasonable people can disagree.

Legal Recourse? (1)

Chester K (145560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210519)

So with the ability to extract "proof" from one of these censorware packages that they're blocking a site, and misrepresenting why they're blocking it (the site mentions that Peacefire is blocked for Violence/Profanity, among other things), is there any type of legal action that can be taken against the creators of the censorware? It's just another form of a denial-of-service attack, isn't it?

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

Chester K (145560) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210520)

I wasn't suggesting that a lawsuit would be done on the grounds that the censorship is unconstitutional, where in a majority of cases when this type of software is used, it's not. A parent has every right to block what kinds of sites their children can see.

That's not the problem with censorware. There's a big push to have these censorware packages installed in public libraries and other public Internet access kiosks. Suppose I run an online business that's been incorrectly blocked by one of these packages (there are several examples listed in both the report listed in the story, and on Peacefire)... do I, as a business owner, have legal ground to sue to creators of the censorware, since their software is arbitrarily blocking my site (which has no reason to be blocked), and costing me business? I'm sure monetary damages could be determined by lowered advertising revenue, and revenue through purchases... can the creators of censorware be held liable for the lost revenue due to their packages blocking access to the sites under their misrepresented pretense that they're blocking "harmful" sites?

... or are there no checks to prevent censorware from arbitrarily blocking sites? Why would a site like The National Organization for Women [now.org] be blocked? Or an article about breast cancer [umdnj.edu] ? Or the texts of The Odyssey [uoregon.edu] and The Iliad [uoregon.edu] ??

Re:There is a solution to this... (1)

Izubachi (159058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210523)

Well, I guess I was incorrect in saying that phrase. It would've been better said as "Many parents do not want their children having access to hard core porn". I myself consider people having sex together fine, and I have no problem with nudity. But, there are things on the internet that go beyond just people having sex. I believe there are some images out there that really shouldn't be viewed by anyone. How about "pretend" rape pictures? How about child porn? This sort of content I believe, shouldn't be availiable to children, or anyone. I guess many of you don't share my views, I'm sorry for the assumption I made.

There is a solution to this... (3)

Izubachi (159058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210524)

I think most people agree that, in certain ways, "censorware" can be useful. No one really wants kids to easily see hard core porn, do they? But, the way that the companies who produce this type of product are lazily progamming, it's blocking the wrong type of sites. There's a solution, if we all don't like what this is doing to youths trying to access the internet, then let's make an alternative. Perhaps someone could start a project to produce a GOOD "censorware" product, one that's engineered to block the right kind of sites. I'm sure it's possible, and if the program was made availiable freely that would be a great added bonus. "Why buy these expensive, commercial nanny products that block the wrong kinds of sites, when you can get our program which does it correctly for free?". Perhaps I'm just wishfully thinking here, but until an alternative is presented, people are going to side with the "censorware" companies.

Re:Do shelter kids (1)

thewhitedragon (161861) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210526)

I do agree that in a perfect world with a large set a reviewers who kept a totally up to date set of websites that they tested rigourously against a fair set of guidelines, the system might, inspire good morals in kids. However, there are a few problems - that have already been pointed out in previous messages. Summarized: -->The list of sensored websites is never long enough - at least 50% of the sites that "need" to be censored aren't (free-email and porn) - and for lucrative websites (aka Porn) it is easy enough to find some way around censoring. -->The guidelines are rather shoddy. There are a lot of misused guidelines and such in place already, and some of the guidelines, themselves simply need to be thrown out, as they are no good at all. -->There are a lot of ways that people, from the computers that are using the censorship programs can circumvent them (using some portal like cookware) Now, then... All of these things togather and seperately attack the integrety of both "morality" and the law. the first point contributes to the belief that the law can be flouted with impunity, and that the censorship program is made by idiots. Face the facts - there are an increasing number of sites out there that provide free e-mail, and it is simply impossiable to filter them all - people will simply find other and then get their mail fowarded there. The act of fowarding shows a version of the law that is really flimsy - it is out dated and doesn't really apply to peoples' situations. The children that the censorship program is trying to "protect" may be encouraged to become script kiddies, or to simply believe that the law is inferior, or somehow doesn't apply as a result of their "out smarting" the system. The third catagory of 'shoddyness' applies here too. The second pointworks in tandem with the first and third points. What the second point tells the people that it is trying to "protect" is that it is really no good. For example: I go to a highschool, in and my highschool has ordered a supplimentary program over the internet, called APEX. Now, APEX is a fine program. I actually use it as a supplement for Calculus AB. The problem is that there are a couple of computers in the school that are there for student use, and they were filtered by "Bess", a filtering program created by N2H2. Bess filtered APEX - a STRICTLY EDUCATIONAL program that the district purchased. These kind of instances leave a strong impression in kids, especially the kind who would want to push the envalope. The result was that APEX had to have an alternate login site on the internet, as Bess continued to filter it - to this very day (3/11/00). This kind of result shows that the filtering programs, and by analogy - the law, are stupid and should not be headed, not because they aren't enforced, or are poorly worded or anyother reason besides that they are simply stupid and should never have been created at all. The two feed on eachother and form a kind of "If the law (or censorship program) is made stupid and I can flout it without any trouble, and I will never get caught, then what exactally is the purpose of the law? - Public Relations?!!!"

Re:Do shelter kids (1)

thewhitedragon (161861) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210527)

How about this: Don't do drugs, because drugs are expensive, and they take a while to get off of

Re:Do shelter kids (1)

thewhitedragon (161861) | more than 14 years ago | (#1210528)

Your whole argument is totally valid and correct, except for your conclusion - you say that kids should be sheltered, and then you go and advocate that kids should be taught and educated - the two are mutually exclusive. Just like the DARE program, you would have kids taught not to take drugs without seeing the real thing - More Public Relations. Except that you don't urge that in your arguments. You want kids to be told real life stories, to see druggies and know (or as close to know with out actually taking drugs) how bad it really is to be addicted. Let me reiterate, THIS IS NOT SHELTERING. Back to the main topic, by annology, parnets, instead of buying censorship programs, should sit down with their kids and take them to PORN sites and educate them, and show them why they don't (or do? - just trying to keep an open mind...) believe in that kind of thing. Parents and such should sit down with their kids and go to violent sites and terrorist sites and any other sites that they feel are disturbing and they should sit down and educate their children, because sooner or later, no matter if there is a censorship program, the children will access those sites.
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  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>