All of us here at Boing Boing idolize David Byrne
-- so reading this post today on his blog is, for us, like a rainbow unicorn delivering a giant vanilla cupcake with a million sprinkles of awesome on top.
Mr. Byrne wrote:
There’s free Wi-Fi at the Denver airport, which is a nice, sensible touch. But to my surprise, one of my habitual surfing sites has been blocked. I’m not totally shocked that alleged nudity might be blocked (if there is nudity on the Boing Boing site it’s pretty rare and likely to be arty or ironic), but I’m perplexed by the implication that all blogs and wiki sites are suspect!
Back in NYC however, Danielle explains that not all blogs and wikis are blocked, just those filtered by Secure Computing’s web censorware product called SmartFilter. According to Boing Boing co-editor Xeni Jardin,
“[…]SmartFilter isn't very smart. Secure Computing classifies any site with any nudity – even Michaelangelo's David appearing on a single page out of thousands – as a ‘nudity’ site, which means that customers who block ‘nudity’ can't get through." (see blog post here)
Turns out, Secure Computing and other similar companies have sold their products to government-controlled monopoly Internet providers in places like Kuwait, Oman, and Sudan to name a few, effectively blocking access to filtered sites – like Boing Boing – for entire countries. Xeni wrote an op-ed in the NY Times on the issue, which you can find here.
. (thanks, Danielle Spencer)
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