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Censorship Your Rights Online

The Breaking of Cyber Patrol 4 181

Posted by michael
from the what-they-don't-want-you-to-see dept.
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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The Breaking of Cyber Patrol 4

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Congratulations! You are now eligible to become the next Digital Millenium Copyright Act martyr! You have bypassed a device that protects access to a copyrighted work (the blocklists). Well, the DMCA is something American. The guys who did this are Canadian and Swedish - I happen to know the Swedish guy. OK, I'm no lawyer, but don't you have to be in America in order to break an American law?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is amazing... People 'protecting' CyberPatrol and similar sh*tty software...

    Kids? Do you *really* care about kids? Do you *really* think that CyberPatrol and similar crap protects KIDS?

    Take a walk...

    Tell me what you see? Whores on the corner, gangs on the street, dirt everywhere. Pornos in the windows, sex on the street, blood on the walls...

    Turn on the TV - tell me what you see? Wars, 'special reports' about some accident where XY people died, nude people in every movie...

    Go to school - tell me what you see? Drugs, violence. Kids torturing other kids.

    And kids also see all those things.

    And you are WORRIED about someone reverse engineering CyberPatrol?!

    You, sir, are complete idiot.

    Every fu*ker is using word 'kids' for political reasons, but they don't give a *shit* about kids. Kids are just a TOOL. It is a shame, to see what happens with kids today, and how are they treated - especially in the US. Nothing against US, but hey - 6 years old kid shooting other kids? Trench-coat mafia? Etc, etc, etc?

    You maybe think that CyberPatrol will solve these problems too?

    People are looking in wrong direction. Kids are not crazy because of computers - kids are crazy because of the world they are surrounded with...

    Shame...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Yes, like a "real-time porn blackhole list" (no pun intended). A open protocol, a one or more community sites (to support different flavors of blocking policy, maybe), a reference implementation, an active community (think - an upside down version of /., with moderation, etc.).

    And, in this case, a good reason to take away the profit motive, which represents a conflict of interest for these sleazy companies.
    --

  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.

    Not exactly. The parents never get to see the list of the blocked sites so they cannot check that in fact they agree with publisher on the choice of sites, since the list is secret.

    Also what about having the parents add or remove items from the list? Is it possible?

    ...richie

  • Yours is a bogus argument. My argument in the other direction is exactly what I hear on the news all the time. Why, then, are there perfectly fine kids out there who have been exposed to these things yet are still productive members of society?

    They must be picking up their dysfunctionality from somwhere before they get exposed to these things. Where are they getting it from?

    Mankind has always dreamed of destroying the sun.

  • 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.

  • There have been some good responses to this post, but I'd like to add to them.

    The chances of your children accidentally stumbling across things that would offend you are small, but if they do it won't cause them any long term harm.

    If your children are seeking out things that offend you using censor-ware is worse then useless. I say worse than useless because instead of having open communication with your child you are dictating to them. You use your financial superiority as the only one in the parent-child relationship who can afford to purchase a computer to impose your will on them. This creates an adversarial relationship where you try to block what they can see while they try to evade your blocks. Eventually they will grow up and you will no longer be able to impose your views on them by force. You'll probably lose them completely.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • I assume when we say drugs we are talking about illegal drugs or illegal use of drugs. Tell what you say to the millions of other citizens rotting away in jail and prison as we speak. Tell it to your kid when he visits on the weekend. Yes I think drug addicts sould be treated if they want treatment. No I don't think they should be in jail for that alone. If they get stoned and harm someone else then they certainly need punishment. But the reality is that if you get caught you will definetly pay a lot of money, you may lose your job and you may go straight to jail. I can hear that wonderful conversation, ," Daddy, how come we have to move? Why doesn't mommy quit crying? My friend at schood says you are a drug dealer. Can I have just one hit before dinner?" or beter yet, "Bubba, you're really not sticking that up my ass, this is all just subjective."

    If you read my post about Moral Retards, religious moralists and self moralizing people it explains it all. Most people are moral retards so we write lots of laws to try to keep them in check. The spirit of Laws are based on Torts(wrongs) and property rights not "The spirit of the law is to do the greatest good while doing the least harm." The most fundament aspect of human nature is greed and laws exist to deal with greed to create an orderly society full of moral retards.

    And no, the law seldom fails. People fail. Either in upholding or following it. You, I and everyone else fail in some aspects. For the most part though, in my case I don't normally consciously fail the law or teach my children to either. Unless taking a stand against a bad law is more important. The laws against non-violent drug offenders definitelt fits the bill but not to the point that I would risk my family over it.

    The UCITA is still a work in progress. In the short term it may be a pain in the butt. It doesn't become effective for another year here in Virginia and already several amendments have been made. I have no doubts that it will eventually go down in flames. It probably won't be until big businesses realize they are slitting their own wrists. Either way the DCMA isn't likely to survive a challenge in the Supreme Court (First Amendment) and both the DCMA and UCITA will likely be found to conflict with existing commercial contract laws.

  • Allen Ginsberg, Jim Morrison, Steve Jobs, Jack Kerouac, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Andy Warhol?

    Morrison killed himself and ruined a lot of lives. Steve jobs fucked over his girfriend and their child for years. Kerouac- a street bum alcoholic who could write who was also a nasty asshole who hurt many people. Hendrix you havea point. Corbain, what a fucking loser. At least we know who the real talent was (Foo Fighters). Warhol-Uh whatever. A shallow man.

    More to the point how about my brother and his ex-wife. He went from making >$100K back in 90 to losing his house, fucking up his kids, his kids now do drugs, he has nearly killed several people driving while under the influence of drugs. I coould go on.

    Please find where I posted my explaination about moral retards, religious moralists, and self moralizers. If you really think doing drugs is a personal decision and doesn't effect others then you obviously cant feel empathy. Guess what category that falls into. Get a little Zen, its not " what's the path matter if the final destination is the same?" its all about how you get there not just getting there.

  • Either you haven't seen or been associated with drug users or you haven't been around to take the long view of things. It is not an exageration when I say that nearly all of the people I knew in highschool who did drugs has ruined their lives and often the lives of others. At least five are dead, two are in jail, several including my brother are so far in the shitter they couldn't get out if they wanted to, at least 16 fucked up kids including two of my nephews, countless times of hurting innocent people....

    Whatever. Laws are laws are laws are laws. For the most part laws exist for the moral retards. If you really understand right and wrong and have the ability to feel empathy then they are irrelevent.

    Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

  • My point is that this is reality. This is unlikely to change. 70% of the people when caught breaking the law chant the mantra they the reason they broke the law is that they thought they wouldn't get caught. It isn't really a different morality as much as a lack of morality. The important distinction is that most people are busy only really understanding how decisions effect themselves and very few go the next step to thinking what will happen to other people.

    It is this exact lack of morality and incapacity for morality that leads people to think that everything is ok. Good and bad are always subjective. "Subjective" is overused. Subjective meaning that two people can disagree and both be correct is one thing. We each come from different paradigms. We can disagree and both be just. On the other hand, and getting back to the real situation, it is never the right thing to do when you shoot an innocent to make a point. Terrorizing a software company because you don't agree that another person should use it is wrong. It is also important to note that putting a gun into a childs hand when they can't comprehend the consequesnces of their actions if they were to shoot someone is wrong. Bang, bang you are dead. Taken to this extreme it becomes somewhat more clear. Letting a four year old view pictures of a naked woman with a fist up her ass is also inappropriate. God forbid they decide to try that with their buddies.

    It is essentially a large book of rules that our society at large has decided that we will all abide by.

    Not really, it is a large book or rules that a select few in out society has written for others to abide by. Law is written to hopefully help those who have no capacity to understand how their actions can impact others and to provide the immediate consequence so that an orderly society can exist.

  • You don'y deny the child anything. You simply throttle it and sumplement the data with understanding when the child has reached the level of maturity and experience to fully comprehend the information. You crawl before you walk and you walk before you run.

  • Thanks, but I'm also saying that drugs shouldn't be illegal. At least not using drugs. But for other reasons I don't nor will I encouage my children or anyone I know to do drugs. But the reality is that drugs are illegal and their are consequences for breaking the law that no-one should be concieted enough to believe they are the only ones effected.
  • by Chas (5144)
    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!!!
  • by Felix The Cat (9459) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @07:23AM (#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.
  • 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.

    Troll feeding time.

    Yes, sorry, it does view it as damage. Can you name one thing that has been censored off the internet? Anything? Just one tiny item?

    No, you can't, because any blocking of any infomation immediately causes that information to become accessable in about 10x that number of places.

    -David T. C.

  • 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!
  • Several attacks are presented on the "sophisticated anti-hacker security" features of Cyber Patrol(R) 4

    Congratulations! You are now eligible to become the next Digital Millenium Copyright Act martyr! You have bypassed a device that protects access to a copyrighted work (the blocklists).

    Ain't life grand?

  • 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
  • You can take your hint and shove it up your ass, KID.

    Maybe you think that trolling is freedom of speech. Maybe you think shouting fire in a theater or killing a cop is free speech. If so, you make an excellent point. But it's obvious that you confuse free speech with `doing what I want'. At SlashDot, the user can censor what he wants of the SPEECH here. If I want to read what others have to say, it's easy enough to view every single comment that wasn't some lame attempt at destroying the forum itself.

    Until people start to realize that free speech takes work and effort, no one is going to get it. And here you are, taking it for granted. Saying you don't even have it. Wait till it's gone I say. Then enjoy what you get.

    Bad Mojo
  • Hi Rudolfo,

    ear 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

    The NLC, while not being an actual govmnt agency, is actually even a little worse - they are an active lobbying house for legislative action. In other words, they are a force behind a lot of the truly shity legislation that gets passed concerning censorship - and they're damned proud of it.

    I admit that my title is overkill - they are not a government agency, but for all intents and purposes, they are a component of the US legislative body.

    If that makes no sense, read their web pages, or just go straight here. [nationallawcenter.org]

    thanks,

    --
    blue
  • Hi Zico,

    Your immature response, by the way, is why politicians laugh at people like you and make comments like the one you quoted.

    Since you didn't quote anything, and most of my post was pretty low-key, I can only assume that you're talking about the line about revolt. Since you were nice enough to call me skippy, allow me to give you a short education on some methods of literary humor:

    The quote from the lawyer referred to a revolution, a cyberpunk one. My line also referred to a revolution, but in the proletariat sense. See? Get it?

    Also, I believe I fully qualified my statement by saying that it was his attitude that bothered me - I am not a child, I am not out of control, and I do not have the conch. I do, however, feel very strongly that I should be in control of everything I do, and that is my god-given right to beat off to Pr0n any time I like. Do you like it when people make blanket statements about your lifestyle, your friends, your hobbies, in a derragatory manner? I certainly don't.

    ... tree huggers and bra burners that came before you

    Yes, damn those tree-huggers and bra-burners. I mean, women don't need to vote, right? And, fuck those darn trees anyways, always getting in the way of the pavement...

    If you think that freedom and equality are the punchline to a passe joke, well.. there's just not much I can say to you. I am very, very sorry. We live in different worlds, I guess.

    talk to people instead of making utopian speeches at themm and maybe people would actually be open to debating the subject with you ...

    nonsensical shit like, "The Internet views censorship as damage and routes around it."


    Did you actually read my post? Were you actually responding to me? I mean, did you mean to put that in quotes, as though I said it? I post a lot, and I very, very rarely resort to cliche.

    themselves into thinking that they're heroic in a world of absolutes

    Nice sentance. I think the peacefire.org people and the guys who wrote the article ARE heros. So, you're absolutley right. I thank them sincerely and deeply for risking the ire of those who are into opressing such things.

    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...

    The point is that I'm just having fun,


    You made it too easy - these lines are almost back to back. You're just having fun, possibly trying to get a rise out of people, possibly, hell, I dunno, trolling? Welp, I bit.

    something that every child should be tought in school, as opposed to the self-important dreck that comes out of
    the anti-"censorware" movement


    Interesting point - sort of. If I ever have children, I will make damn sure that they understand the concept of censorship. I will make damned sure that they understand the concept of revolution, and that they understand their reponsibility to humanity to stand up for freedom and everyone's right to be left the fuck alone and live their life as they wish.

    --
    blue
  • by Blue Lang (13117) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @06:39AM (#1210424) Homepage
    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
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • by um... Lucas (13147) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @06:57AM (#1210427) Homepage Journal
    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...
  • 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

  • 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

  • First off, I apologize to you, Blue Lang, for lambasting you the way I did. I'd read a number of posts that I found ridiculous, and instead of responding to each of them, decided to go off on a rant on them in one fell swoop, which ended up being your post. So, I was more, um, forceful than I would've been had i read your post in a vacuum, so I'm sorry. Still don't agree with you, and I still think the politician's quote was dead-on, so here we gooooo.

    I really don't get exercised when a politician makes some derogatory statement about my lifestyle and hobbies. If they knew my lifestyle and hobbies, they'd probably slam the Hell out of me. (Hell, GOP candidate Alan Keyes got slammed for doing a stage dive for his fans -- you can't do anything but laugh at out of touch people like that.) But it gets pretty tiring seeing every single group get all bent out of shape whenever someone doesn't agree with them and dares to say it out loud. To me, Political Correctness has gotta be one of the biggest problems this country faces today.

    Um, which bra burners were fighting for the right to vote? Women had the right to vote for decades before those losers started up. Tree-huggers exist for the sole reason to be laughed at. You understand that I'm talking about people who literally burned their bras and hug trees, right? I'm not talking about suffragists, environmentalists, or free speech advocates. I'm talking about wackos, specifically the large number of them that always pipe up when the subject of the article comes up.

    The quote was a tired, untrue cliche spouted by a lot of the same people who either think that it's oh-so pithy, or haven't been able to come up with something better for the last dozen years or so.

    I care very much about free speech, enough that I used to be an ACLU member, until they got too political and became a living, breathing double standard. I most definitely don't find the Peacefire kids to be heroes in any sense of the word, however.

    As for the troll thing, I said that I found it ironic that any free speech advocates would label me as such, since the intended effect on Slashdot is to label someone a troll, so that they get scored down, thus fewer people get to see their point of view. Sounds pretty anathema to their goals, but hey, that's just me. If someone wants to call me one just because I can be abrasive as all get out, well, that's their choice. It's not something I'm going to get worked up about. And yes, the point is that I'm having fun, because in the grand scheme of things, I don't take the actions of Peacefire organization to be any big whoop.

    I don't like censorship either. I'm a libertarian. And I'm not talking about the Slashdot brand of libertarianism -- you know, the special "Let me do whatever I want to do. Oh, but hey, while I've got you here, could you go after large corporations over web browsers? Oh yeah, and you don't mind if I engage in a little class warfare baiting, do you? Wait, before you go, teach those bad ol' tobacco companies a lesson, whydon'tcha. Oh yeah, and I know the Constitution doesn't say anything about them, but I think the government owes it to me to give me free health care for life. Maybe free pez, too. While we're at it, I know the Bill of Rights forbids it, but let's take away all the guns from our citizens, especially gun nuts like ESR!" brand of libertarianism.

    However, children don't have the same rights as adults, nor should they, because they don't have the same responsibilities. If a parent wants to put filtering software on their computer, that's their decision, and silly cries of "Censorship!" are just that -- silly. Same with local library boards and schools. People do not have the right to internet access, no more than I have the right to demand that my library starts subscribing to "Amateur Dog Humpers Weekly." If I want that magazine, I'll have to get it myself, and if someone wants to view a site that their library blocks, then go get yourself a free ISP and download all the blocked material you want.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • 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

  • If the system is still implemented as it was before, then a certain number of posts that get moderated "Troll" coming from a specific IP address, within a certain time period, would trigger, for a certain time period (a day, I think), posts coming from that same IP to be blocked.

    There is also a mechanism which keeps the same person from posting more than once within a certain time period, perhaps 70 seconds.

    From both of these things, you cannot say that Slashdot has truly free speech. I'm not even arguing that Slashdot is doing a bad thing, but if you're going to, on principle, excoriate someone who thinks that some limitations on free speech aren't so bad, but excuse Slashdot for its own limitations on free speech, then your position isn't based upon principle after all. Instead, it's a subjective position, which doesn't really give you much moral high ground in this argument, because you're basically saying that, "Well, I just like my limitations better than yours."

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • What the US Govmnt thinks about anti-censorware:

    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.


    The National Law Center for Children and Families doesn't appear to be an arm of the U.S. Government. According to their Fil tering Memorandum of Law, [nationallawcenter.org] they are a "non-profit educational organization."

    It is true that two of their three senior counsel used to work in the Justice Department, and it is probable that Taylor's public opinion reflects the private opinion of other members of Justice. But it's inappropriate to regard this outburst as an official statement of policy of the U.S. Government.
  • I almost can't believe you honestly believe this. The notion that access to pornography has any correlation whatsoever with criminal activity is just so totally unsupported, to the best of my knowledge. If you disagree, educate me. Please.
  • by Mike A. (19999)
    Shown by whom, may I ask, and why would I consider them (whoever they may be) any more credible than the ADL themselves?
  • 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.

  • 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).
  • 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?
  • 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

  • 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?

  • 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.
  • But they wont be able to stop it. These kinds of pictures are _pervasive_ in society, it isnt just on the web you'll find them.

    Even worse, what if there is chance they will end up in a picture like that? Or end up causing a picture like that? Which is the best plan, teach them that bad things happen in the world and how to avoid it or fight against it, or keep them ignorant until they're faced with it?

    For violent teenagers, after getting caught in violent crime, actually _showing_ them the real damage their kicks and battery causes, the faces of their battered and bruised victims, educating them on what violence really looks like, has been shown to decrease repeat crime. Looking at the average 'censored' action flick you'd think you can beat someone up pretty bad without consequences. Faced with the brutal reality they are less likely to do it.

    I remember in psych class, we were shown a few studies where _cartoons_ showed up to be the most likely to cause violence in small children. Why? Because the 'morals' of a cartoon says you can smash someone with a door and they'll just get flat for a while.

    Censoring sometimes does more harm than good. Less reality in a tv fight truly causes less of trauma, but it also teaches the wrong interpretation of the consequences of violence. The natural reaction _is_ natural and it teaches something.

    I agree, nobody, wether kids or adults should ever have to see such things, on images or in real life. But the energy should be spent fighting the causes, rather than pretending it isnt there.
  • by fremen (33537) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @07:12AM (#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.
  • Just pour hot grits down your pants, it works for most trolls..

    -- iCEBaLM
  • 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
  • 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.

    I don't try. It's my position that seeing, hearing, experiencing adversity makes them stronger people. It's the "shelter mentality" that has gotten our society to this position.

    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.

    And if you take Halls and perform a breathalyzer test you will fail. Come on now. What drugs are you talking about here? There are so many which have such different effects on the body that you cannot make a blanket generalization like that.

    Right and Wrong, Good and Bad, they are all human constructs and they are all subjective. What is good for some is not good for others, what one person perceives as right another vemently denounces.

    The spirit of the law is to do the greatest good while doing the least harm, and sometimes it fails, horribly. This "war on drugs" and narcotics laws are only one instance, another is the DMCA, yet another is the UCITA, I could go on and on about how the law fails miserably. However in each case it is good for some and bad for others.

    Good and Bad, Right and Wrong are subjective human constructs and they should be treated as such, this is how the law fails.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • I assume when we say drugs we are talking about illegal drugs or illegal use of drugs. Tell what you say to the millions of other citizens rotting away in jail and prison as we speak. Tell it to your kid when he visits on the weekend. Yes I think drug addicts sould be treated if they want treatment. No I don't think they should be in jail for that alone. If they get stoned and harm someone else then they certainly need punishment. But the reality is that if you get caught you will definetly pay a lot of money, you may lose your job and you may go straight to jail.

    Just like MS spreads FUD about Linux and other operating systems, the government, but more importantly, the tobacco industry, has spread FUD about drugs, pot in particular.

    Just like you can drink alcohol responsibly you can also take many drugs responsibly. Everything is an addiction, TV, computers, the internet, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, music, games, work, sex, food. Addictions are not necessarily bad things.

    There are problems with drugs, just like there are problems with alcohol, I will not deny this as to would be impossible. There are problems with everything, this doesn't mean it should be illegal.

    I'd like to state right now however, that I do not use drugs, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, etc, however, as long as people do them and they don't harm me then I see no fault in it. Pot has gotten a very bad reputation at the hands of the tobacco industry, that's why it's illegal, not because its harmful.

    And no, the law seldom fails. People fail. Either in upholding or following it.

    And people create, maintain, uphold, and interpret the law, and the law is dependant on these people to do just that, therefore the law fails.

    Law is a human creation, it is inherently flawed because of it.

    For the most part though, in my case I don't normally consciously fail the law or teach my children to either. Unless taking a stand against a bad law is more important.

    I will oppose to my dying breath any and all laws I deem wrong, and I have no quam about doing so, because if I don't, who will? And then what do we have? A country full of bad laws no one stood against.

    The laws against non-violent drug offenders definitelt fits the bill but not to the point that I would risk my family over it.

    "If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem."

    -- iCEBaLM
  • Either you haven't seen or been associated with drug users or you haven't been around to take the long view of things.

    Wrong, I know many successful people who have used or do use drugs, of course there are also those who can't handle it, there will always be them. Should we make them illegal because of it? No I don't think so. Many people can't handle many things.

    It is not an exageration when I say that nearly all of the people I knew in highschool who did drugs has ruined their lives and often the lives of others. At least five are dead, two are in jail, several including my brother are so far in the shitter they couldn't get out if they wanted to, at least 16 fucked up kids including two of my nephews, countless times of hurting innocent people....

    Sorry to hear about your circumstances, however I still belive drugs should not be illegal.

    -- iCEBaLM
  • by iCEBaLM (34905) <icebalm@NOSPaM.icebalm.com> on Saturday March 11, 2000 @09:14AM (#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
  • by iCEBaLM (34905) <icebalm@NOSPaM.icebalm.com> on Saturday March 11, 2000 @07:20AM (#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
  • "... 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...

    How about you do a cost-benefit analysis on the "War on (Some) Drugs"? A little research will tell you that all the so-called Drug War conducted over the last twenty years has given us is increased availability (i.e., a greater quanitity) of higher quality drugs...

    "... 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.

    While it is true that SOME people have drug problems and SOME people have suffered because of drugs, it is an indisputable fact that the biggest victim in the "War on (Some) Drugs" has been the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I don't like having MY rights limited because there are some people that can't handle drugs because they have an addictive personality (which if you think about it should be a medical, not legal problem)...

    --
  • If you really think doing drugs is a personal decision and doesn't effect others then you obviously cant feel empathy.

    ROTFL!!!! Can anyone see the irony in N8F8's viewpoint when he states that if you use drugs then you don't have any empathy towards others while demonstrating a lack of empathy towards drug users?

    And as an OT aside, it is AFFECT, not EFFECT!!!
    --
  • How about this: Don't do drugs, because drugs are expensive, and they take a while to get off of

    Well thanks to the "War on (Some) Drugs", drugs are now cheaper and more plentiful. For example, a gram of cocaine hydrochloride (powered form) used to be $100 a gram ten to fifteen years ago. It currently can be obtained for $40 a gram these day (if you know where to look!). Not only is cocaine cheaper, the quality is much higher these days...

    As for your second point, drugs like LSD and XTC are not PHYSICALLY addictive. It is true that there may be a PSYCHOLOGICAL dependence on those drugs, there are no withdrawal symptoms so you can take them today and stop tomorrow...
    --
  • 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.

    Error #1: Malls are not usually put in POOR neighborhoods...

    Error #2: Posh neighborhoods have PRIVATE security firms and excellent response times from the local police...

    Error #3: What are mall security guards doing in private neighborhoods? They shouldn't even leave the mall parking lot!

    Ok ,its not a perfect analogy...

    That is an understatement if I ever heard one...
    --
  • The Nazis didn't claim to be Christian, and in fact (IIRC), a lot of the top ones were pagans of some kind.

    BZZZZT! Wrong answer...

    From Quotes from Hitler's Henchmen and Nazi Sympathizers [icanect.net]:

    Although he himself [Hitler] was a Catholic, he wished the Protestant Church to have a stronger position in Germany, since Germany was two-thirds Protestant. -Hermann Göring

    God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he [Hitler] was sent to us by God to save Germany. -Hermann Göring

    We believe that the Fuhrer is fulfilling a divine mission to German destiny! This belief is beyond challenge. -Rudolf Hess

    We have a feeling that Germany has been transformed into a great house of God, including all classes, professions and creeds, where the Fuhrer as our mediator stood before the throne of the Almighty. -Joseph Goebbels

    and my favorite:

    In a certain sense National Socialism is religion, for it does not require its partisans to be convinced of the rightness of its teachings but to believe in it. -Professor Paul Schnabel, Halle University

    HINT: google [google.com] is your friend...
    --
  • 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.

    Maybe if third graders worldwide were exposed to these kinds of pictures, we could end war/torture within a generation...
    --
  • 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.

    He would have learned the lesson BETTER if he had cut himself. You tell a kid that fire will burn them yet a lot of them still end up burning themselves. Some lessons in live they simply have to learn for themselves.

    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.

    That, my friend, is an anecdote. Give us a URL of the news story reporting his death and of the obituary and THEN I will believe you. As it stands you are just blowing smoke out of your ass...

    Anyway, all your anecdote tells me is to "JUST SAY NO TO HOUSEPLANTS"!!!

    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.

    Again, give us an URL of a news story and obituary. Prove to us that you are telling the truth and not just making up wild stories that support your dubious assertions...

    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.

    And if drugs were legal and regulated these "loser" friends would have called EMS and probably your friend would still be alive today, n'est pas?

    Then to top it off a trip to the local jail to view the bloodshot dead-eyed, crackheads.

    Most of whom are Black and Hispanic. White people buy the powered form (cocaine hydrochloride) and do it until the cows come home. And if they get arrested they just pay a lawyer to get them off with an adjudicated probation -- six months of piss tests then they get the charges dropped from their record. Meanwhile individuals that are minority (and by extension often too poor to get a private lawyer and have to settle for a public defender) go to jail and get a drug conviction on their permanent record.

    It seems to me that disparate sentences for what essentially is the same drug goes against the Equal Protection clause of the Bill of Rights, especially when a racially discriminatory pattern of law enforcement is obvious. Obvious to minorities that is. White people just don't seem to see it...

    Mark Twain told Anecdotes. These are real life experiences with real life people.

    Until you provide URL's it is just another anecdote. If your "friends" died in such a sensational manner there must of been extensive news coverage. Please give us some facts instead of the vague anecdotes you are so fond of...

    Anyway, if your "friends" are so stupid that they died doing idiotic things, I for one say "GOOD RIDDANCE"!!! There are too many stupid people running around these days anyway, and I believe that thinning the herd is a GOOD thing. If your anecdotes are true, the best part about their deaths is that your "friends" died before they had a chance to spread their (obviously) defective DNA....

    --
  • How? Third graders don't start wars.

    And they are not inherently racist. Most negative human behaviors are learned, so why not teach positive ones instead, i.e., if they realize how bad war is they will never want to have one.

    As it is things like nationalism are taught, so while it is true that "thou shalt not kill" ideas like "better dead than red" take precedence...

    Or do you think the leaders of countries have never seen people maimed and killed?

    The problem is that world leaders not only have seen death and destruction, they often encourage it to maintain their grip on power. The sad part is that most people accept such behavior from world leaders.

    For an example, witness the apathy in the U.S. regarding the overthrow of popularly elected socialist Salvador Allende (democracy) by Pinochet and the Chilean military (military dictatorship). It is a known fact the CIA was aware of the Chilean death squads that killed not only Chileans but also citizens from other countries.

    Again, if we taught our third graders about peace and love instead of war and hate, we probably could eliminate war (unless of course you believe that man's animal side means that man will always go to war or murder because of our nature).

    Sorry, I woke up feeling exceptionally CYNICAL today!!!
    --
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • by snookums (48954) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @07:19AM (#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?

  • Either you're a troll or the biggest hypocrite I've seen in a long time.
    He's a troll.
  • by ronfar (52216) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @07:36AM (#1210476) Journal
    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.

  • 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].
  • 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.

  • In what way do children get hurt by knowing gay rights? they get hurt if they do not get told about homsexuality, let alone if they're being brought up thinking homosexuality is some weird disease, or something filthy. Shielding your children from pornography.. fine.. I can understand that, even though I do not agree. As for your point about christian decency: I want children to grow up with decency, not necessarily christian. It wouldn't be the first kid to grow up thinking it is abnormal, filthy and/or just plain sick because he/she turns out to be homosexual or *gasp* bisexual. Think about it. Why do you love someone? Ideally this would be for personality. And can someone of the same sexe as you not have a beautiful personality?

    //rdj
  • 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

  • by Voltage_Gate (69001) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @06:42AM (#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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I think we are missing the point here. With all the attempts at decrypting the ban list and publishing the plain text, one point they are trying to prove is that these censorware products simply SUCK. They are way too many porn sites popping up per the hour compared to a new ban list coming up. They are blocking site on reasons of not pornography, violence, but simply because the company does not like these sites, like PEacefire.

    I gather these products have to be politically correct, so blocking out many activitist, racist, political-bashing etc sites is part of their job. But are we willing to bring up our child in a perfect haven? The moment he steps into society he is gonna get the f_ing culture shock of his life. I do not agree with showing a porn magazine a day to your children, but we cannot keep them pure forever. We want to have creative, thinking people who are willing to do the unthinkable and stand up for themselves in society. People who spent half their live watching only barney and friends ain't gonna make the mark.

    Which brings the point, what in the f_ing world are parents here for? You think god or any almighty being created the basic family unit for fun? The purpose of the parents or being parents is to guide our children. Expose them to the appropriate, and shelter them accordingly to situation, time and age. How to you think human rights activitist themselves became one? If they had spent their life blind from abuse of human rights out there on the streets, they won't have give a damn now. Parental guidance and censorship are dynamic, stupid censorware products aren't.

    Stop blaming the damn product for not doing its job when you ain't doing yours as a parent.
  • 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.

  • Aparrently this site was banned http://www.cet.com/~bangs/page2.htm [cet.com] (Well, a page that redirects to it was) - This is just about sheet music

    Obviously that was because of the piece "Air on a G-String". Good lord, I hope my children never listen to such filth.
  • 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.

  • by Izubachi (159058) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @06:49AM (#1210524) Homepage
    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.

The ideal voice for radio may be defined as showing no substance, no sex, no owner, and a message of importance for every housewife. -- Harry V. Wade

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