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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

No, you cannot look at the naked pigs

Chinese dude relaying censored informationImage by inju via Flickr

I have posted numerous times about the 'issues' with web filters. Their side-effects and their lack of evolution (despite manufacturer claims).

So the news that China was softening its requirement that all new computers come loaded with a censorware program called (honestly, something lost in the translation) Green Dam Youth Escort because of over-blocking comes as no surprise.
While the government claims that the software is aimed only at blocking violence and pornography, it has emerged that it also blocks discussion of homosexuality and other non-pornographic gay content. It had even been found to block pictures of pigs, mistaking the image for naked human skin.
It must be progress, China-wise, that they feel the need to respond to such inanities!

Amusing, but this is exactly the same scenario which school web administrators find themselves in in the UK all the time - having to decide whether to unblock something (think gay, sex education, abortion, history of Nazis) the machine has decided is damaging.

Despite what they tell you, the people selling this stuff know that it is possible to get around it. However they also know, like the regime in China, that for most people it works. Censorware works.

And that's the problem with censorware, anywhere. Unless it is democratically controlled it is privatised or state-controlled censorship.
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