QuickLinks - Rating and filtering
QuickLinks - Rating and filtering
Issue no. 384 - 24 February 2008
- AU - Developments in internet filtering technologies
Australian Communications and Media Authority has published the inaugural report on Developments in Internet Filtering Technologies and other measures for promoting online safety. It investigates international developments in internet filtering technologies and other safety initiatives and draws together current key trends and makes observations about content, communication and e-security risks online.
- EU - Results of benchmarking of filter tools
During the second year of this three-year project, Deloitte once again carried out the SIP Benchmark testing via a comprehensive study of 30 tools for parental control. This benchmark analyses how effectively these technical solutions protect children aged 6 to 16 against harmful content on the Internet. About 150 parents and teachers from various European countries were involved in the study. In addition to these "real life" testers, an Internet laboratory was set up to conduct thorough testing under identical conditions. The results of the 2007 Benchmarking study have been compared with those of 2006 to reveal the evolution of these tools and the industry. Half of the 23 filters we tested both in 2006 and 2007 have improved their filtering capabilities relative to non-sexual content.
- FI - Controversy over police block list
In Finland, programmer Matti Nikki is under investigation for publishing a secret list of domains that authorities had allegedly censored in an effort to stop the spread of child pornography. Nikki published his list to prove the system was being abused, and was himself censored as a result. The Finnish Chancellor of Justice has received a complaint about police handling of the matter. The authorities distribute their list to the country's 20 largest ISPs, which then block access to the sites. see also Finnish internet censorship critic blacklisted (Wikinews) and Lapsiporno.info "Finnish law allows the police to list sites that fulfill the two criteria of containing child pornographic material (defined as being images that depict children in sexual context) and that are hosted abroad. However, lapsiporno.info is hosted in Finland and does not contain any child pornographic material." (Wikipedia).
- PC Magazine on parental controls
Parents might be interested in the latest reviews of filtering and monitoring software here at PC Magazine. The top-rated products are Net Nanny 5.6, Bsafe Online, Safe Eyes, and Webroot Child Safe. Note that these are "client" software products you install on the family computer. If you have the latest operating systems on Mac and Windows PCs, you can simply configure and use OS-level parental controls that are pretty feature-rich.
Issue no. 383 - 27 January 2008
- AU - Commentators query plan to filter child porn
Australian Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy faces an uphill struggle in his plans to increase internet censorship by boosting the official blacklist from a puny 1000 web pages to many millions of banned websites. Industry commentators say the task may be beyond the capabilities of filtering mechanisms and procedures, and it would be impossible to block all such material. Senator Conroy will seek to halt access to child pornography, X-rated and violent material for all home users through mandatory filtering by internet service providers.
- UK - Government continues to pressure ISPs for Internet filtering
On 8 January 2008, at the launching of the government consultation on new copyright exceptions, Lord Triesman, the UK minister for intellectual property, threatened the ISPs with the introduction of new legislation to force them to block illegal filesharing in case they cannot find a voluntary agreement together with the music and film industries by the end of summer.
- US - Should AT&T police the Internet?
AT&T has said it is testing filtering technology that will look for copyrighted material. But should the company be acting as Internet cop?
Issue no. 382 - 6 January 2008
- AU - Onus on providers to clean up web content
Every Australian with an internet connection could soon have their web content automatically censored. The restrictions are planned by the Federal Government to give greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites. Under the plan, all internet service providers will have to provide a "clean" feed to households and schools, free of pornography and other "inappropriate" material. Australians who want uncensored access to the web will have to contact their internet service provider and "opt out" of the service.
Issue no. 381 - 8 December 2007
- Parents the winner in Leopard, Vista showdown
In a showdown of new parental controls in Apple's Leopard versus Microsoft's year-old Vista, there's one clear winner - the parent. Apple's newest operating system Leopard comes with a slick set of child controls. New settings help parents manage a child's time online, block use of certain Web sites or applications like instant chat or iTunes, and watch over what kids do and who they communicate with when Mom and Dad aren't around. Neither Leopard nor Vista parental controls address the increasing mobility of devices in the home. More and more kids use handheld devices with built-in Web browser and Wi-Fi capabilities, making it possible for them to go online nearly anywhere without supervision.
Issue no. 380 - 30 September 2007
- UK - anti-grooming software
Adam Hildreth's website for teens made him millions and gave him the idea for his next venture: fighting online abuse. Now his anti-grooming software has put him in the child protection business. Once downloaded on the computer, if the software identifies a possible "grooming" conversation online a warning message appears on the screen advising the young person that he or she is involved in a potentially "dangerous" conversation. The software has the ability at the same time to alert the parent, either via email or text message, that a potential grooming incident has taken place.
Issue no. 379 - 2 September 2007
- AU - Student cracks Government's $84m porn filter
A Melbourne schoolboy has cracked the Federal Government's new $84 million internet porn filter in minutes. Tom Wood, 16, said it took him just over 30 minutes to bypass the Government's filter. Tom, a year 10 student at a southeast Melbourne private school, showed the Herald Sun how to deactivate the filter in a handful of clicks.
- ISP-level filtering? No problem, says Nominum
US software company, Nominum, claims that its technology is able to provide ISP level content filtering with 'sub-millisecond' delays, contrary to many claims that ISP level filtering would inevitably slow down response times for web surfers.
- US - Technology and Pornography
(Brigham Young University Law Review)
by Dawn C. Nunziato, George Washington University Law School. In this Article, I scrutinize these attempts to use technology to remedy the problem of minors' access to harmful Internet content, focusing on the relationship between the efficacy of the technology and the constitutionality of the legislation at issue.
Issue no. 378 - 5 August 2007
- BE - ISP told to block file-sharing in landmark case
An internet service provider in Belgium must screen traffic for music piracy, a court has ruled in a decision which overturns conventional thinking on how two major European directives relate to one another. The Court of First Instance in Belgium made the controversial ruling against ISP Scarlet Extended. It said that the ISP must block or filter out traffic on its network which it thinks is copyright-infringing material. It must introduce suitable 'technical instruments' to do this within six months. It is believed to be the first time that a European court has ruled that an ISP must block such traffic. Voir aussi Belgique : un tribunal impose à un FAI des mesures pour empêcher le piratage (Silcon.fr) at P2P: les fournisseurs d'accès sommés de fermer le robinet ! (Juriscom.net) .
- US - YouTube says content will be filtered this year
Video sharing website YouTube hopes to filter out unauthorised copyrighted material by the end of the year, according to a lawyer for its owner, Google. He said that the company hoped to have its system in place by September or later in the autumn. Beck told a New York judge of the implementation timetable as part of a lawsuit being taken against it by content owners. Film and television company Viacom, music publisher Bourne and the English Premier League are suing YouTube and their cases have been combined.
- US legislation looks at web filtering
The US has passed child safety legislation that could widen the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) powers to include the internet, according to constitutional campaigners.The Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007 (S.602) was passed by the Senate Commerce Committee and requires the FCC to do a study of internet filtering technologies. The research will include the 'existence and availability' of filtering technologies for audio and video content transmitted over 'wired, wireless, and internet' platforms, as well as other devices.
Issue no. 376 - 10 June 2007
- Global net censorship 'growing'
The level of state-led censorship of the net is growing around the world, a study of so-called internet filtering by the Open Net Initiative suggests. The study of thousands of websites across 120 Internet Service Providers found 25 of 41 countries surveyed showed evidence of content filtering.
- Global web censorship on the rise
The number of governments that routinely block web sites is increasing, according to the most comprehensive survey of internet filtering yet. Meanwhile, the same study suggests that techniques for blocking undesirable content are growing ever more sophisticated.
- UK - Pupils crack schools' internet safety filters
Thousands of schoolchildren have made it their mission to break through internet filters in schools meant to stop them surfing 'social network' websites such as Bebo, MySpace and Facebook.
Issue no. 375 - 9 May 2007
- AU - Porn filters free from July
Content filtering software from five vendors is set to become freely available in Australia from July as part of the government's program to combat offensive online content. The AU$93.3 million National Filter Scheme will see the vendors' software provided via free download from a government portal. The vendors will be determined by a request for tender issued last week.
- CN - China Blocks LiveJournal
The Chinese government began blocking access to the popular blogging site LiveJournal, cutting off its citizens from the roughly 1.8 million blogs the service hosts. SixApart, the company behind LiveJournal, says there are 8,692 self-reported Chinese bloggers on the site, a number that's likely low since it's based on information volunteered in user profiles.
- US - Senators propose labels for adult Web sites
Operators of Web sites with racy content must label their sites and register in a national directory or be fined, according to a new U.S. Senate proposal that represents the latest effort among politicians to crack down on Internet sex. The requirements will "clean up the Internet for children."
- Websense extends parental controls to mobile surfing
Websense has unveiled software that allows wireless operators to protect users from malware and protect minors from inappropriate internet content. The software, dubbed the Websense Wireless URL Categorisation Engine (WUCE), allows operators to add services such as customised parental controls, premium content offerings for subscribers, enhanced wireless security identification, as well as mobile advertising and marketing.
Issue no. 374 - 1 April 2007
- Boost for web content labelling
Technology firm Segala is spearheading an initiative to help internet users identify trusted web content through a comprehensive labelling system. Irish-based Segala has been developing content labels for more than two years and is now in talks with major web organisations and publishers to roll out the service for a number of applications.
- Internet censorship, at home or state-run, is a political hot potato
by Seth Finkelstein. Would you be surprised to hear US civil liberties groups arguing that internet censorship is cheap, easy, relatively effective and difficult to circumvent? While in reaction, the US government claimed that such efforts had an unacceptable amount of collateral damage? Yet that's what has been happening for more than a decade in litigation involving censoring the internet. While these arguments sometimes descend into a fog of statistics, the overall implications are important for public policy. In the UK, a different set of censorship issues has arisen with BT's Cleanfeed project, intended to block content that is illegal, as gathered by the Internet Watch Foundation.
- UK - Brown unveils classification system for new media
A "labelling" system for media content is under way to help parents protect their children from unsuitable content in the digital age, Gordon Brown revealed. The chancellor said that as part of its responsibilities for content regulation and media literacy Ofcom, the industry regulator, will introduce common labelling standards providing information on the type of content, regardless of the medium concerned: cinema, TV, radio, computer games, or the internet. A Treasury spokeswoman was unable to confirm when the scheme will be introduced.
Issue no. 373 - 11 March 2007
- DE - Schlechte Noten für Internet-Jugendschutzfilter
Die Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) ist mit der Effizienz der existierenden Jugendschutzfiltersysteme fürs Internet nicht zufrieden. Der KJM sei bislang noch kein Jugendschutzfilter vorgelegt worden, der den im Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) vorgesehenen Anforderungen genügt, teilte die KJM mit. Die Mitteilung resultiert aus einer ersten Analyse existierender Filterprogramme im "Prüflabor der KJM", das von jugendschutz.net betrieben wird.
Issue no. 372 - 25 February 2007
- AU - Kids bombarded by online porn as filter delayed
Up to 2.5 million Australian families are still waiting for the Federal Government to deliver on a promise to protect children from online pornography. A $93 million plan to offer every household in Australia free internet filtering software was expected to be running by the end of last year. But seven months after the announcement - billed as the 'single biggest commitment' to protecting Australian families in the history of the internet - parents are still waiting to install the promised filters on their home computers.
- FR - Contrôle parental: les logiciels gratuits des FAI en progrès
Testés par l´association E-enfance, les logiciels de contrôle parental sont globalement satisfaisants. AOL et Orange s´en sortent haut la main, Club-Internet et Free sont en progrès. Mais Neuf, Télé2 et Noos Numéricâble sont toujours à la traîne.
Issue no. 370 - 3 December 2006
- CA - ISPs to block child porn sites in Canada
Cybertip.ca, Canada's national tipline for reporting child sexual exploitation, with a richly resourced website of information, has launched Project Cleanfeed Canada, based on the successful UK launch of their own Project Cleanfeed in 2004. Working with major Canadian ISPs such as Rogers, Telus, Bell Canada, Shaw, SaskTel, MTS Allstream and Videotron, 500 and 800 offending sites will be blocked from access by their Canadian customers. see also Michael Geist's blog.
- US - Bad Facts Make Bad Law: The Perils of Filtering in a post-Grokster World
(Free Expression Policy Project)
by Marjorie Heins. Music-loving teenagers may have been disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision last year in MGM v. Grokster, condemning peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. But the full implications of that case are just beginning to be played out. One of the most troubling such implications has to do with the deceptively simple 'quick fix' of using filtering software to prevent access to copyrighted works. A decision from the federal district court last month, on remand from the Supreme Court in Grokster, dramatizes the filtering dilemma.
Issue no. 369 - 5 November 2006
- FR - Recommandation sur la « Classification des contenus multimédias mobiles »
Le Forum des droits sur l'internet publie sa Recommandation « Classification des contenus multimédias mobiles » . Points clés : pour les contenus accessibles sur les portails opérateurs et Gallery; une information claire des utilisateurs; Des contenus classés selon des critères communs à l´ensemble des acteurs; un système d´auto-classification des contenus par les éditeurs; une modération des services blogs, chats et forums publics. La concrétisation de la mise en place d´un système de contrôle parental : un système de contrôle parental activable lors de l´ouverture d´une ligne destinée à un mineur fin 2006, complété par un contrôle parental « renforcé » à l´étude en 2007; un système d´opt-in pour les contenus adultes. Un dispositif de mise en uvre opérationnelle pour la grille de classification. voir communiqué de presse
Issue no. 367 - 23 September 2006
- Europäischer Gerichtshof überprüft Jugendschutzsystem
Das Landgericht Koblenz hat dem Europäischen Gerichtshof (EuGH) die Frage zur Vorabentscheidung vorgelegt, inwiefern Alterskennzeichnungen nationaler Selbstkontrollgremien wie der Freiwilligen Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK) mit EU-Recht zu vereinbaren sind. Konkret geht es um einen laufenden Rechtsstreit, bei dem ein Konkurrent einem Internet-Versandhaus untersagen lassen will, über dessen Internetpräsenz japanische Comics auf DVD oder Videokassetten ohne Prüfung durch die FSK zu vertreiben. Die verklagte Firma führt die Anime aus Großbritannien ein, wo sie durch das dortige FSK-Pendant, das British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) auf ihre Jugendfreiheit hin getestet und für Jugendliche ab 15 Jahren freigeben wurden.
- IR - Authorities boast of success in Internet filtering
(Reporters sans frontières)
Iran is doing its utmost to isolate its citizens from the rest of the world by purging the Internet of independent content, in the name of "morality", says Reporters Without Borders, noting that the authorities even brag about the success of their censorship. 'We are filtering more than 10 million websites', boasted the technical head of the Iranian company in charge of Internet censorship, on 11 September 2006.
- Microsoft tests parental-control software
Microsoft has released a trial version of a free parental-control tool for Windows XP. Windows Live OneCare Family Safety is designed to help keep Web content that parents deem inappropriate from reaching their children. The beta version of the tool, available to the general public, updates an earlier preview version of the tool made available to about 3,000 testers in March.
Issue no. 366 - 3 September 2006
- VN - Internet Filtering in Vietnam in 2005-2006: A Country Study
Vietnam regulates access to the Internet by its citizens extensively, through both technical and legal means. The Vietnamese state attempts to block citizens from accessing political and religious material deemed to be subversive along various axes. The technical sophistication, breadth, and effectiveness of Vietnam's filtering are increasing with time, and are augmented by an ever-expanding set of legal regulations and prohibitions that govern on-line activity.
Issue no. 365 - 15 August 2006
- Child online safety card launched
A virtual ID card designed to keep children safe while they're surfing the net has been launched in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. The Net-ID-me is a secure electronic identity card that displays the user's first name, age, gender, and general location. It can be swapped by children online when using chatrooms, instant messaging and social networks.
- US - CDT opposes mandatory labeling
The Center for Democracy and Technology has urged lawmakers to reject legislation that would force Internet speakers to place government-sanctioned warning labels on a broad range of online content. The language has been attached to a major telecommunications bill and more recently to an appropriations package. As written, the provision would apply to a broad range of Internet content, and could force online publishers to tag legal, and often socially valuable, material with a 'digital scarlet letter.' CDT supports voluntary labeling efforts and has long endorsed the use of voluntary parental control tools such as filters.
Issue no. 364 - 7 July 2006
- CN - Academics break the Great Firewall of China
Computer experts from the University of Cambridge claim not only to have breached the Great Firewall of China, but have found a way to use the firewall to launch denial-of-service attacks against specific Internet Protocol addresses in the country.
- UK - How net providers stop child porn
Tracking and blocking websites which feature child pornography brings together domestic users, police forces, internet security professionals and internet service providers (ISPs). In the UK, where BT has revealed that its servers block 35,000 attempts to view child pornography each day, domestic internet users are a key link in the chain. People who discover a site that harbours suspicious content are invited to report the site to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
Issue no. 363 - 25 June 2006
- AU - Australia to give away porn-filtering software
The Australian government plans to spend about $86 million to provide all the country's families with free Internet pornography-blocking software. see also Free Internet filter 'half-baked solution' (ABC).
- IT - Betting websites are blocked in Italy
A number of betting websites are officially blocked for Italian Internet users by the Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS or Autonomous Administration of State Monopolies, a part of the Ministry of Economy and Finances).
- UK - Restricting All but the Predators
Good intentions that fall woefully short: That's the quickest summation of a proposed U.K. law intended to get pedophiles offline. The British government wants domestic ISPs to voluntarily introduce content filtering software to stop people from viewing child pornography by the end of 2007. Net and personal security experts, however, say that software only stops accidental viewing of such sites; and that the approach doesn't prevent content delivery over encrypted connections, email, instant messaging, or seemingly innocent P2P sites.
- US - Web labeling mandate surfaces in Senate
Operators of commercial Web sites with sexually explicit content would have to post warning labels on each offending page or face imprisonment under a new proposal in the U.S. Senate. Caving to earlier demands from the U.S. Department of Justice, the 24-page proposed law focuses on a medley of new penalties related to child pornography and other sexual content on the Internet. For instance, Internet service providers that fail to report to authorities any sightings of child pornography on their networks would have to cough up fines that are triple those written into current law: $150,000 for the first violation and $300,000 thereafter.
Issue no. 362 - 11 June 2006
- Blue Coat censorware company blocks BB for criticizing censorware
Blue Coat, a censorware company, has blacklisted Boing Boing because some of our entries criticize censorware and describe the means by which it may be circumvented. Boing Boing presently hosts nearly 28,000 entries, and fewer than 100 of those deal with 'proxy avoidance.' Blue Coat has blocked the entirety of the site.
Issue no. 361 - 23 May 2006
- UK - Government sets target for ISP blocking
(Internet Watch Foundation)
We are setting a target that by the end of 2007, all ISPs offering broadband internet connectivity to the UK general public put in place technical measures that prevent their customers accessing websites containing illegal images of child abuse identified by the IWF.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
- FR - Les internautes ne peuvent plus échapper au contrôle parental
Depuis quelques jours, la plupart des fournisseurs d´accès livrent à leurs nouveaux abonnés un logiciel de contrôle parental. Une campagne audiovisuelle d´information est également prévue pour responsabiliser les parents.
- Kids outsmart Web filters
by Stefanie Olsen. As more schools place tight controls on PCs to stop kids from file-sharing, instant messaging, social networking or looking at undesirable material online, the kids are getting more clever, tech experts say.
- US - Online safety for kids a thriving business
Keeping kids safe on the Internet is not only a big concern, it's big business.
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
- AU - Giants say no to porn filter trial
Australia's two largest ISPs have rejected invitations to co-operate in the most extensive internet content filtering experiment ever carried out in the country. The trial, to be launched in Tasmania, was expected to include the entire state's internet population. see also Telstra, Optus wait on filters
Index page see also Content regulation
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