Posted on Thursday, March 02, 2006 1:34 AM
The people at Secure Computing make software, called SmartFilter, that is used by corporations, libraries and countries to block network traffic that contains, among other things, nudity. They are so smart that if they find one picture of a classical naked man on a site, they earmark that site as containing nudity, and then the software blocks all traffic from that site. For instance, the almost complete Safe For Work site boingboing is blocked from viewing in Qatar because of the existence of this picture on their site.
One way to fight this kind of censorship is to screw with the system. BoingBoing reader Kurt von Finck invented a way to do so.
What happens when the blogosphere uses so much tasteful
nudity that the web is unusable for SmartFilter users? What happens
when SmartFilter blocks so much content that the web is crippled for
So, I have created the attached button (standard 120x90 size)
that BB readers can put on their sites. It features the pubic region of
Michelangelo's David sculpture, uses fairly neutral colors, and is
taken from public domain stock photography. I release this work into
the public domain, relinquish any claims over its use, and encourage BB
readers to put it on their sites.
Maybe if enough of us do so, SmartFilter will just collapse under the weight of its own odious censoring.
The boingboing team does their thing to help put Secure Computing out of business. They do this in three ways:
- First, we're publishing a guide to evading the SmartFilter censorware. There are hundreds of ways to defeat these censorware apps, and we're going to catalog as many of them as possible.
Link to "BoingBoing's Guide To Evading Censorware."
- Next, we're compiling a list of SmartFilter's dumb classifications. Send us your misclassified SmartFilter sites so we can add them to the list.
- Finally, we're producing a guide to convincing your employer
to ditch SmartFilter. It consists of parts one and two above: a list of
bad SmartFilter classifications and a list of ways that SmartFilter can
be shredded like wet kleenex. Why spend money on bad technology that
I, for one, welcome our new censoring overlords, and to please them I've added the penis picture to my "stuff" bar.