Automatic Content Censors Suck

General Ramblings comments edit

The concept of the automatic content censor (a la Net Nanny or CYBERsitter) is, for people with kids or conservative attitudes, an intriguing one. It’s like “anti-spam” for the web.

The thing is, they only mostly work, sort of the way spam filters only mostly work. That’s actually a real problem because with spam, you don’t have a choice - it floods into your email inbox without your asking for it; with web sites, you have the choice of visiting a site or not visiting it. Nobody’s forcing you to visit that donkey porn site, you should just know better.

Again, for folks with kids, people like the idea of automated policing. I’d like to think education would be a better solution, but I’m not the parent of your kids.

What’s got me incensed about this today is reading over at Raymond Chen’s site, it seems that there’s an Australian Internet cafe that is probably using this software and it’s blocking access to his site. I’m not sure what reading about programming matters does against the sensitivities of a child, but some automated content censor has deemed it inappropriate. I’m sure I’ve probably been censored too (though I admit I’ve had my moments language-wise, so it’d be more understandable, if annoying).

While I’m not a fan of the whole content censor thing, I’d wager over-censoring is a far greater sin than under-censoring. Oh, well. Do what you gotta do, people.