Many businesses, government agencies, and universities use software that`s designed to block “inappropriate content.” This is called Censorware. Unfortunately, their notion of what`s inappropriate includes legitimate political debate. Like Vdare.com for example.
Recently, we`ve been getting notices that various readers can`t access Vdare.com from work or public computers, because a software company somewhere “has a little list.”
Steve Sailer reports that both the Utah State Government and a Wall Street company have blocked Vdare.com, or rather, they`ve bought software that blocks us, and that both organizations need the information Vdare.com provides, and that you can`t get from the Mainstream Media.
We got a letter from an American soldier in Kuwait who reported that Vdare.com is blocked by Army software as an “advocacy group.” (Which is one of the nicer things that Censorware providers call us, frequently, like the SPLC, they call us a hate group.)
From a security point of view, it`s really worrisome that American troops don`t have access to the full spectrum of the internet, since their safety may demand access to knowledge of the latest information, including pages posted by the enemy, who definitely qualify as a hate group, and from pages about firearms training, also frequently blocked.
Peter Brimelow urged readers to
let us know when they find VDARE.COM is blocked and, if possible, what filtering software is being used. With reader help, we have already identified four commercial filters that blocked us; all have backed off after receiving a lawyer`s letter.
Censorware companies are sensitive to the fact that they can be sued; when Peacefire.org, an anti-censorship test, did a test, they found that that the companies would block “anti-gay” web pages if they thought they were from individuals, but not if they were from conservative foundations like Focus on the Family, Concerned Women For America or the Family Research Council.
The obvious reason for the double standard is that the foundations have lawyers on staff, and volunteer lawyers, and the Censorware companies are afraid of them.
They also recently unblocked Daily Kos, which had been blocked as ” Profanity, mature.” (They do use a lot of profanity, a search of their site for the “F-word” finds fifteen thousand uses of it. [Link contains a bad word, 15, 000 times.])
There are a number of ways around these things; if you carry a Blackberry or Treo type of portable device, you can read Vdare.com off that, you can use a variety of proxies, including Google.com, you can get a program called the Circumventor that you can install on your own machine, and then access anything from other machines.
We pointed out this guide to defeating censorware at BoingBoing.Net. You might also look at Peacefire.org, which has been fighting this issue since the 20th century. 1996, that is, a long time in internet terms. If you have trouble understanding the technical details, I suggest you get a teenage boy to explain it to you.
For obvious reasons, teenage boys are the world`s greatest experts on circumventing blocking software, but don`t ask them how it is they know all this, or you may get in serious trouble.
This corporate blocking software thing is part of a larger trend of suppressing free speech, which hasn`t affected the internet as much as it might, because the company that controls internet name regulation is physically located in the United States, with its First Amendment traditions. If the UN ever gets control of it, look out!
Unfortunately, the other side of that is that this is private web censorship, taking place even on, for example, hotel internet, which you`re paying for yourself, they install blocking programs to avoid the possibility of offending someone. And private web censorship, brought on by political correctness, can bypass the First Amendment.
For Vdare.com to fight back against the Censorware companies, we need two things.
- The first is that we need to know, in detail, who is trying to block us, and why, so please, if you see one of these on your computer screen, tell us (a) the name of the company that makes the blocking software, and (b) the category it`s blocked under. If they say we`re “news” or “advocacy” that may be annoying if your computer blocks those categories, but if they say we`re a “hate group” that`s libelous.
We need money for all kinds of projects, and you can contribute (it`s tax-deductible) and help us. This web-publishing format gets a lot more results for your contribution dollar than any form of written communication, it`s always here, and instantly accessible from any computer—any computer that isn`t blocked by a PC corporation.