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Protecting Judges Against Liza Minnelli

June 24, 1998

NEW YORK CITY, NY - The Censorware Project, an organization which battles the use of blocking software by public institutions including schools and libraries, today released its report "Protecting Judges Against Liza Minnelli: the WebSENSE Censorware at Work," analyzing the WebSENSE product from NetPartners Internet Solutions. In April, The Censorware Project announced that WebSENSE had been installed in the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuit federal courts, without the judges' knowledge. WebSENSE is also in use in public libraries in Orange County, Florida and Fulton County, Indiana.

"Like other censorware, WebSENSE is extremely inaccurate," said Jonathan Wallace, a New York City-based software executive, attorney and author who is a member of the Censorware Project. "We found that WebSENSE blocked a Liza Minnelli site, baseball and soccer teams, a grocer, a speakers' bureau, a mortgage company and a magazine about Jewish teens as pornography."

Seth Finkelstein, another project member who is a professional computer programmer, said "These programs are little more than huge secret blacklists. Like all large hidden blacklists, they can contain anything from absurd entries to hidden political agendas. What else is lurking in there?"

The group argues that WebSENSE does not belong in public institutions. "It is far too inaccurate in its blocking, and the criteria are extremely vague," Wallace said.

The report, "Protecting Judges Against Liza Minnelli", is at http://www.spectacle.org/cwp/liza.html

The Censorware Project: http://www.spectacle.org/cwp/

"Federal Courts Use Censorware," April 22, 1998 press release: http://www.spectacle.org/cwp/courtcen.html

The NetPartners site: http://www.websense.com

Distributed by Internet News Bureau http://www.newsbureau.com

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