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Cybersitter Decides To Take A Time Out

FROM FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 1997
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE NETLY NEWS
Web filtering products designed to keep Junior from visiting bigtits.com may be a cure worse than the disease, Time reported this week (with some help from Netly's intrepid Washington correspondent). The article pointed out CyberSitter's propensity to block sites like the National Organization for Women and newsgroups devoted to discussions of gay politics. Now it might be time to add pathfinder.com to that list. A Marquette University librarian -- working as part of a team of researchers cataloging the effects of filtering software -- reports CyberSitter barred her from reading the Time article on the web. Apparently CyberSitter had, once again, blocked the web sites of its critics. (The program already blocks Netly's Censorware Search Engine.) The company, however, couldn't confirm it today -- saying a power failure had shut down their servers and yanked their databases offline. We're left with a queasy feeling: censorware filters out not only smut, but also discussions about how effective the programs are. This begs the old question, "Who watches the Watchmen?"

-- GREG LINDSAY



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Fri., Aug. 8, 1997




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