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[FYI] Cesorware double standards


 Project Bait and Switch

                                                        Bennett Haselton


"Bait and Switch" is an experiment to find out whether small, personal
home pages and Web sites of large organizations get identical treatment
from blocking software companies in deciding what to block. 

Most censorware products attempt to block "hate speech", with "hate
speech" usually defined to include derogatory statements based on sexual
orientation. (The definitions used by the different companies are
usually published on the company Web sites; current definitions at the
time of the experiment are collected

We collected some of the anti-gay statements from the home pages of four
well-known conservative sites: the Family Research Council, the Focus on
the Family, the Official Dr. Laura web page and Concerned Women for
America (none of these sites are currently blocked by any of the
programs that we tested). We then created one different "bait" Web page
for each of these organizations, with the "bait" page consisting of
quotes taken from the organization's Web site, without telling the
viewer where the quotes came from. The "bait" pages were submitted for
review to each of the blocking companies (through anonymous HotMail
accounts so that the companies wouldn't know the submissions were coming
from Peacefire). 

In all cases, the blocking companies agreed to block the pages we
submitted in their "hate speech" categories. We then contacted the
blocking companies to ask if they would block the organizations whose
Web pages were the sources of our anti-gay quotes. 

So far, all of the censorware companies in our experiment have been
back-pedaling since then, saying that they will not block the pages
which were the original sources for the anti-gay quotes. Naturally,
Peacefire does not advocate censoring these pages, but only because we
are against censorship in general. If blocking
software claims to block sites which "denigrate people based on sexual
orientation" -- as almost all censorware companies claim to do, in their
published definitions of "hate speech" -- then the sites that we listed
clearly meet those criteria. 


"Papa, duerfen wir das Perl fuettern?"
	-- Michael Zuelsdorff, in der iX 6/2000