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Fwd: FC: Google's porn filters block many innocuous sites

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 23:16:54 +0200 From: Joerg-Olaf Schaefers <> Organization: fx3 media To: Subject: Fwd: FC: Google's porn filters block many innocuous sites

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This is a forwarded message From: Declan McCullagh <> To: Date: Thursday, April 10, 2003, 10:44:27 PM Subject: FC: Google's porn filters block many innocuous sites


The report:


Report criticizes Google's porn filters By Declan McCullagh April 10, 2003, 8:18 PM PT

WASHINGTON--Children using Google's SafeSearch feature, designed to filter out links to Web sites with adult content, may be shielded from far more than their parents ever intended.

A report released this week by the Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society says that SafeSearch excludes many innocuous Web pages from search-result listings, including ones created by the White House, IBM, the American Library Association and clothing company Liz Claiborne.

The omissions occur because of the way Google designed the feature, which can be enabled or disabled through a preferences page. The feature uses a proprietary algorithm that automatically analyzes the pages and makes an educated guess, without intervention by Google employees.

That technique reduces the cost of the SafeSearch service, but it can lead to odd results. It's perhaps unlikely that many humans would have classified a BBC News report on East Timor, Mattel's site about its Scrabble game -- the URL includes the word "adults"--or the Nashville Public Library's teen health issues page as unsuitable for minors. Some articles from CNET and CNET Software are also invisible to SafeSearch users.


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