The downside of net-censoring software |


The downside of net-censoring software

When sites like the National Organization for Women are filtered out, is it worth it?

The Net is littered with sites you don’t want your kids to see: graphic porn, violent imagery, the National Organization for Women. Yes, NOW’s is one of the websites blocked by CYBERsitter, an Internet-filtering product with an unannounced conservative agenda.

Solid Oak Software says its program bars sites dealing with ”sexual issues, illegal activities, bigotry, racism, drugs, and pornography.” But many of the sites aren’t exactly a walk on the Net’s wild side: MGM/United Artists (www.mgmua. com), Godiva Chocolatier (, and Smith College’s astronomy department ( (Solid Oak won’t say what it finds unfit.) Some activists say it censors such useful sites as AIDS-info Web pages — not to mention sites critical of CYBERsitter. Solid Oak CEO Brian Milburn is unapologetic: ”I’m sick of making excuses.”