Fwd - IT: "Banned Websites Week" - book sites as SEX (SmartFilter)

Seth Finkelstein sethf at sethf.com
Mon Sep 23 09:59:38 EDT 2002

 From: Seth Finkelstein
 To: Seth Finkelstein's InfoThought list
 Subject: IT: "Banned Websites Week" - book sites as SEX (SmartFilter)
 Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 09:30:01 -0400

[Archived at http://sethf.com/anticensorware/smartfilter/damage5.php ]

"Banned Websites Week" - book sites as SEX (SmartFilter)

The American Library Association (ALA) has designated September 21-28,
2002 as "Banned Book Week". This is an event to "Celebrate Your
Freedom to Read". But nowadays, book-banning has moved into the modern
age too. I've thought that censorware issues are a natural extension
here. With a Federal censorware law (CIPA) affecting schools and
libraries, the freedom to read, if using a computer screen rather
than paper, is arguably being extensively threatened.

So, as a small contribution in celebration of the freedom to read,
here are some book-related websites likely to be banned in at least
some schools and libraries, as they are all blacklisted as "Sex".

The following are from SmartFilter, a censorware program made by
Secure Computing. This program is used just because I had some work
available from prior absurd blacklist examples. But the issues are
general to all censorware, not any particular program.

Some book-related sites banned as "Sex" by SmartFilter, September 23 2002:
[My comments, as to potential reasons, in brackets]

"Cultural Connection at artandbooks.com is a source of quality art by
generally widely known or listed artists and antiquarian books: rare,
collectible and scholarly"
[My guess at the reason for the blacklisting (emphasis added): "Our art
collection includes African tribal art, American, antiques, Asian, Eskimo,
European, Far Eastern, Indian, Mid Eastern, 17th, 18th and 19th century,
20th century, contemporary, nudes, and precolumbian art."]

"Book Bucket Gifts- - childrens books, gift books, gift basket, childrens
literature, wedding gifts, baby shower gifts, baby gifts ..."
[Ahh, they have a section for "Adult Gifts", which they mean as "gifts for
the adults", not as a euphemism for erotic gifts - but the censorware can't
tell the difference]

"Welcome to the Book Warehouse, proudly serving the book needs of Boone and
the High Country!
[I'm not sure about this one, maybe the problem was the phrase "The hottest
new titles now in stock"]

"Chinaberry offers items to support families in raising their children with
[This is a classic, I'll quote the whole passage which I'm sure is the
reason they were blacklisted as a SEX site:
  Adult Good Reads

     Every so often we parents need to remember that we are ADULTS -
     people who can think in words that are longer than six letters and
     sentences that have more to do with the meaning of life than the
     necessities of life. There are days when, instead of infant
     stimulation or diaper changing or preschool carpooling or cooking
     or baking or conflict resolution or sock sorting or any other
     number of noble duties, we need a little adult stimulation. And
     for just these occasions, we've decided to include a few just
     plain "good reads" in this catalog. NOTE: Some of these books have
     complex adult themes and situations. They are meant for adults,
     not children.

I didn't make this up. Just read it in terms of a censorware program. 
"Adult stimulation", indeed! ]

"Welcome to Hearts and Minds! ... a bookstore which attempts to create a new
space for serious, reflective readers. Unabashedly Christian ..."
[Let's see - maybe it was the references to "Youth Ministry", "Youth Worker",
"Christian Practices for Teens", and so on. Oh, the "filtering".]

"Peppercorn Books - Publisher & Distributor of High Quality Books &
Materials for Adult Education & Lifelong Learning"
[Hmm, "Adult Education" ... "adult learners" ... ]

These can be verified to all be considered "Sex" by SmartFilter,
by using SmartFilter's lookup form at
or by just clicking directly on the following Quick-check URLs:







[Note - this material is not associated with or endorsed by, the ALA's
campaign for "Banned Book Week". Merely inspired by it. ]

Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  sethf at sethf.com  http://sethf.com
Anticensorware Investigations - http://sethf.com/anticensorware/
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog - http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/

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