Bill's Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dangers of Web Filters To Business

Techdirt is running a story about a case of web filters gone awry...Well, not so much the web filters fault in this case. More of a problem with user interaction with the web filter. Apparently, a British news program aired a video last month which included a web address. When fact-checkers or whoever, went to verify the content of the site in question, they were unable to reach it. They assumed "that the site was no longer active and that there was no need to obscure the address on screen" (ITN via The Register). Turns out the real reason they could not reach the site in question, was the filters built into their firewall blocked the site for content reasons.

The post on Techdirt makes the point that a news organization in particular should not be filtering content on their internet. Since they are providing information out to viewers/readers, why block what information they have access too. I agree, but I think it should apply to businesses in general. Employees need to have access to information in order to do their jobs - particularly in this case (Do they not trust the editor/producer enough to give him unhindered access to the Net?).

Policies should be established on what is appropriate and what is not, with clear consequences for violation of the policy. Granted there are always exceptions, as would be in this case. Any sort of monitoring or logging would have flagged the editor had he actually been allowed to view the site. Once this activity was noted, the editor should have been able to adequately defended his actions as it was the prudent measure. Unless of course he spent the next two hours browsing the site...

Techdirt: The Web Filter That Made A Porn Site Newsworthy

The Register: Want top-notch net porn? Try ITV News

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