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"The Internet views censorship as a network failure, and routes around it." - John Gilmore
Governments who determine that they must control what people can see, in order to attempt to control what they think, censor what people can find on the internet.
Thomas Jefferson: Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.
Who Controls Access to Knowledge
The issue is who controls access to knowledge, the informational content on the Internet. Is it the person seeking information or the governmental authorities seeking to limit access? Defeat all Internet censorship programs, from Net Nanny to CyberSitter to the firewalll used by government of China.
When people can only find content chosen for them by those in government and instead have to useful web content censored, they suffer and, inevitably, some die as a result.
In the case of tyrants, the goal is always to dupe people into becoming willing slaves. Naturally, when people are most free to choose what information they see, they are best able to determine for themselves what to accept, what to doubt, what to act upon, what to disbelieve, and what to ignore.
What is stopped
Also you download and use Firefox extension from the EFF foundation to encrypt your searches.
How to get uncensored Internet access in China
15 Free Android VPN Apps To Surf Anonymously
The key paragraph is the one that opens the video:
The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. John F. Kennedy speech to the press about secrecy and censorshipAnd there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.Compare that to the way our government has been responding -- demanding that US companies block access to Wikileaks and other such moves.
Of course, if you read the full speech from JFK (which was given to the American Newspaper Publishers Association), it's really quite nuanced. JFK argues forcefully against censorship from the government -- but actually is suggesting that the press consider self-censoring itself, taking into account the impact that it could have if it publishes certain information. However, he does try to make it clear that he does not want criticism or errors to be shielded from the public -- just that he hopes the press will decide for themselves to avoid publishing info that directly reveals vital points to enemies of the country.
In the end, I actually think these two paragraphs may be even more powerful than the one that most people are talking about: I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers -- I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.
Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment -- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution -- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants" -- but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion. Too bad we're not hearing much of that from our politicians today.
Grass Mud Horse Song. Sing along and Go over, go under, go around. The New York Times reported Thursday that the alpaca like creature's Mandarin name just happens to be a very, very dirty pun. Times style rules prevent the paper from clarifying the joke, but other, less-dignified outlets explain that the phrase Cao ni ma is a homonym for "fuck your mother" in Chinese.
Solid Oak (Cybersitter) filed suit on Jan. 5, 2010, against the Chinese government, the two software firms in China and seven foreign computer manufacturers, including Haier, for misappropriation of trade secrets and copyright infringement. "The key on that part of the court's finding was that intentional misappropriation of intellectual property is by its nature directed at the company or individual whose intellectual property you are taking," Fayer said.
$2.2 billion lawsuit filed by Solid Oak Software Inc. against Haier Group Corp., a computer manufacturer, and two software firms backed by the Chinese government, Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering Ltd. and Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy Ltd. They will have to defend themselves in U.S. courts against a copyright infringement.
Accused Chinese infringers face trial in the United States ruling by U.S. District Judge Josephine Tucker in Los Angeles
"It's a significant decision for American companies because it means that if Chinese companies or foreign companies in general take a U.S. company's intellectual property, and knowingly misappropriate it, they can in fact be expected to be hauled into American courts and answer for the claims against them," said Gregory Fayer, a partner at Fayer Gipson in Los Angeles who represents Solid Oak.
Calls were not returned by lawyers for the three Chinese companies: Richard Kendall, a partner at Los Angeles-based Kendall Brill & Klieger, who represents Zhengzhou Jinhui; Jinshu "John" Zhang, a Los Angeles partner at Reed Smith who represents Danzheng; and Haier's attorney, Elizabeth Rader, of counsel in the Menlo Park, Calif., office of Alston & Bird.
Solid Oak alleges that nearly 3,000 lines of code were stolen from its CYBERsitter software program for use in Green Dam Youth Escort software, which was distributed to millions of people in China.
CYBERsitter, which costs $39.95, blocks children from viewing pornography and other inappropriate content on the Internet. Critics accused the Chinese government of using Green Dam to block its citizens from viewing political and religious Web sites that the government deemed objectionable.
The Obama administration warned China that requiring all manufacturers to bundle Green Dam software into any computer sold in China after July 1, 2009, could violate free-trade agreements. The mandate was dropped.
Solid Oak has reached confidential settlements with three of the defendants: Toshiba Corp., Sony Corp. and Acer Inc. Remaining in the case are ASUSTeK Computer Inc., BenQ Corp., Lenovo Group Ltd. and the three Chinese firms. Sony settled after Tucker denied its motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens--that is, the doctrine that the lawsuit should not be heard in the United States but in China's courts, if at all.
Beijing Dazheng brought a similar motion on June 8. Beijing Dazheng, joined by Zhengzhou Jinhui in its motion, argued that California is an inconvenient forum because witnesses, evidence and the defendants are in China. Tucker rejected that argument, citing her earlier decision on Sony's motion. Beijing Dazheng, Zhengzhou Jinhui and Heier each brought additional motions to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction, arguing that Green Dam software was for the Chinese market alone and that none of the companies has a physical presence in California.
Haier brought another motion to dismiss based on Solid Oak's failure to join a necessary indispensible party: the People's Republic of China, which, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, cannot be sued. Tucker ruled that the Chinese government was not immune, citing an exemption of the law that deals with commercial activities. Earlier, on Feb. 16, Tucker found that Solid Oak Software had provided sufficient reasons why the Chinese government was ineligible for immunity under law, which generally immunizes foreign countries from U.S. lawsuits, and granted a default motion against the People's Republic of China. Amanda Bronstad - The National Law Journal- August 03, 2011
Solid Oak Software/CyberSitter
Background on Company
Issues around the filtering philosophysof CyberSitter were aired in the media primarily in the years 1996 and 1997. This was the era of the demise of the Computer Decency Act and the frantic search for a non-governmental imposed alternative -- which led to the rise of the filtering software programs -- followed rather quickly by the rise of efforts in unveiling the actions of the filtering companies. Most of the history of this unveiling activity and the responses of the CEO of CyberSitter is recorded on the Peacefire
As is apparent in the news reports set forth below, CyberSitter was, in the late 1990's, quite open about it's "moral conservativism" and it's close relationship with Focus on the Family, a conservative religious organization which was apparently selling the CyberSitter product. CyberSitter does not appear to have much of a foothold in the public school market, possibly because of the reports about its filtering philosophy. CyberSitter also does not appear to have targeted the ISP market. No evidence of the use of its product by conservative religious ISPs was found.
The company does present itself as a filtering solution for schools to assist them in achieving compliance with CIPA. http://www.cybersitter.com/cybedu.htm
Examples of Blocking Categories/Criteria that Present Concerns
Blocks all adult oriented web sites"
A question to ask would be whether this category blocks access to sex education material.
"Sites promoting gay and lesbian activities
Covers sites promoting the gay and lesbian life style."
Cybersitter has not blocked sexual orientation sites with swinging and adultery. However, another issue becomes apparent. How does one distinguish between sexual orientation sites that are appropriate for young people from others that are related to homosexuality but are clearly not appropriate for young people? If all such sites are blocked in one cdategory this would prevent student access to appropriate homosexual sites addressins safe sex of discrimination issues.
"Sites advocating illegal/radical activities
Covers topics such as bomb making, guns, drugs, etc. Basically anything that would be considered illegal for someone under the age of 13."
The red flag word in this description is "radical." Would this include political protest sites which, while radical, receive strong constitutional protection? One might also question what activities are illegal for someone under the age of 13 but not illegal for those over the age of 13.
"Sites promoting cults and/or occult activities
Covers topics such as cult activities, witchcraft, Satanism, etc."
This category combines information about legitimate religious subjects with material that presents concerns.
CyberWire Dispatch // Copyright (c) 1996 //
Jacking in from the "Keys to the Kingdom" Port:
Declan McCullach and Brock Meeks
Washington, DC -- This is a tale of broken codes, betrayal of a social contract, morality run amuck, and a kind of twisted John Le Carre meets the Crying Game encounter.
For a range of companies producing so-called "blocking software" designed to keep kids from accessing undesirable material in cyberspace, the road to such a moral high ground turns out to be a slippery slope. These programs, spawned in the wake of the hysteria over how much porn Junior might find on the Net, have chosen the role of online guardians. The resulting array of applications, including names like SurfWatch, CyberPatrol, NetNanny and CyberSitter, acts as a kind of digital moral compass for parents, educators, paranoid Congressmen, and puritanical PTAs.
... [omitted material related blocking of the National Organization for Women web site NOW)]
Dispatch reached Kim Gandy, NOW's executive vice president, at home as she was preparing dinner for her 3-year old daughter. Gandy charged the companies with 'suppressing information' about feminism. She said: 'As a mother myself, I'd like to limit my kids from looking at pornography but I wouldn't want my teenage daughter [prevented] from reading and participating in online discussions of important current issues relating to womens rights.'
An indignant NOW? Let 'em rant, says CyberSitter's Brian Milburn. 'If NOW doesn't like it, tough... We have not and will not bow to any pressure from any organization that disagrees with our philosophy.'
Unlike the others, CyberSitter doesn't hide the fact that they're trying to enforce a moral code. 'We don't simply block pornography. That's not the intention of the product,' said Milburn. 'The majority of our customers are strong family-oriented people with traditional family values. Our product is sold by Focus on the Family because we allow the parents to select fairly strict guidelines.' (Focus on the Family, of course, is a conservative group that strongly supports the CDA.)
CyberSitter's Milburn added: 'I wouldn't even care to debate the issues if gay and lesbian issues are suitable for teenagers. If they [parents] want it they can buy SurfWatch... We filter anything that has to do with sex. Sexual orientation [is about sex] by virtue of the fact that it has sex in the name.'
Los Angeles Times, 1/6/97
Site-Filtering Controversy Likely to Heat Up
By DAVID PESCOVITZ, Special to The Times
"Brian Milburn, president of a Santa Barbara company called Solid
Oak Software, is not a man to shrink from a fight.
'We're not politically conservative, we're morally conservative,'
Gay and Lesbian Alliance blasts filtering software
By Lisa M. Bowman
December 3, 1997 6:13 PM PST ZDNN
"Cybersitter, which came under fire earlier this year for blocking sites including NOW, said its conservative reputation actually helps its bottom line.
"That has driven our sales to some extent -- the fact that we have admittedly blocked gay and lesbian sites, that we have blocked NOW," Solid Oak spokesman Mark Kanter said. "Our tests show that most parents don't want their children seeing that material."
Ironically, conservative groups like many of the same products as GLAAD. This month's issue of Citizen, a magazine published by the conservative group Focus on the Family, gives Cyber Patrol and Surfwatch the highest ratings among filtering software. But the group is also a reseller of Cybersitter."
CyberSitter: locks out more than just porn
By Joe Salkowski
(undated, but likely 1997)
I can't help looking over my shoulder as I type the URL: www.playboy.com
I'm at work, hunched in front of my computer and fighting off an urge to explain to anyone in the area that I'm not doing anything wrong. Really.
You see, I'm testing a copy of CYBERsitter, one of those software programs that's supposed to keep kids from stumbling across sex, drugs or violence while surfing the Net. So I'm pleased - mostly - that my attempt to visit Playboy's web site is blocked. I try Penthouse: Again, I'm blocked. So far, so goody-goody.
Still, I'm feeling not-so-politically correct for even trying to visit those sites. I decide to surf over to a group dedicated to protecting the rights of women, the National Organization for Women.
Blocked by CYBERsitter.
Hmm, that's odd - while you might expect a virtual bra burning, there's nary a nipple exposed at NOW's web site. Perhaps I should debate the merits of Net censorship with the free thinkers at The WELL, a San Francisco-based Internet provider that hosts discussion forums accessible through its web site.
Blocked by CYBERsitter.
As it turns out, CYBERsitter blocks plenty of web sites that have nothing to do with sex, drugs or violence. Some of the sites, including NOW's, belong to groups that offer resources for gays and lesbians. Others belong to people who merely share a server with sites that include pornography.
Does that mean his site screens out anything a conservative might find undesirable? 'People ask if (CYBERsitter) has a politically conservative bias, and I say no - it's morally conservative,' Milburn said. 'That's what kind of product it is.'
He acknowledges that CYBERsitter, which is marketed by the conservative group Focus on the Family, blocks any site that includes information on 'gay and lesbian issues.'
'Homosexuality is about sexual issues, and we block everything relating to issues,' Milburn said. 'We've taken a lot of heat from homosexual groups, but our customers are by and large supportive of that (stance).'
Indeed, Milburn says CYBERsitter is the software filter of choice for conservative family groups, private religious-based schools and users in 'Middle Eastern countries where a lot of the things we block are strictly forbidden.' ..."
CyberSitter's Current Position
CyberSitter has denied any political agendas and any affiliations.
"Q. I heard that CYBERsitter has a hidden political agenda. If it does, what is it?
A. There have been a few articles that criticize CYBERsitter for some of the sites it filters. Naturally, when someone disagrees with your policies, they immediately assume that you have some political agenda. CYBERsitter blocks sites that meet a pre-defined criteria. Every site we block meets this criteria without exception. CYBERsitter has no agenda of any kind, unless you consider protection of children a hidden agenda. (Note above, CyberSitter denied that they had a political agenda, but did state they had a "moral" agenda.)
Q. Is Solid Oak Software or CYBERsitter affiliated with any group or organization?
A. Solid Oak Software is a privately held California corporation. All major stockholders are also full time employees. CYBERsitter is a wholly owned product of Solid Oak Software. Aside from professional memberships in organizations such as the Software Publishers Association, Solid Oak Software maintains no affiliation with any group or organization of any kind, and no member of any group or organization sits on any board or advisory group of Solid Oak Software. Decisions on blocking policies are made by employees of Solid Oak Software, Inc. (Note above, this statement is directly contrary to statements made by the CEO and reported in more than one news report. The relationship between Solid Oak and Focus on the Family appears to have been terminated.)