Websense Fights The GWOT – On The Other Side

Many organizations use filtering software to limit the sites accessible from their networks. That sensible move has handed control of US Army web access to a nutty outfit called Websense.

Organizations reasonably want to limit web access – to stop employees slacking, avoid lawsuits, etc.

Here’s how they do it.

  1. The organization licenses software from a filter software provider.
  2. The organization configures their filter software to block the categories of content they choose – shopping sites, blogs, porn, hate speech, and so on.
  3. The supplier maintains lists of sites in each category – for example when a new online retailer appears, it’ll add it to the list of shopping sites.

That last process enables the software provider to censor at will by putting a website it doesn’t like into a commonly blocked category.

Thus the filter provider Websense has put LGF in its “Racism and Hate” category, and since most decent organizations block that category, that shuts LGF out.

That’s not the end of the world, since most people should work at work, not check the news. But what if that work depends on knowing the news – for example the US Army?

SAN DIEGO Nov. 11, 2003 — Websense Inc. (NASDAQ: WBSN) today announced that the U.S. Army 5th Signal Command has increased its deployment of Websense Enterprise® software to manage Internet use by soldiers and civilian employees across Europe with the purchase of additional seats and Websense product modules. This order for an additional $1.3 million in Websense products brings the U.S. Army’s total year-to-date billable purchases to more than $2.7 million.

LGF is not a “racism and hate” site – it’s a news consolidator like Drudge that focuses on the war on terror.

But now Websense censors the news fed to the guys fighting that war.

US readers should write their Congressman asking them to remove Websense from the Federal procurement (GAO) list of reputable suppliers.


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