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NEWS: Religious censoring of the Internet (fwd)

Mar 09, 1998 08:59 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Is Theosophy next?  The word "occult" might include us in the
filtered-out category.
> +++++++++++++++
> Beware!  The Burning Times are back
>                WADL-New England
>                Regional Director: Diane DesRochers, BA;MC
>                <>
>                                   &
>                Citizens Against Censorship
>                President Art Ketchen  <Solus68443>
> The Burning Times are back.  This time in the form of the filtering
> software Cybersitter produced by Solid Oak Software Inc.
> (
> Brian Milburn CEO of Solid Oak Software Inc. has decided to block or
> censor access to Wiccan/Pagan sites for anyone using his product.  This
> includes numerous public libraries that have this software installed.
> Solid Oak Software Inc. has added the words "witch", "wicca", "wiccan",
> "pagan" and "witchcraft" along with many other words associated with Paganism
> to it's list of banned words. Along with words associated with other minority
> religions such as "Jehovah's Witnesses", "Shaman", "Hare Krishna", "Brethren"
> (which effectively blocks over 90 different Lutheran sites) and many others.
> By doing this, many wiccan/pagan sites are completely blocked through use of
> the software. The Pagan Awareness League has been doing it's own extensive
> testing of the software and has already come up with a list of 104
> Wiccan / Pagan sites that are blocked by the software to date.  Their results
> can be found at     Other pages
> containing the keywords mentioned are censored by the software beyond
> readability.
> This blocking came about as a result of an e-mail that I had written
> criticizing Solid Oak Software for blocking the National Organization for
> Women's website and ALL homosexual related sites including sites focused on
> gay rights and AIDS awareness.  As a result of that letter, I was e-mail
> bombed by the software company and had my own two domains,
> and blocked.  The company further made a public statement
> dismissing my concerns as irrelevant due to the fact that I "run a website
> promoting Witchcraft and Pagan activities."  Two days after blocking my
> domains, the above Wiccan/Pagan related keywords were added, effectively
> blocking or censoring ALL Wiccan/Pagan websites on the web from customers
> using Cybersitter.
> Solid Oak Software Inc. does not make public its list of blocked sites
> or keywords. Therefore anyone purchasing the product, including public
> libraries, have no way of knowing what is being filtered. They have recently
> added a Cult/Occult filter to their software and this is what we as well as
> many minority religions are being classified as.  This software also has the
> capacity to block newsgroups and censor ICQ and e-mail as well.
> A complete page with information on this issue is available at
> along with suggestions on what
> the Wiccan/Pagan community can do to help fight this.

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