re: CyberPatrol blocking art sites...

Wed, 27 Aug 1997 17:13:58 -0400

We created the search page so that site owners could check their sites against
our list. Our list is proprietary and confidential so we would not give out a
listing of sites off of any given server.

We don't list why sites are blocked so that people will contact us with their
concerns. I would rather hear from a person why my site is being blocked than
from a machine, I can at least explain a rational.

Unfortunately, there is no way we can notify all of the site owners who get
added to our list. We add hundreds a day and would not be able to keep up with
the paperwork and still have a comprehensive list. We are in the process of
trying to figure out an automated response to sites added. But it is virtually
impossible locate the actual site owners Email address on all sites we add.

We do not block material that does not fit our criteria. There are many sites
out there denouncing products like ours and the work we do, they are not on our
list, those sites simply do not meet our criteria.

We want people, users and non-users alike, to give us feedback so that we can
improve our products and our policies. Thank you for your input.

Debra Greaves
Internet Research Supervisor
Microsystems Software Inc.
From: Fred Haineux <>, on 8/27/97 12:45 PM:
At 2:13 PM -0400 8/27/97, DEBRA GREAVES wrote:
>Like I said if the work contains nudity then it meets our criteria. I am not
>here to judge what is art and what is not. It is up to the users of our
>program to decide what is appropriate for their children to view.
>As I also stated I have moved the block on this site so that only the person
>who posted the nude figures was on our list not the entire artist directory.
>Please remember we are here to help parents and teachers protect children from
>seeing adult material. If the parents feel it is ok for their children to see
>partial nudity then they have the option to allow that category. The users of
>our program have complete control over what their kids see or don't see.
>I hope this helps.
>Debra Greaves
>Internet Research Supervisor
>Microsystems Software Inc.

Dear Debra:

>From the description above, it seems that any website showing an uncropped
image of Michelangelo's "David" (ie. a world-famous statue of a naked man
with uncovered penis, considered one of the top ten works of art ever)
would have to be blocked. This sounds a bit weird, but at least it's a fair

Thank you for taking the time to explain your policies, investigate our
case, etc. Although this is part of your job, it must not always be easy to

Incidentally, after actually GOING to, I found that I
could fairly easily see what was on the "NOT" list, complain, see
screenshots of your control panel, and download a free demo version of the
software. I applaud this effort to allow "community input."

SITO people, download the software and try it. Then at least you can
condemn these people knowledgeably (grin).

There might be more that Cyberpatrol could do, though, to reassure people.
For instance, it's cumbersome and unreliable to check each individual
sub-website by typing it in to your "NOT" lookup page. Is there a way that
someone can say "Is anything at blocked?"

A second question is, "WHY is this blocked?" I checked, and an
ex-girlfriend of mine's site is blocked, although I really can't imagine
why. I guess I will try to use the demo software to find out, but that's
really cumbersome. Why can't I find out more easily?

Third, there is the fear that my site might get blocked, and I wouldn't
know until I went through a lot of work. Indeed, I'd have to check again
and again to see if there's a change. Is it possible to let people know if
their sites are blocked?

Last, there is the fear that "the unsuspecting public" will buy blocker
programs, but they won't be told that the blocker programs are also
blocking, say, unkind articles about the parent company of the blocker
software company. (For instance, GE owns a TV network, and people have
complained that that network doesn't run negative stories about GE.)

I realize that this is a lot of work for you guys, but let me be clear: I
think that any company in this business has to expect that a lot of its
efforts will be spent in this kind of a "public relations" area. If they do
not respond to their community, they will not only lose goodwill, but also
legal standing in courts.

Once again, thanks for your civil, careful explanations. I hope you will
consider addressing my concerns.

bill coderre