Feeds

Cyber Patrol unblocks The Register

Thanks to you

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

SurfControl, owner of Cyber Patrol, told us by email today that it has removed The Register from its CyberNot list of banned sites.

In future Cyber Patrol will block only the story containing a reference to Peacefire.org, a controversial anti-filtering organisation. Which is what it should have done in the first place... although, as Peacefire is on the Cyber Patrol blocked list, anyone reading our story on a SurfControl-enabled computer will be unable to access this site, anyway.

And, since we've just mentioned Peacefire, this story may be blocked too.

Kiddie filters for grown-ups

Our removal from Cyber Patrol's CyberNot list could take a few days to percolate through the various Cyber Patrol OEMs, which embed the filtering technology within their own network management and filtering software. These products include the WebNot facility in Axent's Raptor firewall, WebBlocker from WatchGuard, Novell's BorderManager. It is the use of Cyber Patrol filtering technology, designed to protect children, in corporate products, which prevented many adults from reading The Register at their workplace this week.

Incidentally, some people think we were being unfair to Novell which, unwittingly, banned The Register from customers using the Web filter facility of Border Manager. Our answer is this: Novell, and the other Cyber Patrol OEMs, which would also have been added to our entirely arbitrary , and now rescinded, banned list of companies not to cover, are responsible for their products.

The Cyber Patrol technology used by OEMs is user-defined - in other words sysadmins can already remove blocks to The Register, as SurfControl points out. But this is disingenuous, we think. How easy is it for employees of large companies to get their IT departments to do anything?

Besides, just about any company that is anally-retentive enough to use content filters will ban sex sites, a category under which, incredibly, The Register was listed - libellously, in our opinion. And why should Reg readers have to actively seek permission from their IT departments to have us unbanned?

Right of Reply

SurfControl was unhappy with the first story we published about Cyber Patrol's decision to block The Register.

"We should be grateful if The Register would adopt a policy of allowing companies, such as ourselves, the opportunity to respond in full before going to press," a company representative wrote to us.

Astonishing. Cyber Patrol blocked The Register without informing us, or giving us a chance to respond in full, or at all.

The reason why we were supposedly banned, the Cyber Patrol flack told us, was that "The Register published an article written by Peacefire, containing information on how to access inappropriate sites specifically blocked by Cyber Patrol. Given irresponsible nature of the article, apparently encouraging users to over-ride Cyber Patrol's filtering mechanism, we took the decision to block The Register - upholding our first obligation to customers by preventing their children or pupils from being able to surf websites containing sexually explicit, racist or inflammatory material."

But where is the sexually explicit, racist and inflammatory (what does that word mean?) material on The Register?

The article in question was not written by Peacefire, but by John Leyden, a Register reporter. It merely describes peacefire.exe and provides a link to the Peacefire.org Web site where the cracking utility can be found by surfers without a Cyber Patrol-enabled computer. To say that The Register in any way enables the children of SurfControl customers to access a cracking utility is, quite simply, false.

That's when readers become good friends

We would like to thank all the readers for their support in getting Cyber Patrol's ludicrous blanket ban removed. There's far too many to for us to reply in person, but we'll publish a selection in our letters page today.

There is an old saying that you should not pick an argument with people who buy their ink by the barrel. In the 21st century version, neither should you pick an argument with a mainstream Web site that has more than one million readers a month. But Cyber Patrol lamebrains picked an argument with us.

Finally, we got through this entire episode without mentioning freedom of speech, or questioning the propriety of tech companies censoring tech news publications, once. Until now. ®

Related stories

Cyber Patrol bans The Register
This story is why Cyber Patrol banned The Register
Novell bans The Register
Cyber Patrol sends press release to The Register

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
NSA mass spying reform KILLED by US Senators
Democrats needed just TWO more votes to keep alive bill reining in some surveillance
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.