Feeds

Plaid up in arms as Commons spam filter bans Welsh

Finger of blame points to Clearswift's MAILsweeper

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The recently introduced House of Commons email filtering package is blocking messages sent in Welsh, while letting spam pass through virtually unimpeded.

Parliamentarians from the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, are complaining that bilingual English-and-Welsh emails are being blocked as containing "inappropriate content", the BBC reports.

Yesterday we reported how the system, meant to block spam, has gone censorware-crazy in preventing copies of a Sexual Offences Bill along with a Liberal Democrat consultation paper on Censorship reaching MPs.

Lib Dem spokesman Paul Tyler MP complained that the system, introduced less than a month ago, was "stifling political debate".

The blocked messages aren't deleted and can be released by a phone call, the BBC reports.

But really this arrangement defeats the whole point of using spam-filtering software, especially when all the while MPs in-boxes are still being deluged by junk email.

Lim Dem MP Richard Allan told us today that the concerns over misdirected emails masked an even more serious problem.

"We do have a real problem with spam and it is still coming through in bucketfuls," he told us.

"Most of it is the Nigerian scam/Viagra ad/Stock market tip/Porno advert type of junk and it is a real pain to wade through it to get to the real email. Much of this does not have 'rude word' text that triggers a filter so it seems to arrive in exactly the same quantities as before the filtering started."

And who's filtering technology is responsible for the mess anyway?

Evidence points to Clearswift's (formerly Content Technologies) MAILsweeper as the package to blame for the debacle.

First on all email headers sent to MPs show that they pass through a Content Technologies filter. Then we have Clearswift's non-denial denial which, reading between the lines, advises how House of Commons BOFHs might need to tweak its filters to sort out the problem.

In response to our questions on the subject, Clearswift issued a statement yesterday that said because of customer confidentiality it "cannot confirm or deny the House of Commons as a Clearswift customer."

"However, our advice to all users of email and web filtering solutions is to define, implement and communicate to all employees a policy relevant to their own organisation," the statement continues.

"We also advocate that these policies are regularly reviewed to ensure that the rule sets are working in the most effective and relevant way. More often than not, rules need to be adjusted and either strengthened or relaxed after the initial implementation.

"Clearswift's MAILsweeper product uses an effective lexical analysis procedure to scan incoming and outgoing email at the gateway, allowing its customers full control over the level and specifics of filtering their electronic communications - how tight or loose is entirely dependant on the organisation." ®

Three fine stories from the BBC on the subject

Software blocks MPs' Welsh e-mail
E-mail vetting blocks MPs' sex debate
Porn plagues MPs' emails

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.