__/ [ The Ghost In The Machine ] on Wednesday 26 April 2006 16:00 \__
> [begin excerpt]
> SHANGHAI, China (Reuters) -- China's top Web portals, including Sina
> Corp. and Tom Online, have agreed to rid their sites of "unhealthy"
> content, amid a broader Beijing campaign to clean up the Internet.
> Other major players in the self-policing drive include Sohu.com Inc.,
> NetEase.com Inc., Baidu.com Inc. and Yahoo Inc.'s China Web portal,
> according to the text of a pledge by 14 companies posted on Sina's Web
> U.S. search giant Google Inc., which has come under fire for agreeing
> to self-censor its China Web site to filter out politically sensitive
> issues, was not on the list, and nor was Microsoft's MSN Network,
> which also operates in China.
> [end excerpt]
I posted this to the search engines newsgroup this morning. It's worrisome.
Would you believe that China blocked the WordPress (Open Source blogging
platform) Codex, which merely provides technical docomentation in the form
of a Wiki?
> This reminds me of an effort many many moons ago by a
> Christian or some such group to "clean up the Web" back
> in the early days thereof -- black text on yellow page
> is all I remember now. ...
There were those who say that Christians created the Net (not Al Gore) for
religious Christian stuff and all else should be excluded. Or something to
that effect. Scary stuff, FWIW:
> ...Unfortunately, Google interprets
> "web purge" as "web page" (now there's an interesting
> "Freudian slip"), but did cough up
> which suggests an effort by HOME Secretary David Blunkett
> to spearhead a transatlantic assault on sick internet sites
> dealing in suicide, violence, necophilia, cannibalism,
> and, presumably, humor. :-)
> It turns out Mr. Blunkett is in the UK, and so is
> which among a lot of other rather weird things has
> (Requires Flash. It's not *that* bad but one might make a case
> that it's a little sick...even though all they show is him
> entering the public pool ... and exiting a short time later,
> followed by, well, that would give it away. :-) Sick yes.
> Funny, maybe.)
> This isn't quite what I was looking for but the idea is similar.
> "Clean up the web" pointed me at HTML Tidy, among other
> things, so obviously euphemisms don't always work.
> Maybe it's just as well.
HTMLTidy is an excellent and compact tool. it'll get many link with the
anchor text that warrants its high position for that search phrase. It's the
Swiss army knife for automated reorganisation of sloppily or ill-built Web
> "Web censorship history" coughed up this old news item:
> which mentions an AT&T effort code-named "Publius",
> and is dated more than 5 years back. Wonder whatever
> happened thereto. Presumably 6/4 is still active
> as well, Chinese efforts notwithstanding.
[ AT&T developing Web anonymity, anti-censorship tool ]
Since this is an O/S-inclined group, let's just mention Windows Vista, which
offers blockers for Web sites. This equips users with a handle on parental
control. Whether this tool phones home or can serve Microsoft's agenda (e.g.
block 'unhealthy' information, according to Microsoft), who knows? It's all
conspiracies. Google has thus far been the main gateway to information. With
Microsoft.com at number 1 (sponsored) spot for 'linux' and today's
pro-Firefox campaign, it's nothing to sneeze at.
> is a little more contemporary, and is a generally
> disfavorable opinion piece on a group called CP80
> (http://www.cp80.com), which apparently wants to remove the
> more objectionable content. Of course, the interesting
> question of "internet channels" is how it would map to
> the more traditional solutions of TLDs or Internet ports.
> After all, one solution is to require that all porn be
> served on port 12080 or some such, rather than port 80.
> However, the concept of "channel" is apparently a bit
> broader than that.
> I don't think I can support that, especially since there
> are a fair number in the US who seem to think that a woman
> showing any leg or anything at all above the neckline would
> be considered porn. There's also the usual adverts of cars
> next to beautiful women -- which makes one wonder which is
> for sale, since the woman presumably is paid to pose in a
> bikini next to the car. There's also a Pepsi ad with two
> prepubescent boys sitting on a fence, watching a curvaceous
> model drinking a can of Pepsi. (They were more interested
> in the can, bless them. But give them a few years.)
Yes. Boys will be boys. Within a few years, they will ponder what O/S was
used to engineer that can of Pepsi (or shall I say COLA?).
> On the flip side, I know of a few images (fairly softcore,
> since that's what interests me) of women next to cars who
> get a little *too* wet during a carwash, and decide to
> take it all off. (Hose optional.)
What a sick little bastard! *smile* Do you know how much water would cost
> Of course the real question remains: who decides what
> content is in fact objectionable? And under what
> circumstances? Wikipedia in particular had to require
> every contributor to sign up and identify themselves
> apparently after some shenanigans involving political
> posturing in 2004 -- disparaging opponents, presumably.
> And (at the risk of self-Godwinization), cleanup isn't always
> desirable, as the Nazis found out 65+ years ago.
> But enough rambling.
Roy S. Schestowitz
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