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FC: Google's porn filters block many innocuous sites
From: Declan McCullagh <declan () well com>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 16:44:27 -0400

The report:
http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/edelman/google-safesearch/

---

http://news.com.com/2100-1032-996417.html

   Report criticizes Google's porn filters
   By Declan McCullagh
   April 10, 2003, 8:18 PM PT

   WASHINGTON--Children using Google's SafeSearch feature, designed to
   filter out links to Web sites with adult content, may be shielded from
   far more than their parents ever intended.
   
   A report released this week by the Harvard Law School's Berkman Center
   for Internet & Society says that SafeSearch excludes many innocuous
   Web pages from search-result listings, including ones created by the
   White House, IBM, the American Library Association and clothing
   company Liz Claiborne.
   
   The omissions occur because of the way Google designed the feature,
   which can be enabled or disabled through a preferences page. The
   feature uses a proprietary algorithm that automatically analyzes the
   pages and makes an educated guess, without intervention by Google
   employees.

   That technique reduces the cost of the SafeSearch service, but it can
   lead to odd results. It's perhaps unlikely that many humans would have
   classified a BBC News report on East Timor, Mattel's site about its
   Scrabble game -- the URL includes the word "adults"--or the Nashville
   Public Library's teen health issues page as unsuitable for minors.
   Some articles from CNET News.com and CNET Software are also invisible
   to SafeSearch users.

   [...]



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