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Filtering software failing to block unwanted sites


A recent survey carried out by Consumer Reports the magazine of independent US advocacy group Consumers Group, has highlighted that one in five restricted websites can be accessed with web filtering applications in place. This shows that there have been no improvements since they conducted the last exercise four years ago.

It was found that nearly all filters did offer some control such as disclosure of peoples names and addresses, but even this test stated that the protection offered was too weak.

Six packages were tested against objectionable material aimed around the 13 - 15 year old market, such as sexual content, crime, bigotry, violence, drugs and tobacco.

The products tested were Cyber Patrol, Cybersitter 2000, Cyber Snoop, Internet Guard Dog, Net Nanny and Norton Internet Security 2001 and also included AOL's parental controls.

The report states that all of the filters, except AOL, allowed around 20% access to objectionable sites whereas the AOL's Young Teen control only allowed one site through.

However, David Burt, who formerly worked with felt that the sampling carried out by Consumer Reports was far too small and did not include filters often used by schools such as CyberPat Server version N2H2, I-Gear, WebSense, SmartFilter and X-Stop. Burt felt that the report did not really represent the industry appropriately and also that the sample was not random did not give the findings much credibility.


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