Bad: whoever's doing the filtering has caught on to Ouch. The whole site isn't blocked, but you are blocked if you try to retrieve a URL that's already blocked.

Good: WebSENSE - or at least our install - doesn't block by IP on most sites. I found this out this afternoon by accident.

The kinda bad: I still have to find the IP address of the site and pray that they use relative URLs. It's more worthwhile to use my Sidekick to access non-work things during my breaks. Plus, the people who would find some use for this (my colleagues who don't have web-surfing cell phones) have no idea what I'm talking about.

I hate doing this, because I tend to preach about working with the system instead of going against it, but if there's a choice between doing my job and not being able to do it, I'm gonna bend the rules and do it. Sorry. Until the Great Bureaucracy gets its act together and frees us from WebSENSE, I'm going to do what I need to do.

I've exchanged a few emails with Mr. Lee, a supervisor (or the supervisor) of WebSENSE Database operations over issues related to WebSENSE and censorship, but I guess that a) he didn't feel that an employee of one of his clients was worth his time, b) he didn't like my stance on WebSENSE's categorization assisting with censorship, or c) He didn't like it pointed out that WebSENSE filters for the entire country of Yemen. Shame. I'm a proponent for freedom of access, and if you work for a censorware company, you're not gonna like what I've got to say. Period.
I was in the middle of trying to figure out how to block Websense out of my site (or at least certain pages) via .htaccess, and then I had a thought...

Is it right for me to censor the censor? Don't they have the right to listen to me badmouth their company as much as anybody else?

(I probably will block their IP address range - when I determine what it is - on one page that's a mirror of the Censorware HOWTO. I don't want it blocked!)
I was just reading an interesting discussion on Atomic Think Tank (the message board for Green Ronin's Mutants and Masterminds, a very cool OGL d20-based superhero RPG), and it put me in mind of something.

Occasionally, I put in suggestions to WebSENSE about its blocking. The first one I did I posted off to the Seruma Censorware blog (which is on, aka Seruma, my personal website). I posted up pretty much the whole email (their response plus my original suggestion). I'm planning on doing the same thing on my latest, which is a request to unclassify I don't think there's a chance in heck of them unblocking it, but I want to post their response if it's a negative, because I think that it would give a good look at how they think. Thing is, it's a semi-private email (a response to a web form), so it's kind of a grey area.

The fun thing about the peacefire request is that I have mixed feelings about their (Peacefire's) methods. I know that proxies are one of the few decent ways to get around the idiotic censorware blocking, but it's a certain way to piss off sysadmins (and my uncle's one, so I understand that POV). I'd rather people not deploy censorware than their victims having to use possibly dangerous proxies to be able to access the Internet freely.
They have blocked the google cache trick.

This means war.

ETA: Well, not literal war. I'm not about to start deploying proxies and tunneling. I like my job, thanks.

However, I am NOT going to shut up about this until someone in Information Security understands that I CAN'T DO MY JOB THANKS TO THE STUPID CENSORWARE, DAMNIT!!!!

(Sorry about the screaming. I am pissed off.)

Quick note

Sep. 23rd, 2005 11:09 am
I think I'm going to just make a new install of Wordpress this evening for my censorware-babbling needs. I apologize for talking about it so much in the last few weeks, but it really does tick me off.

Also debuting sometime this weekend are my censorware pages, plus a censorware podcast (I was sitting there trying to record the darn thing between frenzies of trying to find my mom's housekey, but that's a different story.)
WebSENSE blocks John C. Dvorak's blog

I came across this while looking for good anti-WebSENSE articles. Apparently there was a porn site on the same general IP address as John C. Dvorak's blog. (Dvorak writes tech articles.) Needless to say, they were trying to block the porn site and got his blog as well. They fixed the error, but it was still an error.

I am now thinking of not only a anti-censorware page, but an anti-censorware podcast. I'll probably use my current install to do it, which means probably doing away with the Rosegarden/Inkwell updates that weren't updating.

ETA: The new versions of WordPress allow one to do podcasts (by allowing you to attach audio files) which makes it handy for potential podcasters. My Wordpress blog was being used for Inkwell/Rosegarden updates, but since I never remember to update it *looks embarrassed* I was thinking of using it for setting up podcasts.
Okay. Putting together a website, or at least a pair of pages (essay + links) on censorware. So it's very much on my mind right now.

My boss is actually being pretty cool about the whole thing; he's trying to get Information Security to get us completely off of WebSENSE. I told him about the override button that mom had, as an alternative if they can't just exempt us from the idiotic blocking. I showed him the google cache trick I use to get around the blocking, and he thought I was brilliant, and didn't have a problem with it.

However, my hope is pretty slim even if they do let us off.

On Friday, I got so frustrated in having to use the google cache trick to visit websites that I needed to visit for work, that I went to my boss. He talked to helpdesk and IT, I talked to helpdesk and IT, they talked to Information Security, and the category that we needed to be permitted to go to was supposedly unblocked. While I was talking to IT, they mentioned the difficulty of getting certain computers cleared for it because apparently they clear blocks according to internal IP, and internal IP is dynamic. Which might explain how they *supposedly* unblocked said category for my unit, and then I couldn't access sites in it half an hour later.
They've installed stupid fricking WEBSENSE (blocking software) on our computers. Part of my job requires me to go to business websites, how am I freaking supposed to DO that?

(It also blocks LJ, btw. Thank goodness for Kiba's websurfing abilities!)



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