Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So, as I type this, I'm in the "Business Center" in the clubhouse at Garden Gate Apartments where I live, which is basically a large conference room with computers. I'm the only one I know who uses it for business purposes, though - it seems universally utilized by other residents for porn, sports, myspace, facebook, mojo, celebrity gossip, video games, and other idle pursuits of the masses.
Recently they've installed some sort of internet filter on their system which renders the internet unusable for anyone doing any type of research. I noticed a bad link to an Eckankar site on a previous UnK post and was fixing it, when I found that Google is now blocked:
Google.com is tagged "Hate and Discrimination"? WTF?
Although Google is blocked, Yahoo is permitted, which is kind of weird since Yahoo carries way more avenues to malicious spyware and havoc-wreaking code on its front page than Google's plain, no-frills site. So I go through Yahoo to get the Eckankar link I sought, and guess what? It won't let me access the Kentucky Eck site because it says they're a cult.
Now forget for a moment that Eckankar isn't really much of a cult - they're more like a new age meditation-hum club - but even if they were a cult, why would cults be automatically blocked just on general principles? Apparently someone somewhere thinks Christianity is the only religion people should be allowed to read about. Sure enough, almost all of the religious groups I linked to in this post are blocked.
Kookier still, the Church of Satan's website is blocked with the additional tag "militant/extremist/terrorist". That's beyond wrong, since Anton LaVey's idea of a Satanist was someone who mainly led a quiet, non-confrontational existence, and sat around alone at home listening to Rudy Vallee 78s while wearing a dime-store plastic halloween horned hat. There are plenty of dangerous and psychotic Satanist-wannabe occult groups out there, but LaVey's group is not among them. Diamanda Galas, like many other "more-demonic-than-thou" types, has dismissed it as "Las Vegas Satanism"... which actually sounds like a compliment to me.
It didn't take me long to realize that in addition to banning specific sites that offended some unknown person's sense of decorum, an apparent secret list of keywords prevents one from accessing the websites of products like the famous Naked Juice health drink and L'eggs Nude Pantyhose.
Most baffling of all, when I tried to search for sites for amateur telescope aficionados, that was banned as well, and the reason given being "pornography"!
Why? I have no idea. Perhaps someone's only frame of reference for the term "amateur" was amateur porn?
I'm not sure what bunch of genuises are responsible for this block-happy net-nanny, but the bottom of each block warning says "SECURESPOT is a registered trademark of D-Link Systems, Inc. Copyright© 2009 Bsecure Technologies, Inc."
This isn't the first time I've encountered computer-related idiocy on this grand a scale, alas. Awhile back, one of our associates found her workplace banning access to virtually the entire internet, which begs the question: why even have the internet, then? Her boss - who knew about as much about the internet as, say, Dilbert's boss - was only following the advice of a company handling his computer services, NetGain (Or, as it was known around the office, "NetLoss"). Reportedly, he was paying an absurd sum for these services which left him with an internet that none of his workers could use - not even for the specific purposes within their job description.
Someday the little children will ask you why civilization collapsed. Tell them it was because we were afraid of information, afraid of people we disagreed with, afraid of ourselves, afraid of everything. A nation of wusses.