Friday, August 13, 2004

On the subject of Internet censorship, the folks at Harvard Law School have a center(http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/) that has lots of info about Internet censorship. Every government that I've lived under, including the US, censors some content from its citizens. But the Internet has made it a lot harder. I actually saw a page that was censored in the Middle East because it had 'sex' in the URL. Their algorithm -- a real shame to even call it an algorithm -- was so dumb that it disallowed 'sex' as any substring on the query string. Many sites on the internet add encoded and/or encrypted ID's on the URL for session management. These ID's have a set of random looking characters (for example: http://by22fd.bay22.hotmail.msn.com/cgi-bin/hmhome?a=2jzls4e5c85sex2f293); 'sex' can appear anywhere here. This doesn't mean that the user is looking for sex. So some unlucky users cannot use major Internet services because of this.

I love the Internet and Blogs as it really frees information -- an essential ingredient of a democracy.