Mattel versus Freedom of Speech
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Mattel Secretly Suppressing Free Discussion?
Mattel Caught in Censorship Scandal
A censorship row is raging on the Internet over Mattel’s popular CyberPatrol filtering software. Critics say they have found that CyberPatrol blocks not only pornography and other offensive material, but also secretly blocks information that may harm Mattel’s share price.
The toy-making giant responded, not with an apology, but by suing hackers who broke its blacklist code and discovered the alleged extra filters.
The blacklist, called CyberNot, is owned by Mattel and used not only in home-PC products but also by Internet service providers, businesses, libraries, and schools.
Mattel has gained an injunction preventing the hackers from making available the program that views the contents of CyberNot. However, that program may already be in the public domain.
To see how the issue blew up and has since developed, see: www.politechbot.com/cyberpatrol
Critics suggest that even the debate is filtered out by CyberNot, meaning some Web surfers may not be able to access this material.
P.S. From the publisher of The Progress Report — there even appear to be some petty personal vendettas embedded in the censorship program. Among the banned topics are not just sex, but discussion groups on chess, volleyball, and all student organizations at Carnegie-Mellon University. Mattel has a lot of explaining to do.
Who first reported on this censorship case? A newspaper in New Zealand. Apparently the mainstream media in the USA didn’t care as much about the U.S. Constitution.
What’s your opinion on secret censorship? Tell your views to The Progress Report!