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Sunday 23 January 2005

A List Of Websites Blocked At Panera

The following forty-six websites were all observed to blocked by the nanny filter on the network at Panera Bread late in the afternoon of 23 January 2004.

I got the list of URLs to try by loading in the contents of my own RSS aggregator, as well as the blogrolls from instapundit.com, dailykos.com, and atrios.blogspot.com.

There seems to be a slight anti-conservative bias in the list, but this could be due to nothing more than the fact that Glenn Reynolds — widely considered ‘conservative’ — has approximately one zillion sites on his blogroll, and that the filter blocks websites related to ‘weapons’. Certainly there are also a bunch of lefty sites that are also blocked for no real discernable reason.

For each site that seems to be improperly blocked, I’ve stuck in a short quote that should serve to illustrate what the site is like.

Many of the sites branded as “adult/mature content” — as Tinotopia once was — probably got that way by using four-letter words once in a while. The question then is: why is Panera protecting its customers from this? I can understand them not wanting people looking at farmsluts.com in there, as it might put other customers off their feed. But political weblogs? I think the problem is that the main market for the nanny filter consists of schools: and so when you use the network at Panera, you are assumed to have the intellect and sensitivities of a child.

  • http://charlesmurtaugh.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “But getting back to Verghese’s larger point, I’m filing his article away in the corner of my brain (my mind?) devoted to the lonely fight in favor of de facto dualism. Yes, yes, I know that the brain is the seat of the mind, I remain committed to scientific materialism, but I’ve never been completely comfortable with the idea that the mind and body are of the same substance. The problem is in the term “substance,” of course, since again I am obliged to concede that the molecules of the brain are not different from those of the body.”
  • http://doctor-horsefeathers.com/: Pornography
  • Quote: “When Galileo, using the scientific method of observation, argued in favor of the heliocentric theory, Church scholars indignantly demanded he recant. A leader among them was Cardinal Bellarmin. “…He was earnest, sincere, and learned, but insisted on making science conform to Scripture. The weapons which men of Bellarmin’s stamp used were purely theological. They held up before the world the dreadful consequences which must result to Christian theology were the heavenly bodies proved to revolve about the Sun and not about the Earth. Their most tremendous dogmatic engine was the statement that “his pretended discovery vitiates the whole Christian plan of salvation.” Father Lecazre declared “it casts suspicion on the doctrine of the incarnation.” Others declared, “It upsets the whole basis of theology. If the Earth is a planet, and only one among several planets, it can not be that any such great things have been done specially for it as the Christian doctrine teaches. If there are other planets, since God makes nothing in vain, they must be inhabited; but how can their inhabitants be descended from Adam? How can they trace back their origin to Noah’s ark? How can they have been redeemed by the Saviour?” Nor was this argument confined to the theologians of the Roman Church…”
  • http://hereticalideas.com/: Pornography
  • Quote: “Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from a liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
    - Ambrose Bierce”
  • http://seanbaby.com/: Pornography
  • Probably justified
  • http://tres_producers.blogspot.com/: Pornography
  • This site is essentially defunct since 2002, but it formerly offered ’ Thoughts on culture, politics, music and stuff by Eric Olsen, Marty Thau and Mike Crooker, who are among other things, producers.’ Or, among other things, pornographers.
  • http://www.coldfury.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Of course, he was a bit of a fool for saying as much as he did. It is never safe to speak truth to power, as Thomas √† Becket and Thomas More found out (not to mention a host of others not named Thomas). Those who assert otherwise speak truth only accidentally, and then not to powers of the like of the English Henrys, let alone worse tyrants; they yammer only at those who feel constrained by the laws of God and/or man. Summers forgot, or did not know this, and he suffers and, in all probability, will continue to suffer for it.
  • http://www.cyberessays.com/: Illegal Skills/Questionable Skills
  • Cyber Essays offers ‘free, high-quality term papers, essays, and reports on all subjects’. Not exactly legitimate, but I don’t understand what’s Panera’s interest in blocking something like this.
  • http://www.dailypundit.com/: Weapons
  • Except for a link — admittedly at the top of the front page — to a place selling ‘dirt cheap ammo’, there doesn’t seem to be anything there about weapons. So, I suppose the lesson is: if you don’t want to be blocked by SonicWALL, don’t even accept advertising for certain perfectly legal products.
  • http://www.dailytopless.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • The name is an accurate description of the photos to be found here. It is a bit of a mystery why so many sites are labelled ‘pornography’, while this one is merely ‘adult/mature’.
  • http://www.darkperfection.com/: Pornography
  • “The fetish scene exposed” — okay, it’s porn.
  • http://www.fark.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Fark is ‘mature’? I suppose that’s accurate, if only in the euphemistic sense of ‘mature’ meaning ‘immature’.
  • http://www.forvideo.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Run by the Video Software Dealers’ Association, a trade group for video sales and rental companies. The site is totally innocuous, and there’s no reason to believe it’s ever been anything but.
  • http://www.fuckedcompany.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • I suppose this is ‘mature’ content, as the site consists mainly of people complaining about their employers and their investments.
  • http://www.gutrumbles.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Probably accurate. This is an occasionally entertaining site run by an incredibly profane bigoted cracker.
  • http://www.highclearing.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “Life Imitates Art - In Jorge Luis Borges’ classic story, “Tlöaut;n, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” the contents of a century-old fiction start replacing those of our reality.”
  • http://www.ismckenzie.com/: Pornography
  • Utterly baffling. The site is about personal productivity, customer service, and the subtle spirituality of some guy in Edmonton.
  • http://www.janesguide.com/: Pornography
  • Fully Jane’s Net Sex Guide.
  • http://www.jscript.dk/: Adult/Mature Content
  • The site is about computer security.
  • http://www.kalyr.com/: Weapons
  • “This is a site devoted to some of my diverse interests, from RPGs to trains to 1970s dinosaur rock bands. It started off as a means of teaching myself HTML, but then sort of growed, much like any computer project is likely to do.”
  • http://www.kimdutoit.com/: Weapons
  • There’s definitely a lot of ‘weapons’ here. The question is: why is it so important to prevent anyone getting at information about ‘weapons’?
  • http://www.oraculations.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “Buy stock? Oh no! A powerful person (or people)simply takes 10% of the stock and agrees to pay for the stock when the accrued dividends match the stock price at time of “purchase”; in addition he gets a seat on the board of directors PLUS a salary. In exchange, the business won’t have tariff problems, labor problems, or any problems. Judges take money from both sides and routinely rule in favor of the biggest bribe (he keeps both bribes); hospitals have two sections, one for the people who have paid a bribe and one for those who have not.” Adult content, ladies and gentlemen.
  • http://www.punchbaby.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • There’s a link to a video of a wet-T-shirt contest on the front page, so the rating is probably accurate.
  • http://www.scalzi.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote from the about page: “At the moment (November 2004), I primarily write books: by the end of 2004 I will have five books in the stores. These books are The Rough Guide to Money Online (2000), The Rough Guide to the Universe (2003), Book of the Dumb (2003), Book of the Dumb 2 (2004) and my first published novel, Old Man’s War (2005 release date, but out late 2004). In addition to these books, I have three books currently in the pipeline: The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film (mid-2005), The Ghost Brigades, which is a sequel to Old Man’s War (late 2005/early 2006), and another novel, The Android’s Dream (late 2006/early 2007).”
  • http://www.thebitchgirls.us/: Nudism
  • I’m not sure what exactly is the difference between ‘nudism’ and ‘nudity’. Practitioners of what is called ‘nudism’ usually prefer ‘naturism’, I believe. There no evidence that the Bitch Girls are practitioners of either, and in any case I could find no pictures (of anything) on the website. They are pro-gun, though, with an NRA News banner on their front page.
  • http://www.wctu.org/: Sex Education
  • The Women’s Christian Temperance Union is too racy for Panera. You read it here first. I cannot find anything on the site about sex education.
  • http://www.yuppiesofzion.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • From their FAQ: “We support Israel not on religious grounds, but on democratic and humanistic ones.” I looked for hard-core pictures of Golda Meir, thinking that this must justify the rating, but I could find nothing.
  • http://zonitics.blogspot.com/: Pornography
  • Pornography: “The partisans over at Democratic Underground believe that a massive conspiracy involving untold hundreds of computer programmers and operators is the real reason that President Bush won reelection. Their proof? Exit polls in computer voting states show a wider divergence than those in non-computer voting states. Or do they?”
  • http://webcamserver-1.pns.anl.gov/view/indexFrame.shtml: Pornography
  • Argonne National Laboratory, Department of Energy, United States Government. Pornography. Probably they just block anything at all with ‘webcam’ in the URL. The video won’t load for me, so I’m not sure what the camera is pointing at. Somehow I doubt that it’s government-funded Atomic Porn, though.
  • http://www.anomalies.net: Cult/Occult
  • “Over 7 GB of UFO, Time-Space, Paranormal, and Conspiracy information.” I sure am glad that Panera is protecting me against this.
  • http://www.leanleft.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • “This inauguration is aristocratic in its arrogance and its sense of entitlement. It is undiplomatic. It is lacking in character. It is small-minded. It is, in the end, un-Christian.” Mature content indeed.
  • http://www.sadlyno.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote-heavy left-wing blog. They use a lot of quasi-foul language, but so do a lot of things that Panera lets through.
  • http://throwingthings.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “Given that he’s hosting “SNL” tonight and is all-but-certain to get a Best Actor Oscar nomination Tuesday morning for “Sideways,” it seems like today is a good day to look back at the career of Paul Giamatti.”
  • http://suburbanguerrilla.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “There is a certain type of man who absolutely refuses to wear hats, gloves or scarves. Under duress, he may grudgingly wear a baseball cap - something designed to shade your eyes, not keep your head warm. (Hello? Why do they call ballplayers boys of summer?)”
  • http://blog.browndemocrats.org/: Pornography
  • Brown University Democrats. Founded by John F. Kennedy, Jr., and now, apparently pronographers. Quote that’s sure to get you hot: “In reaction to the President’s inaugural speech, I just want to echo the chorus of hold him to it. There’s nothing wrong with what he said—liberty, God, freedom, and all. The problem is, his record does not match it.”
  • http://pansypoos-personal-rant-page.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “friday night, i finally finished the 1903 F encyclopedia. for awhile i asked myself, A or Z, forward or back. and well, i gotta start at what people say is the beginning. and there are 3 volumns of just A. i just hope i can read them before i die.” If there were a ban category for bad spelling and punctuation, I could see that. But ‘mature’, no.
  • http://alicublog.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural rose to poetry because its vision was poetic. It was not made so by meter and rhetorical flourishes; those followed naturally upon the ideas. To engineer grand phrases in the service of public relations, as was done for yesterday’s address, is not poetry. It is not even prose. It is propaganda writ large and in a florid hand, with an eye toward talking points and polling data, to move the speechwriters and columnists whose job is to make much of it.” What exactly does adult/mature content mean, anyway? Anything except Barney and Spongebob and so forth could be said to be ‘adult’.
  • http://fablog.ehrensteinland.com/: Pornography
  • This one might actually legitimately qualify for the ‘adult/mature’ tag, as it seems to be the ranting of a bitter man with a foul mouth. It doesn’t seem to be pornographic at all, though.
  • http://suckful.net: Adult/Mature Content
  • The large slogan at the top of the main page says ‘fuck you, I’m a pirate’, so maybe the tag is correct.
  • http://www.thetalkingdog.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • The left-wing sites seem a lot more foul-mouthed than most of the right-wing ones, but this left-wing blog goes out of its way to remain clean: “Time marches on. Here’s the thing (for those wondering just how I was going to make this about Bush): this is not atypical. Vaunted gains in American logevity have been a tad… illusory (we remain a dismal 42nd or something in world health measures such as longevity and infant mortality and so forth). Hence, the main reason that “social security is in crisis”— the explosion in the ranks of the superannuated— is a complete and total f***ing lie.” Asterisks in original.
  • http://www.uppity-negro.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • The ‘uppity negro’ of the title, as it happens, died in September 2004, and there’s been little posted to the site since then. Before, it was mainly left-wing political rants. Are politics ‘mature’? I thought kids — at least kids old enough to be using their laptops at Panera — were supposed to be little citizens-in-training.
  • http://agendabender.blogspot.com: Adult/Mature Content
  • Quote: “A reader’s comment to this provocative critique of the character rendering in The Polar Express led me to a fascinating piece from the LA Weekly on the science and alchemy of digitizing 35 mm film prints.”
  • http://www.nakedwriting.com: Pornography
  • There’s a fairly tame picture of two men kissing on the front page right now — you have to scroll down — but I think it’s the word ‘naked’ that got it banned. Strange that it’s considered ‘pornography’, though, as this guy does appear to actually be a ‘naturist’, and there is a ‘nudism’ category.
  • http://demosthenes.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Adult, mature quote: “Whether you believe that gay marriage or the War on Terror (or both) motivated the 51%, it’s clear enough that this nonsense wasn’t what they were voting for. Nor is it necessary, as many, many people have been pointing out on the Social Security issue. We’re just seeing the beginning of the process of the demolition of the New Deal taking place. This is happening just in time for record interest rates to brutalize a population of increasingly overextended debtors, just as soon as the shoe drops on the U.S. dollar.” Lock up the kids! By this reckoning, Meet The Press should be rated NC-17.
  • http://www.blah3.com/graymatter/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Maybe The Weather Channel should be scrambled, too. Quote: “Yeah, we’re stitting here waiting for 18 to 24 inches of snow to get dumped all over us. I know some of you in other parts of the world don’t consider that much snow, but you gotta understand - if an inch of snow falls on Long Island, most of the citizenry goes into dopey bastard mode and forgets how to drive - but every single one of them simply must drive out to the store for milk, bread and eggs.”
  • http://thepoorman.net/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Just another left-wing rantblog. You know, Panera sells The New York Times and the Washington Post in plain sight, without anything covering up all the adult content on their front pages. Tsk tsk.
  • http://seetheforest.blogspot.com/: Adult/Mature Content
  • Another left-wing rantblog — this section of the list is from one of the lefty blogrolls. I wonder what they do to you if you try to read The Nation in plain sight at Panera? “Come on, buddy: move along. Go take your spank-mag elsewhere.”
    Posted by tino at 21:25 23.01.05
    This entry's TrackBack URL::

    Links to weblogs that reference 'A List Of Websites Blocked At Panera' from Tinotopia.

    I bet that vegblog.org is blocked as well — it’s one of my weblogs that deals with vegetarianism but is blocked because it’s a “sex site” or some such by certain overzealous filters (presumably because I link to veganporn.com which, of course, has nothing to do with porn).

    Programs that filter net content are bound to fail because there is just no way to make them both accurate and fair. There’s no company around that has the manpower to keep up an accurate filter list.

    Posted by: Ryan at January 24, 2005 09:42 AM

    Vegblog is indeed blocked as ‘pornography’.

    The real craziness of the errors isn’t that innocent sites are blocked, but that innocent sites are blocked for reasons that don’t make the slightest bit of sense. As we see from the list above, nearly anything can be called ‘adult’ depending on how you define the category, and some people might call a vegetarian site a ‘fringe/loony cult’ site, but the pornography label not only can’t be defended, it just doesn’t make sense in this context.

    Incidentally, it’s possible to check whether something is on the list at SonicWALL’s content filtering rating review request page here. When Tinotopia was incorrectly blocked and I complained about it, they fixed the entry within a week.

    I should probably also have mentioned that this home-schooling site is currently blocked as ‘Violence/Hate/Racism’. This is clearly defamatory: a glance at the site would be enough to show that this classification is inaccurate, so I’d say that labeling it as ‘hate’ etc. is ‘reckless negligence’, the legal standard for showing libel in the U.S.

    The original version of this post looked at the nanny filters in terms of the liability that they created by their purveyors and operators, and I may go back and look at that angle in the future.

    Posted by: Tino at January 24, 2005 10:24 AM

    Ironically, I watched the Fox Searchlight short called “Farm Sluts” while I was at Panera. It’s very funny and not at all dirty:


    Sure sounds dirty though, doesn’t it?

    Posted by: Nicole at January 24, 2005 03:33 PM

    Victoria’s Secret: Forbidden Category “Intimate Apparel/Swimsuit”

    Craigslist for adult content. This one is odd because only some of the pages within Craigslist are blocked. Including the housing and money forums. We certainly wouldn’t want the kiddies to see people discussing those topics in public.

    I continue to go to Panera because I don’t have internet access at home, but it’s frustrating to have a list of things to do (buy harmless cotton undies from VS; see what people are saying about the DC housing market) and to get the blue screen that says I won’t be able to do it.

    Posted by: at January 30, 2005 05:25 PM

    It’s always been a personal goal of mine to have my writing banned somewhere by someone. It’s nice to know that Panera Bread is fulfilling my wish — even if it is only over a photograph.

    Posted by: Jody at March 13, 2005 12:52 AM

    The Ambrose Bierce quote reminds me of how MHS would place certain restricted books behind the counter at the library and you had to have a teacher’s or parent’s note to check them out. Along with such scandalous materials as Judy Blume’s Forever, the library restricted access to one of my longtime favorites, The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Eventually I took the library copy and it is still my favorite one to read. I guess arbitrary restrictions continue; only the means change…

    Posted by: Shaye at March 14, 2005 10:24 AM

    My guess is that The Devil’s Dictionary was kept behind the counter because of the use of the word devil in the title. Keeping in mind the clientele of that particular library, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there was a theft problem.

    “Huh-huh-huh-huh, lookit, Kevin [most of ‘em seemed to be named Kevin for some reason], this book’s about th’ devil huh-huh-huh-huh!” Soon Mr Bierce’s cynical lexicon would find itself at the center of strange and haphazard ‘rituals’ involving ceremonial Bud Light (no doubt a sacrifice to ‘the dark one’, who would of course be assumed to be something of a hoosier and thus interested in Bud Light; in any case sacrificing the stuff to the devil is probably a better strategy than drinking it) and skull-shaped candles from Spencer’s (cf. other recent discussion).

    I was something of a one-man theft problem for that library myself, but I was more discriminating; at one point I had a plan to make off with the entire Oxford English Dictionary, but I never went through with it. I have since obtained one legally.

    If I didn’t still feel bitter about my experience at the hands of that school, I’d probably be inclined to make a sizeable donation of books to make up for my past pilferage. My guess is that they wouldn’t want them, though, as they wouldn’t fit in with the curriculum. My selection would largely consist of history and journalism covering the inter-war period in Europe, and satirical novels.

    On an only very tenuously related topic, I find myself of late looking into certain kinds of Young Adult fiction, prompted in part by this, which discusses this book. I believe that juvenile fiction has now degenerated almost entirely into what they call ‘problem books’ (i.e. the character has a Problem, usually involving AIDS/pregnancy/poverty/homosexuality/homelessness/The Environment or something else that’s In The News, and he or she Works Through his or her Issues and in the end winds up Volunteering to help at a Shelter or Outreach Center or some such. As you might imagine, I find this annoying), but there used to be some quite interesting things that differed from adult fiction (not to be confused with ‘adult’ fiction) mainly only in length.

    Posted by: Tino at March 14, 2005 11:45 AM

    I’m pretty sure Kevin’s sacrifice would have to have been a Busch Light, perhaps behind the Banner Tires.

    Posted by: Shaye at March 15, 2005 03:15 PM

    As for suckful.net, we curse and obscenity a lot, and ocassionally go for deep satire of just about everything. Mostly though it’s just in aggressively poor taste. Should an eight-year old read it? Only if their dad is a sailor and their mom is a b-girl. Adult though? As in what prurient content? That’s the kind of thing of which we make fun. Mature? Never in life. Now suckful.com, that is a porn site.

    Posted by: j fyrste at March 22, 2005 11:53 PM