Browse Definitions:
Definition

censorware

Censorware is a term used pejoratively to describe software that filters out undesirable Web sites or content. Examples include Cybersitter, N2H2, Netnanny, Surfwatch, and Wisechoice. This kind of software is designed to restrict an individual's ability to send or receive certain types of information, and for that reason its use (in public libraries, for example) is a contentious issue. Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) argue that the use of censorware conflicts with individual rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association, as mandated by the United States constitution.

There are a number of problems with censorware, quite apart from the question of whether or not it infringes upon individual rights to access to information. Censorware blocks certain Web site categories and also uses language-based criteria to define undesirable content. Given the ambiguous nature of isolated parts of speech, words and phrases that are deemed unacceptable in one context may be completely innocuous in another. Such ambiguity can lead to innocent material being blocked , or conversely, offensive material passing through the program's filters. In 2000, the Digital Freedom Network (DFN), an Internet rights organization, hosted a contest for the most ludicrous example of censorware at work. The contest winner was a student who was denied access to his high school's web site from within the school's library because his search term included the word "high."

Bobson Wong, DFN's executive director, maintains that parents should supervise their children rather than counting on censorware to do it for them. According to Wong, "The bottom line is that filtering software is no substitute for human judgment."

This was last updated in September 2005

Continue Reading About censorware

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close