Websense Nonsense

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Rants
Tags: , , ,

Earlier, while at work, I was brainstorming some ideas to write for the blog (don’t you have anything better to do, Oscar?).  I feel the urge to update frequently, regardless of how many people actually decide to visit and return to my little home on the world-wide web.  Here’s the problem with that: Even if I had something great to post, I can’t do it while on the job and need to settle for a rough draft instead.  The computers there have an oh-so-wonderful little security tool called “Websense”.  What does Websense do?  Yes, you guessed it…they categorize websites according to what they deem suitable and appropriate content, in order to block out the insurmountable crap that exists on the internet.  Porn, forums and other sites that contain malicious code that can compromise privacy and steal important information, are prime examples.

I have very limited access to the online world and no access at all to any websites considered “social networking”.  What a crime!  Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating slightly as I do understand and agree with the need for restrictive enforcement policies while surfing on the job – and schools.  We get paid to work after all, not poke people on Facebook, blog about our daily occurrences or watch Justin Bieber videos on Youtube.

My criticisms however, are not with what it’s supposed to do, but rather with how it does it.  The “blacklist” seems to be rather vague and so general that it blocks out websites that are actually safe and useful for information and research – and in turn, somehow fails to filter some of the ones that shouldn’t see the light of day.  In other words, it fails to do its job correctly and infuriates the user that is genuinely and innocently looking for helpful information.   Imagine visiting a harmless site one day, only to find an unsightly white screen the next, warning you of “inappropriate” content, and making you feel like a dirty scoundrel, guilty of a crime.

Is the administration overly paranoid or are the people at Websense just too lazy to take the time out to categorize sites in their perspective places?  A rumor –I don’t have any evidence to back this up– says that many sites blocked by Websense haven’t necessarily been reviewed by employees; a lot of the database was posted without human interaction and computer errors are to blame for sites that don’t deserve the dictatorship treatment.  Get your act together people!

I guess I can’t do much except rant about it on my blog and spend my lunch break reading trashy, brainless blogs like Perezhilton.com, which somehow isn’t blocked.  Go figure.

Happy surfing!

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