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The Cyber Patrol saga: you have your say

Readers do us proud

Well, you may well have noticed that we had a spot of bother with SurfControl this week. It decided in its wisdom to block us as some kind of evil Web site because we wrote a story about a company that had made some software to bypass its filtering software.

This morning it decided to rescind the ban. Possibly something to do with the fact that its reasons were extremely suspect. But more than likely thanks to you, the readers, for inundating it with queries, both abusive and polite. We started making a list of the readers who kept us in touch with things from the other side of the fence but it soon became impractical, so no long list of names we're afraid.

That's not to say we don't sincerely thank all of you for sticking up for us. We received around 400 emails telling us what SurfControl's reasoning was. We suspect the figure they received was several orders greater.

We can't really do justice to the responses, so we won't bother. Instead, below is a series of some of the funniest, cheekiest and most uptight emails we (and SurfControl) received. Hopefully this will provide some Friday/weekend entertainment. We also had four emails that thought SurfPatrol had a point (two are below). Just goes to show you can please all the people all the time (just 99 per cent of them :-) ). ®

Cyber Patrol bans The Register
This story is why Cyber Patrol banned The Register
Novell bans The Register
Cyber Patrol unblocks The Register


Another product you can add to the list of those using the Cybermen[7] for their data is WebNOT! which is supplied by Axent[1] as an optional service for their popular Raptor firewall. I was amused to see the amazing list of categories the Reg had been added to - sex, drugs[3], "gross depictions"[4] and many more. All this in the name of protecting their defective software...

As I administer the firewall[5], it was a simple matter to reclassify the Reg[6], but it's ludicrous that I should have to.

It's all a lot less fun than, anyway.[9]

[1] Buggrit, Symantec[2]
[2] Or whoever it is this week
[3] But not rock n roll, I'm afraid
[4] Which surely is meant for, not IT news sites....
[5] In my daytime guise, I am an IT department[10]
[6] You're a search engine now, in case you're wondering
[7] Or whatever[8]
[8] Sometimes my footnotes get out of order
[9] Yeah, shameless plug...
[10] The staff meetings are a bit quiet[11]
[11] I usually get Tigger to go in my place

Les Bessant

I just read your article about Cyber Patrol banning the Register.

Ironically, my 4 year old was sitting on my lap as I read it.

I guess I'm a bad bad parent. ;)

He now wants to go out and start fires.


Since you have been censored by cyber patrol, are you aware of the following site?

It was a contest run to find the most ridiculous bit of censorware. I have included a couple of examples from the site below, enjoy!


"Joe J. reports being prevented from accessing his own high school's Web site from his own high school's library. Carroll High School adopted filtering software which blocked 'all questionable material'. This included the word 'high'."

"Tim M. wanted to register an account with Sympatico, but it wouldn't accept the name 'Heather', which contains the phrase 'eat her'."


I want my daily America bashing back!

I am really disappointed to hear that you have porn on your site. I mean really, couldn't you make the navigation to it a bit easier? It is really a bummer to think that Cyberpatrol can find it (they are NEVER wrong :) ) and your long time readers can't. Maybe you should have a Register Pin-up girl on the front cover? :)

Greg M.

Are you saying you're not a sex site? Damn. Sorry, but that means I'll have to remove you from my "Favorites" list.



You might want to update your article with the email address of the cretins who took it upon themselves to deny access to the Vulture's Nest. Clearly these morons are typical far-left politically correct anal-retentive poltroons. Perhaps a few thousand emails from those of us who endorse Vulture Culture would cause the clueless wankers to see the light.

I of course already have written, albeit in somewhat less vitriolic terms, to these cretins.

Terry C. Shannon

You may already have had hundreds of people tell you this, and it is a bit sneaky...

We have Border Mismanager installed at work, and the way to get round blocked sites is to use akamaitech. Simply enter the URL (making sure the last / is there), and voila. Of course, the whole experience could be made a bit nicer if you didn't use / on the front of all your imgs.

R Jamie Prady

I can only assume that Cyber Patrol blocking of the Register is a political move in an attempt to suppress the anti-censorship movement, and to silence it's critics. Basically they are attempt to protect their profit from market that they (and others) have created.

With respect to the 'sex' rating - the Register is sometime risqué ('Ring to Ring' for example), but you are not pornographers - not that I've seen anyhow. How does this stand for deformation of character?

Sensible ways to stop your children 'misusing' the internet.
1) Let them know that log files exist - they will be caught.
2) Let them decide that a few naughty pictures get boring after a while.
3) Chaperone them until they are old/wise enough to surf on their own

Simon Wood


[This is great - from a retired Major no less]


The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees (absolutely and unconditionally guarantee's and right to free expression and FREEDOM OF THE PRESS to print factual news related stories. Your unilateral action which subverts everything our Country stands for is illegal, immoral, and an action that can not be condoned inside the borders of the United States of America. To say your companies action violates all basic American principles is an understatement.

Your company would fit in very well with several totalitarian regimes (you would have been well welcomed in Hitler's Germany). What you are practicing is the very worst, and most vile form of censorship. Many good men shed a lot of blood to give Americans the write of free speech. Your very existence you owe to better men than you. I am writing my congressional representatives, the VFW and other organizations I am associated with.

You have my absolute and total enmity, and I will do all within my power to restrict and remove your product from the market. I will also write the Justice Department because your action is shurely criminal in nature.

Thomas E. Wiles
Maj. USAF Ret.

So let's get this straight. Instead of fixing a security problem in their product they are going to ban anyone who posts information on how to bypass the product? Or anything that is construed and being information on how to bypass the product.

Pathetic if you ask me. Hopefully, their actions will paint a big target on their ass and more ways to bypass the software will be created.

Steve Manzuik

There is a debate to be had, I suspect, whether or not legislation is intended to define upper or lower limits on things like "copyright" and "freedom of expression". Does the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (for example) define the minimum or the maximum of what both the owners of works can do as well as others ? And what is this freedom of the press thing anyway ?

Peter Galbavy

You mention that Peacefire has published anti-blocking software. You forgot to mention that Peacefire is also hosted by a major spamware hosting service, and as such, is included in the Realtime Blackhole List since July 2000, making it inaccessible from any ISP which takes the effort to block incoming spam through the use of the RBL on a BGP feed.

The founder of Peacefire fully supports his hosting service's position, and thus is fully in support of the use of theft and trespass as a form of advertising. All of this information may be confirmed from public sources, including and various Web-based discussion boards.

Rich Tietjens

Interesting that they would block you for providing a link to a site that they had already blocked ... following that logic all the sites that link to yours should be blocked too.

What about search engines?



Just checked out the story on Cyber Patrol blocking your site and thought about checking a few other URLs, checked, cyber patrol rival....and surprise surprise, it is blocked... hmmmm maybe I should contact Keneth Starr hehehe get them in a bit of strife.

Dave Hall


We are curious why you banned this technology information site.

This leads us to believe your firm is in the business of peddling advantage, through suppression of objective reporting regarding the products and services of a your customer. This must produce a substantial competitive advantage.

We feel this to be is an exciting product, and are keenly interested in retaining your services.
Can you please forward us more information about this service, and fee schedule (i.e., would it be based on the financial size of the firm who's information we wish to suppress, etc.).
Also, do you work with resellers?

Jim Poole

I have just read your story on why CyberPatrol saw fit to put the Register on their blocked sites list.

I note that both CNN and ZDNet (and these are the only two sites I checked, I am sure there are many others) published the story as well, ZDNet with a link to the site.

I assume that CyberPatrol therefore has both these sites on its block list? Perhaps you could point this out to Janet Erickson if they have somehow accidentally omitted these sites?


Good morning from Australia

I teach IT in South Australia as part the Department of Technical and Further Education and regularly point the students to the Register to balance out the -Gloss- of PR from other web sites and local Mags. If we upgrade our BorderGuard software from Novell this will have an impact on our Academic right to provide a broad spectrum of choice for our students.

So I offer you this, make available the correspondence between you and CyberPatrol and I can do the following:

We teach Quality Management (ethics included) as part of the Advanced Diploma in Information technology. I will build in a true and accurate account of what has happened with CyberPatrol and Censorship so that every student gets exposed to Cyberpatrol and their actions, so that we can discuss the moral and ethical business practices and the implications thereof. Many of them will be purchasers and decision makes for small and medium companies, not to mention help-desk support etc.

It is about time those of us in education made a greater stance for freedom of speech and joined in this battle.

Stephen Donaldson


Why did you decide to shoot the messenger?

If your beef is with CyberPatrol, why did you drag Novell into it? I'm surprised you didn't use the shotgun approach and target every company that uses CyberPatrol. Wouldn't it make more sense to talk to CyberPatrol so that you are unblocked from all sites, as opposed to going to Novell and getting unblocked from one site? As they say in the movies, "You do the math".

You sound too much like a liberal when you complain about a lack of access. It is a company's right to prevent any material they deem inappropriate from reaching their employees. And appropriateness is like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. Your claim that "CyberPatrol is restricting our ability to trade" is preposterous. What are you trading (besides t-shirts)? Now if you would have said something to the effect that it was interfering with your freedom of speech rights, you might get a sympathetic ear. Not much of one since you could be considered interfering with commerce by demanding access to a company's employees for non-business related interaction. Your articles are interesting, but hardly necessary for me to support my user base.

While reading the article I had a mental picture of you in a diaper and crying to high heaven. It was not a pleasant image and I had to discard the rest of my lunch.

BTW, I visit your website daily and I'm going through a Border Manager server.

Don't take this as a blanket complaint about your site, it's just this one article. Yours is my 3rd favorite site to visit. Keep up the good work.

T Mayne

Wasn't it just over two weeks ago that you posted an entire article along with a link to a site run by a stripper teaching women how to get their men off? And every other day you're posting vulgar comments left by your "readers" and making equally vulgar responses. And now you're surprised that some folks might deem your site unsuitable for children. Duh.


Whilst I respect your website's general style and content and am a regular reader, I can see how your site would be blocked from 'recommended children's viewing'. You and the other reporters do not often use 'bad language', but it is prevalent in anything to do with Flame of the Week and your story on the woman who had a mobile phone lodged where the sun don't shine does to me signify a site not really suitable for children.

Plus, as a Christian I am offended by the term 'chrissakes'. Think about its meaning next time you use it and for that matter any curse or swear. Think about it objectively and you soon see the inappropriateness of bad language in any situation.

Yours sincerely,
John Ferguson

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