Remember last year when I realized some net filter was looking at teentitans3.jpg, breaking the words in the wrong place, and concluding it must be adult content and therefore should be blocked? (It replaced the “offending” words with spaces, which get encoded as %20 in URLs.)

At the time I left it, since I figured anyone who installed a filter that brain-dead given the popularity of the Teen Titans cartoon deserved what they got. Well, the usability and “make the site work for the visitor” side of the debate finally won out (with a little help from “the people who use these filters aren’t the ones who install them”), and a few weeks ago I renamed the file to teen_titans_current.jpg.

Guess what? I’m now seeing hits for %20%20%20%20_%20%20%20ans_current.jpg.

Even when I give it word breaks, it can’t figure it out.

They’re lucky I called the file titans.html. Otherwise some people wouldn’t be able to see it at all.

Given this level of “quality,” can you blame librarians for opposing mandatory installation of filters on library computers?

Further reading: The Censorware Project, Peacefire, and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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