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7/7/2005
01:31 PM
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Filtering Out Smut

The Government Accountability Office, in a recent report entitled File Sharing Programs: The Use of Peer-to-Peer Networks to Access Pornography, said Google and Yahoo search engines failed to effectively block pornographic and erotic images. The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, conducted its tests in February, as we reported last wee

The Government Accountability Office, in a recent report entitled File Sharing Programs: The Use of Peer-to-Peer Networks to Access Pornography, said Google and Yahoo search engines failed to effectively block pornographic and erotic images. The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, conducted its tests in February, as we reported last week. Much has changed since last winter's test.InformationWeek recently conducted a similar test. We set the search engines' filters to their strictest settings and employed search terms teens would likely use to find erotica images. Google and Yahoo returned few, if any, X-rated images. In fact, in its strictest setting and using common four-letter words and related pornographic search terms, Google wouldn't let searchers access any photos, videos, or illustrations, even those depicting innocent images.

But technology, of course, won't necessarily protect our kids from viewing porno online. These filters can be easily disabled by youngsters, many of whom are more Net savvy than their parents. The kids merely must swear they're at least 18 years old.

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