Cyber Patrol logo

CYBER PATROL PORTENDS TREND IN MEDIA CENSURE

We Won't Tell You What You Shouldn't See

    The largest manufacturer of Internet censoring software has secretly blocked access from tens of millions of users to certain Christian websites, claims the American Family Association (AFA), a Christian family advocacy organization. In what appears to be a most insidious form of censorship--because it is done without the knowledge of those from whom the information is withheld, Cyber Patrol, a division of The Learning Company (TLC), has listed in its Internet blocking software the web addresses of Christian organizations they deem unfit for children--an action of which the various subscribing service providers and their customers were not informed. AFA themselves fell victim to the filtration censor merely because they express the Christian view that homosexuality is wrong.

    "The AFA's website, itself devoted to fighting the media's 'Gross Depictions,'" says World Magazine columnist Gene Edward Veith, "has been judged blockable on the grounds of 'intolerance,' a category previously reserved for Nazis and Klansmen."[1]

    Cyber Patrol is the largest such software manufacturer providing 85 per cent of all filtering and censoring software to the giants of online servers such as America Online, CompuServe, Prodigy, AT&T, Bell AtlanticNet, Scholastic Net and others. The company has secretly included restriction programming in their updates that prohibits access by subscribers to such Christian sites as Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, The Charlotte Christian News along with the website of a Christian radio station, WRCM, a children's Christian cartoon site called "Quiet Thunder," the Inspiration Cable Television Network, INSP, and others according to sources such as the aforementioned Charlotte Christian News and AFA.

    AOL boasts 13.5 million users, CompuServe another five million and Prodigy nearly a million. Scholastic Net links over 5,000 schools to its Internet facilities. According to federal statistics there are, on average, 1,000 students per school (averaging the 400 per school in pre-college and the nearly 4,000 students per college institution) which is another five million. Combining these totals with the rest of the servers listed above, those Internet users covered by filtering and censoring software account for over half of the estimated 60 million Americans accessing the Internet--those who have had selected Christian websites removed from their use without their knowledge.

    As well as marketing their programs to those immense, multi-million customer servers, Cyber Patrol also sells their wares to private consumers who are rightfully concerned about the potential corruption lurking on the Internet for their children. "Rightfully" because recent surveys indicate that 60% of search engine access is for the purpose of locating pornographic material online. This indicates that there is justifiable distress on the part of parents who wish to maintain control over that to which their children are exposed. However, just as the Trojan Horse appeared to the occupants of that besieged city to be something wholly desirable, the result of introducing it to their citizens was, in hindsight, easily seen as a disaster--only because they did not know what was inside.

    The fly in Cyber Patrol's ointment is that their software, which outsells its competitors ten to one, does not reveal to any subscriber--or, for that matter, anyone outside their corporate security veil--the contents of the highly encrypted list that determines what sites are blocked--their "CyberNOT" targets as they term them. Short of breaking the code in their programming, such data can be obtained only by painstaking attempts to access, one-by-one, specific sites through their software filter. The software, once purchased, can be updated on the company's website--still without revealing to the consumer what Internet sites have been censored.

    Apparently, Cyber Patrol made no attempt to inform AFA of their censored status with the software company which would seem to imply no desire for change or compliance with their standards on the part of the victims of their filtering--just blind censoring.

    "We were made aware that we were being blocked by Cyber Patrol," AFA Executive Assistant Buddy Smith told The WINDS, "when a listener on American Family radio, a subsidiary of AFA, informed us that they could not access our website while using the Cyber Patrol software. A message appeared on their screen which said the site was being blocked because of 'ethnic slash racist intolerance.'" That category seemed to AFA to be a strange companion to homosexual issues which qualify as neither ethnic nor racist.

    Cyber Patrol divides "unacceptable" websites (as mentioned in an earlier WINDS article) into twelve categories:

    Mr. Smith told The WINDS that AFA submitted a request to Cyber Patrol as to what specific content was the cause of their being blocked. AFA was then given that information, decided they could eliminate it without compromising their mission, informed Cyber Patrol of the decision and requested to have the blocking reversed. Apparently having their "bluff called," as Mr. Smith put it, was distasteful to Cyber Patrol. The company refused to unblock AFA's site and subsequently came up with even more reasons for blocking them. Smith claims that the company's standards constitute a subjective, fast-moving target with which compliance is impossible for AFA without compromising the integrity of their very purpose for existing. Smith also claims that he has been informed that other Christian websites were blocked simply because they dared to protest Cyber Patrol's blocking of AFA.

Glaad logo

WE'RE GLAAD TO CENSOR YOUR WEBSITE

(especially if you disagree with us)

    Any question as to how Cyber Patrol arrived at their decision to block Christian Internet sites because of their stand against homosexuality is easily answered by a glance at the roster of the company's Oversight Committee.

    "The CyberNOT Oversight Committee," says a company statement, "is made up of members from a wide range of social, political and civic organizations, including...the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)." [2] (Any speculation as to whether their site will ever be blocked--regardless of content?)

    A curious turn of events has occurred according to Veith in his article entitled, "Filtering Out Morality" in which GLAAD "is now calling on the AFA--which it calls a 'religious political extremist group'--to join it in fighting Internet censorship and policies requiring filtering software for schools and libraries." One must wonder if the term "conflict of interest" has ever occupied GLAAD's working vocabulary.

    Veith also points out that Cyber Patrol used to contain restrictions on homosexual websites--that is, until GLAAD unfurled their indignance toward the software manufacturer for that bit of "discrimination" whereupon TLC's subsidiary promptly caved in and "not only changed its policy, the company installed a representative from GLAAD on its Oversight Committee." [ibid.]

    "Cyber Patrol was originally criticized by GLAAD in November [1996] for blocking gay and lesbian resource sites" GLAAD said in a press release posted on the Cyber Patrol website. "GLAAD contacted Microsystems Software [the creators of Cyber Patrol] and worked with them to unblock many of these sites. Online service provider CompuServe," GLAAD went on to say, "has recently announced that it will use Cyber Patrol for its parental control." [3]

    Referring to The Internet School Filtering Act, (S. 1619), a bill approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in March, GLAAD issued its official attack on the legislation in the form of another press release. Quoting Joan Garry, Executive Director of GLAAD, the release stated:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), are concerned about this proposition, as it constitutes a violation of the First Amendment rights of students and citizens.

The use of Internet Filtering Software may be appropriate in the home, where parents can make their own personal value judgments about what filtering software to purchase and what types of sites to block, Garry continued. However, requiring a public institution, such as a school or library, to make this judgment call--therefore censoring certain sites from view--is a violation of the First Amendment rights of local citizens. It is inappropriate for schools or libraries to make these types of decisions.[4]

    Does the foregoing logic indicate that it would be appropriate, for the sake of First Amendment rights, to place Playboy and Hustler magazines on school library shelves? Can it not be logically concluded that GLAAD would demonstrate no such zeal for constitutional rights were the censoring aimed at Christian or other publications that are openly against homosexuality?

    GLAAD has been preeminently active in assuring that the homosexual agenda does not miss one of its primary targets--youth. The principal reason for their opposition to Internet censoring software, while at the same time occupying one of only twelve positions on Cyber Patrol's Oversight Committee, is found in that same press release. Garry stated that "the Internet serves as a unique community forum for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth...." [emphasis supplied]

    "GLAAD has taken a pretty firm stance in terms of saying that Internet filters are inadequate and can potentially limit access to really vital and important resources," Jennifer Einhorn, GLAAD's Director of Communications, told The WINDS, "Especially to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth."

    The New York-based organization has boisterously scolded several other restriction software products for a feature of their program that would permit parents to detect what websites their children have visited, thereby, potentially discovering that their child may be homosexual or have such tendencies. This discovery could of course lead to remedial efforts on the part of parents, an action that GLAAD and other gay and lesbian organizations abhor.

    "This is a very dangerous feature for gay and lesbian youth," claims GLAAD, "especially to those who live in families and schools within the extremely conservative market that are most likely to buy this product. A forced revelation of sexual orientation can create strains on family relations as well as further feelings of isolation."[5]

    GLAAD seems to express the idea (in concert with federal and state governments) that parents are the last ones that should be allowed to influence and train their children in areas of morality--especially those that run contrary to these groups' ideas.

    Morality in Media, one of the organizations represented on Cyber Patrol's Oversight Committee, is the only voice within the committee that has challenged the obvious conflict of interest between GLAAD's position against Internet filtering and their campaign to block certain Christian sites that oppose their agenda.

    In a recent article the Maranatha Christian Journal quoted Bob Peters, president of Morality in Media, from a letter to Cyber Patrol's Oversight Committee. In his letter Peters presented excerpts from an article in a homosexual magazine that outlined their agenda for subduing resistance to their cause.

    "'At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights,'" Peters quotes, "'it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified. The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes whose secondary traits and beliefs disgust middle America. These images might include: the Ku Klux Klan demanding that gays be burned alive or castrated; bigoted Southern ministers drooling with hysterical hatred to a degree that looks both comical and deranged; menacing punks, thugs ... a tour of a Nazi concentration camp."[6]

    Such are they who have power to pass cyber-judgement on those who express moral objections to their schedule of infecting society and youth with their degeneracy. They even take liberties with the language and thrust in society's face such fabricated, nonsense words like "homophobia," derived from thin air, that have absolutely no linguistic connection to that which they apply it. The word, if it existed, would merely mean "fear of man" not by any means fear of homosexuals--that is--without a blatant violation of the common rules of the English language.

Capitol building

PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP -- OR JUST COINCIDENCE?

    A source from within one of The Learning Company's subsidiaries, who spoke on condition of anonymity, informed The WINDS that the company has been expanding itself exponentially by acquiring nearly every viable educational software company it can get its hands on. Some of those acquisitions, such as Broderbund Software, were virtually as large as The Learning Company itself. TLC has every appearance of becoming (if it is not already) one of the giant multi-national corporations capable of acting in the capacity of a government, but without the constitutional restraints that encumber federal and state entities in the quest of relieving the citizenry of their liberties.

    Because they are imposing their standards on private individuals through the auspices of private corporations, there is effectively no technical or legal violation of First Amendment rights. If one, for example, operates a bookstore, it is not a Bill of Rights infringement if that owner chooses not to market a specific book he finds personally objectionable. If a customer wants that particular book, he is free to go elsewhere to obtain it.

    Software companies such as Cyber Patrol are effectively able to accomplish on the Internet what the government has failed to do by such legislation as the Communications Decency Act which was struck down by a federal court for its violation of the Bill of Rights. As a result of this invisible, de facto public/private partnership, the same censorship is effectively accomplished in a legal manner which the federal government attempted illegally and failed.

    Which of the Founding Fathers could have foreseen the insidious possibility that the U.S. Constitution could have been legally and effectively circumvented by merely allowing private corporations to do what constitutionally mandated governments could not?

    "The Learning Company has grown tremendously in the last couple of years," said the aforementioned source. "They began as Softkey, a company that sold a few educational titles. Their main competitor now would be Cendant, and these two Companies continue to purchase other smaller companies. Their goals have been clearly stated that they both are working toward being the biggest educational software companies in the world."

    Considering the enormous growth of the Internet and the now ubiquitous presence of computers in American households, being the largest educational software company on earth carries with it an unthinkable amount of power over the minds of children.

    In a previous WINDS article the concept of "Public/Private Partnerships" was discussed in which were quoted the words of President Clinton's September, 1997 address to the United Nations General Assembly. "Innovative partnerships with the private sector...and the international financial institutions" Clinton said, "can leverage [the UN's] effectiveness many times over." [7]

    The UN's New World vision sees beyond the ossified, insensate political establishments to the real powerbrokers of the world--the enormously rich and equally powerful multinational corporations. It was such corporations which made Hitler's National Socialist Party workable. He could never have waged his war had it not been for the financial and logistical support of giant companies like I. G. Farben. Rather than communism which nationalizes private industry into government-run failures--which has been graphically illustrated to be untenable by the collapse of the Soviet Union--National Socialism works by sharing power with mega-corporations to govern the "masses."

    "The success of the United Nations will depend on the extent to which it brings in the new power holders of the world," said Dr. Noel Brown Special Representative to the Group of 77 at the United Nations. "The U.N. has been obsessed with the office holders," Brown continued, "that is, the governments and the diplomats and 'your excellencies'. But real power is now being exercised by the people who manage the world's wealth.... The wealth generators are the key holders of power, not of office.... The real power holders must be partners in shaping the future if it is to be sustainable...." [ibid.]

    Is TLC's seemingly arbitrary action against Christian websites an example of what the world may expect from public/private partnerships? It should be noted that the much maligned, but apparently highly accurate document, The Protocols, clearly stated:

We have long past taken care to discredit the priesthood...and thereby to ruin their mission on earth which in these days might still be a great hindrance to us. Day by day its influence on the peoples of the world is falling lower. Freedom of conscience has been declared everywhere, so that now only years divide us from the moment of the complete wrecking of that Christian religion: as to other religions we shall have still less difficulty in dealing with them....

    These arrogant globalists have erected their kingdom against the King of Kings, but the heavenly Monarch has addressed their fate in declaring the "casting down of imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God." 2 Cor. 10:5.

 

REFERENCES:

1. World Magazine, "Filtering Out Morality"

2. Cyber Patrol, The CyberNOT Oversight Committee.

3. GLAAD Press Release, posted on Cyber Patrol's website," GLAAD to be Part of Committee to Oversee Cyber Patrol."

4. GLAAD Press Release," GLAAD and GLSEN Condemn Internet Filtering Software Legislation"

5. GLAAD,"Access Denied", Sec. 6a.

6. Maranatha Christian Journal, "Christian Groups Blocked By Filtering Software."

7. The White House,"Remarks by the President to the 52nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly"

Written 11/01/98

 


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