Ways to circumvent filters


An interesting Story from news.com on how cheating filters is getting one man in trouble.

Since age 17, Haselton has been publishing ways to circumvent filters and has exposed companies\' secret lists of blocked Web sites to show that many are neither pornographic nor offensive.

His latest target, Symantec subsidiary iGear, is a filtering program widely used in New York public schools. Haselton gained access to iGear\'s system and claims he found that many of the sites it bars are not, in fact, pornographic. But when he posted a link on his Web site to iGear\'s list of blocked sites, the company\'s lawyers sent a letter to his Internet service provider, saying that the link was infringing the company\'s copyrights.

\"I\'m not intimidated because I know what I did was legal,\" Haselton said yesterday. \"But I\'m a little surprised at their reaction.\"
The event could be a new chapter in an ongoing debate about the legality of code breaking, or \"reverse engineering.\" Civil libertarians maintain that cracking code to gain access to information constitutes fair use and does not amount to an unlawful act, but copyright holders believe otherwise.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act put some of these issues to rest when it passed in 1998. The act imposes safeguards for software, music and written works on the Net and outlaws technologies that can crack copyright-protection devices.

But the act does permit cracking devices to conduct encryption research for the purpose of interoperability and to test computer security systems.

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