- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2001

ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK Internet filtering software generally fails to block one out of every five sites deemed objectionable, Consumer Reports magazine says in its March issue.
"Many parents continue to buy these products, possibly under the impression that their children are perfectly safe," senior editor Jeff Fox said. "Our results suggest they should not rely solely on filtering software to be a baby-sitter."
Using lists of 139 sites known to contain questionable or objectionable materials, reviewers at Consumer Reports tested six software packages along with parental-control features available to America Online subscribers.
They rated the filters' abilities to protect children from "objectionable material," including sexual content and the promotion of crime, bigotry, violence, tobacco and drugs.
Consumer Reports found AOL's Young Teen settings "pretty effective," failing to block 14 percent of objectionable sites, but those settings also blocked 63 percent of legitimate sites because the filters allow access only to a preapproved list.
AOL's Mature Teen settings do not rely on a preapproved list and instead block sites on a prohibited list. Consumer Reports found the filters let 30 percent of objectionable sites through.
Consumer Reports said Cyber Snoop and Net Nanny offered poor protection, while Cyber Patrol, Cybersitter 2000, Internet Guard Dog and Norton Internet Security 2001 had fair or good protection.


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