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Herdict Is Documenting Internet Filtering And Censorship

Posted Mar 03 2009 2:18pm
The idea behind Herdict (still in Beta) is to document internet filtering and censorship in different countries by letting people report when a URL is inaccessible in their country.

The Verdict of the Herd is so important to the implementation of all web technologies in schools. Using Herdict behind school firewalls we will explore and consistently report what sites are blocked. The project of the Berkman Center, is focused on worldwide censorship but we also can use it here in the States. Nobody knows what sites are being blocked across the country, how much political speech is being blocked, and how national security is working.

The team behind Herdict is meant to collect reports of URLs that are blocked and investigate to confirm. The hope is to provide a much more accurate and up-to-date picture of internet censorship than the current efforts, which involve testing websites once a year.

Tom Hoffman from Tuttle SVC has been testing Herdict and this is what he found, so far: "It looks like some legitimate 404-File Not Found's, that is, where the site is not blocked but someone is looking for a file that isn't there, are being counted as blocked sites. Also, since getting on their list of sites to check will make a lot of people see your url, try it, etc., there is an incentive to spam your site onto the check list."

Shep the Sheep also introduces Herdict at dot SUB in different languages. Please spread word about the cute white sheep!

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