Conversations with Websense

Regarding my previous posting, here’s a the exchange that went down last night, edited for HTML and to remove excessive inclusion of old text.

For some reason, the word arbitrary is stuck in my head, but I can’t fault the speed of their (admittedly faintly impersonal-feeling) response, or their apparent willingness to accomodate my (erm) attitude.

The below definitely does drive home a requirement to demand complete clarity regarding Websense’s position, since just because a “website” is categorised in one matter does not apparently mean that they change classifications for other sub-directories.

Perhaps more people should contact them requesting justification when such blocks are encountered?

Note also, the apparent Power of Google!

Response 1:

From: databasechange@websense.com
Subject: RE: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 00:50:08 GMT
To: alecm@…

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Websense.

The site you submitted has been reviewed. We have changed the categorization for http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/ to Personal Websites. The update should be available in the next publication of the database.

Thank you for your assistance.

The Websense Database Services Staff

Challenge 2:

From: alecm@…
Subject: Re: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 00:51:51 GMT
To: databasechange@websense.com

Thank you for your assistance.

Thank you for your prompt response; will that also apply to all other subdirectories, please?

-alec

Response 2:

From: databasechange@websense.com
Subject: RE: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 01:01:34 GMT
To: alecm@…

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Websense.

We have also classified http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/download/ under the category Freeware/Software Download and http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/ under Hacking. All other subdirectories should be correctly filtered under Personal Websites.

Thank you for your inquiry,

The Websense Database Services Staff

Challenge 3:

From: alecm@…
Subject: Re: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 01:14:01 GMT
To: databasechange@websense.com

Hello again! Thank you once more for your prompt response to my last mail.

We have also classified http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/download/ under the category Freeware/Software Download and http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/ under Hacking. All other subdirectories should be correctly filtered under Personal Websites.

Putting “www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/” under “Hacking”? As opposed to “Security”?

Given that the software therein is all academically/educationally oriented, including what is considered the world’s defacto Unix Password Integrity tester, as evidenced by many of the links in the following:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=alec+muffett&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Search

…although some better software does now exist, I would appreciate it if you could kindly explain why it is that you would justify describing that directory’s content as “Hacking” as opposed to “IT Security”?

Such would be of great interest to myself, in both professional and academic capacities.

Many thanks,

– alec

Response 3:

From: databasechange@websense.com
Subject: RE: Suggest a Change to the Websense URL Database
Date: 14 December 2004 02:25:58 GMT
To: alecm@…

Hello,

Thank you for writing to Websense.

We have changed the categorization for http://www.crypticide.com/users/alecm/security/ to Freeware/Software Downloads. The update should be available in the next publication of the database.

Thank you for your assistance.

The Websense Database Services Staff

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