Why CYBERsitter was criticized for blocking Peacefire.org

There are still several articles on the Web about CYBERsitter's decision to put Peacefire.org on their list of "pornographic" Web sites in December 1996. (See, for example, "CYBERsitter Goes after Teen", from Wired News.)

Reading these articles today, many people are surprised that the decision would have caused so much controversy, since we currently have a program on our Web site for disabling CYBERsitter. Obviously, users would expect CYBERsitter to block any site that contained instructions for disabling the blocking program. Some readers have commented that these articles are evidence of the media's "liberal bias".

Actually, our site did not have instructions for disabling CYBERsitter until October 1998. Prior to that, the only material on our site about CYBERsitter was a page listing Web sites, words, and phrases that we had discovered to be on CYBERsitter's "bad" list. That was why, at the time, most observers believed that CYBERsitter's decision to block this site reflected badly on the company's objectivity.