Mattel Caught Censoringgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Tue Apr 25, 12:33 am
Hacker causes headache for Mattel's Cyber Patrol
A Canadian hacker has caused a headache for toymaking giant Mattel. Matthew Skala hacked his way into Mattel's internet-blocking software called "Cyber Patrol."
The program is designed to protect children from perils on the internet; Skala found out it does more than that.
He says he wanted to find out what the product actually blocks, not to cause trouble for the company. The software is supposed to block things like pornography. It also blocks anti-nuclear sites, home journalism sites, news sites, and even cbc.ca
Skala wanted to know how Mattel chooses which sites go onto the program's internal list of 'bad' web sites. Mattel won't say how it chooses its sites, and it sued Skala for publishing what he found on the list.
Skala also designed a program to get around Cyber Patrol, and published that on the internet as well. Mattel got a court order to remove Skala's findings from the web.
Mattel also revised its list of 'bad' web pages to block out web sites critical of Cyber Patrol and Mattel.
This action caused outrage in the on-line community. It also spawned many new sites critical of Mattel and broadcasting Skala's material. Mattel is now threatening to take these sites to court.
Skala settled with Mattel, selling the company the rights to his program that circumvents Cyber Patrol, for a dollar. He says he made his point, bringing attention to Cyber Patrol's flaws.
"Here sitting at my computer I was able to actually do something that really was quite important and caused a lot of thinking by a lot of people."
Partly as a result of all the controversy, Mattel's money-losing software division, Mattel Interactive, is now up for sale.
-- viewer (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2000
The naked face of totalitarianism...funny how they ALWAYS know what's best for us.
-- Boycott (Mattel@Now.com), April 25, 2000.
Mattel is/has been a major military supplier for many years. Keep that in mind.
-- Yeah Right (Ahhhh@haaa.haaa.haaa), April 25, 2000.