May 10, 2001 6:20 PM PDT

Filtering company SurfControl gets patent

SurfControl, which produces Web and e-mail filters, said Thursday that it has been granted a U.S. patent for software that allows companies to block Web sites, despite the ire of online activists against such restrictions.

SurfControl spokeswoman Heather Cook said companies use the software to keep employees from personal Web surfing, which can help them manage bandwidth capacity and provide legal protections.

Many consumers and businesses use filters to prevent children and employees from accessing certain sites, such as those with sexual content. Yet some Internet users do not see filters--and patents for such technology--as positive developments and regard the movement toward Web regulation with skepticism.

"It's a silly superstition that you can be harmed by bare breasts and four-letter words," said Bennett Haselton, a Webmaster at, an organization against censorship on the Web.

Companies such as Internet security company Symantec have received patents for similar technology. SurfControl owns a second patent for similar software that it gained through the acquisition of SurfWatch, first announced in September 1999.

SurfControl won a patent for its "pass by" technology, which works from a standalone computer and "sniffs" Internet data before it hits a server. Cook said the company targets the corporate market with this technology, competing with rival Websense. It also provides "pass through" technology, which operates within an organization's server, that schools and parents use to keep children from reaching certain Web sites.

Despite objections to the software from privacy advocates, business is booming. SurfControl announced that third-quarter revenue grew to $27.3 million from $9.1 million last year.

Haselton said he believes people are unnecessarily concerned about content online, "but as long as people believe (they need filters), they will keep buying the software."


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Surf Control
Is there any way to get around Surf Control? At school I can't go on various websites for my projects and my teachers won't help. Please help me with my problem. I need something to help me; if it's a program I need it so it can run. Thank you.
Posted by ilikepizza421 (1 comment )
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Now, all those who say that censure ship is bad are plain fools. It is a fact that kids are indulging in activities that they shouldn't and this is not just killing them morally but also poisons their mind. Surely, at such a tender age, you can't reason with them and even if you did, your pleas would go unheard. About a month ago, acting on the advice of a friend, I installed Qustodio from Its free and based on content, it blocks sites automatically in real time, tracks data, and also monitors the activities kids engage in on social media sites. I am sure my kids and everyone else would try to uninstall or disable it but the application made it difficult, if not impossible. So regardless of what liberals say, such a software is a must in households with young kids.
Posted by alicedi79 (2 comments )
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