Certain Western aid agency blocks the PRRN blog

Posted: October 25, 2010 by Rex Brynen in not-so-serious

Well, first we were blocked from Facebook. Now we’ve learned that the PRRN blog is being blocked by the IT system at a certain unnamed Western aid agency. Apparently their filtering software  blocks websites containing “inappropriate images, hate propaganda, gaming software, malicious software and contacts to terrorist organizations.” I’m not quite sure which category the blog falls into.

In fairness, I’m sure that the filters are automated, and simply calculate a threat index based on URL (WordPress) and particularly dangerous keywords that frequently appear on the website concerned (“refugee,” “peace,” “development,” “dialogue,” that sort of thing). Given that  it probably wasn’t done deliberately, I won’t mention the aid agency concerned—after all, I’m sure that at this very moment their IT staff have taken a break from discussing the Habs’ crushing 3-0 defeat of the Senators on Saturday to fix the problem, fuelled by ubiquitous cups of Tim Hortons coffee.

However, there’s a larger issue here—how can an aid agency possibly undertake conflict-sensitive development around the world if its staff are blocked from accessing websites that might contain references to conflict?

(Pssst, IT folks: while you’ve blocked us, apparently online Solitaire is still accessible.)

  1. Carl Prine says:

    I thought the FB issue had been resolved.

  2. Rex Brynen says:

    Facebook was resolved. The CID… oops, “unnamed Western aid agency” filter hasn’t been resolved yet, since it appears to be the case that federal civil servants need to be protected from scary websites.

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