To lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason.  To move or go in a mean, stealthy manner.
ISSN: 1527-814X Thursday October 5, 2000

WebSkulker Newsletter
We're gonna change the way we run.
We're gonna change the way we block.
We're gonna change the way we skulk.

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To use the links in this newsletter, you must be connected to the Internet.  PC Eudora users: to see this and other html mail properly you must check the box "Use Microsoft's Viewer" in the "Viewing Mail" options.

Skulking through past issues

This site has digitized versions of many of the Alexander Graham Bell papers stored at the Library of Congress.  WebSkulker mentioned this in the 10/14/99 issue and it is worth mentioning again because the site has recently been expanded with more documents.


WebSkulker often gets ideas for web sites that depend on unusual domain names.  Since name registrations are so cheap nowadays, he often goes so far as to register the names and then gets bored with them and doesn't actually build the web sites.  But he does enjoy the hobby of figuring out these clever names and registering them.

WebSkulker often comes up with these names while in restaurants or other places without access to an Internet connection to do the registration.  But he has his trusty cell phone with a web-browser for accessing WAP-enabled web sites.  At last there is a discount registry with a WAP interface so he can register domain names right there in the restaurant without taking the incredible risk that someone else will register it by the time he gets home!  DirectNic is easy to use from a cell phone's browser because you create an account at their regular web site first so it knows all the information about you including your credit card number.  From the cell phone, all you need to do is enter the domain name, log in with your userid and password, and place the order.

Note that the DirectNic web site doesn't mention WAP yet, but they sent out a press release about it and it seems to work.  From your WAP phone, go to the regular and a script will detect that you are on a phone and redirect you to the WAP version.

DirectNic looks good for regular registrations as well.  They charge $15 per year, slightly more than and other discount ones, but they include additional services such as email forwarding and redirection to a web site you already own.


Our 6/19/00 issue mentioned a new free service from called the "Pagoo Internet Phone Number".  WebSkulker expected Pagoo to start charging for this at some point, but they sent out email saying they were going to drop the service as of tomorrow, 10/6/00.


Jr. skulkers with Palm Pilots, or better yet who have friends with Palm Pilots, should go to the first link above for instructions on how to crack the password used in a Palm to keep private information private.  The second and third links let you download the programs mentioned in the article.

-------   1-800-44-ANITA   1-888-38-AUDIO   1-800-MAPQUEST (627-7837)

These are three more systems where you register and set up preferences on the web site, then use the service by dialing the toll-free number and get information via speech input and output.

Skulking around campaign contributions

The first link,, is "A place to discover who gave what to which Federal candidates when" and they mean it.  For example, the second link is their search form by zip code.  Enter a zip code and an election year to see the real names of the people in that zip code who donated to candidates and details of the donations.  Enter a person's name at the third link (last-name, a comma, one space, then first-name) to see all donations by that person.  (Try "Gates, William")  There are many other search forms and summary tables in a yellow box at the left of the home page titled "FECInfo Database Queries."

All of this information comes from filings with the Federal Election Commission.  The fourth link appears to be run by the FEC itself and lets you search for similar information.

A skulker hidden in your notebook

StealthSignal charges $39 per year (with quantity discounts for corporations) for software and a monitoring service to help recover your notebook computer if it is lost or stolen.  WebSkulker doesn't expect many of you to purchase this service, but all jr. skulkers should be interested in how it works:

"A small undetectable program (Stealth Signal Agent) is installed in your computer. This program silently tries to send a signal [over an Internet connection if it finds the notebook connected] to our Monitoring Network at random times without affecting your computer's normal operations. When our Monitoring Network receives a signal from the Stealth Signal agent, the unit identification and the time are stored in our activity database. The activity records can be accessed online by login in to the Control Center at our web site , this information can only be browsed with a valid Stealth Signal account and password. 

If the computer is stolen or lost, the user must notify us by login in at our website and filling out the stolen or lost form. Once the proper form is submitted we will initiate the localization and recovery process. We will work with the local authorities, phone companies and Internet service providers in the localization and recovery of the lost or stolen computer."

For the female jr. skulkers

One of the authors of this page is a jr. skulker who wrote to us:  "Don't want to pat myself on the back too hard but I think it is a pretty funny site .. especially if you like computer jokes (I tried to keep the FUNNIEST ONES and include them on my site) and there is a TAD BIT of man bashing there. OK .. it is MOSTLY MAN BASHING .. some woman bashing .. and MUCH MORE. See for your self."

This made WebSkulker laugh (and ponder)

Submitted by Jr. Skulker Chris Gray

Winners of the Foil the Filters Contest

Thanks to all who submitted entries in the Foil the Filters Contest, including the many anonymous ones. We hope this contest will help illustrate how unreliable censorware is and provide further examples for those interested in exposing it. And of these examples, these are our favorites.... 

Grand Prize 

Joe J. reports being prevented from accessing his own high school's Web site from his own high school's library. Carroll High School adopted filtering software which blocked "all questionable material." This included the word "high." 


You wouldn't think someone named Hillary Anne would have censorware problems, but all attempts to register were rejected because censorware spotted the hidden word "aryan." Hillary says "I had to email and fight the system like crazy to actually be able to use my registered nickname again." 

** The Poetic Justice Award For those bitten by their own snake 


An anonymous submitter noticed that the Web site of Richard "Dick" Armey, Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives and a staunch defender of censorware and strict Internet regulation, is himself a victim of censorware. Netnanny, Surfwatch, Cybersitter, N2H2, and Wisechoice are among the "software solutions" which Armey advocates. All of them filter his site because it contains the word "dick." 

The conservative group Focus on the Family intends its anti-porn site Pure Intimacy to be a "resource for those struggling with sexual temptations" and the "psychological bondage" that is "a major reason why individuals go online." Jim K. observed that Cybersitter blocked this site for violating the following categories: porno, hardcoreporno, sexual, nudity, and, of course, bondage. 

**The Silicon Eye Award For finding objectionable content where only a computer would look 


Tim M. wanted to register an account with Sympatico, but it wouldn't accept the name "Heather," which contains the phrase "eat her." 

Honorable mentions 

John W. couldn't get to a test preparation site. The Navy's censorware blocked him from accessing the A+ Exam site was blocked because it's URL, contained the word "sex." John C. had the same problem with a biotechnology education site, 

An employee of Surplus Exchange complained that customer's always report being unable to access the site. The non-profit company recycles office equipment, and, in this whistleblower's words, the employees have "nothing to do with sex." Maybe censorware is not their biggest problem. 

One of Kelly D's Australian high school students had difficulty completing a report on the genetics of cucumbers. The education department had chosen to use NetNanny, and when it detected the word "cum" in "cucumbers," the student had to complete the report offline. 

CyberPatrol kept stopping Paul J. from submitting his monthly reports. The subject of these reports was statistical software that "analyseS HITs," but the center letters kept coming back as Xs. 

Devon R. won't be seen on Microsoft Network's Messenger under the name of his favorite "high-tech cow." Censorware blocked his choice: "Gizmoo." 

We see a lot of problems like the Essex Company's insufferable problems getting their email to go through. According to C., their address domain,, rarely vaults other company's censorware, hurting profits and frustrating works. 

An anonymous submitter reported being unable to use a German word for "a kind of virtual coffee" at Hotmail: "muckefuck." 

Chris G., of Greece, has a client, Pissanos Productions. His attempts to register were dismissed by Network Solutions and many other services, resulting in "a large amount of money." Finally, he says, he found a service that didn't use a word filter. 

**Overkill Award For blocking even good words 


John exposed some strange filtering decisions at Quokka. The site blocks "golden," he says, "no doubt from its connection with showers." It also blocks "mate," "so Aussies and Kiwis can't use the term, which refers to a friend." 

Honorable mentions 

John W. plays multiplayer games at CyberStrike II, but CyberStrike II appears to be playing games with him. John noticed that the words "gay" and "sex" are blocked at the site but if he types "I am homosexual," "homo" is blocked and replaced with "&*#%." Saying "I am heterosexual" goes right through, though, "of course." 

Sergio is Canadian and, no surprise, a big hockey fan. All he wanted was the time his hockey game would start, but he couldn't access Statspro because the link,, contained the word "adult." 

Mike Q. and son have discovered that the auction areas at won't permit the word "bitchy" in the description area even though the item he was trying to sell used the word on the back cover. It was a book about Bette Davis, and many books are sold by Amazon which use this word, and others, in their titles. 

**The Sherril Babcock Award For enduring censorware's human implementors 


Sascha of Germany is Webmaster for Teendate, an international penpal site promoting communication and understanding among teenagers. When he tried to submit the site to, it was blocked as an adult-entry site. The Webmaster explained that "the word 'teen' would be reserved for adult sites." 

**The Twilight Zone Award For blocking which humans don't even understand 


Scott, a high school student in Australia, couldn't get past his school's censorware to complete a report on the Fibonacci sequence (the mathematical sequence in which each number in the series is the sum of the previous two). He suspects the word was blocked because the mathematical sequence is relevant to "the pattern of rabbit-breeding," but we don't buy it. 

Honorable mentions 

Trish M's company uses WorldSecure software which won't let her access the popular Web crawler search engine. The entire site is blocked for being "offensive." 

Jeff G.'s company wouldn't let him access a link to WebMonkey, a techie site, from's site. He's not holding his breath for an explanation. 

John found that the sailing forum at Quokka bans use of the word 'scoop'. This has everyone baffled. He asks "does it mean something that I haven't heard of'" "Scooping" is a new one to us, too, John. 

Chris found NetNanny was triggered by the word "rum." It "didn't block it per-say," he says, "but instead sent spaces in place of the 'rum' in a company FTP password. Disabling NetNanny solved the problem. A lesson for us all. 

**The Frolic Award For fun at censorware's expense 


Peacefire's Bennett Haselton takes the prize for his fun with Cybersitter. Bennett started with this phrase: "Gary Bauer is a staunch anti-homosexual conservative who sees the gay movement as absolutely pure fascism and thinks movies of men with men are the greatest terror." 

After Cybersitter's keen filters attacked it, here's what came out: "Gary Bauer is a staunch anti-conservative who sees the gay movement as absolutely pure and thinks movies of men with men are the greatest." 

**The Dick Sexton Award Named for one with a personal stake in censorware-for obvious reasons. This award honors those whose lives have been affected by filtering. 


Terry D. works for a company that secured a contract in that Yorkshire, England town, Scunthorpe. The IT manager had implemented a mail filter but wasn't aware that no one had been able to receive customer emails from this client for four days (the filter didn't generate logs). The manager was sacked. 

An anonymous submission blames the Gauntlet firewall for "prohibiting 300 lawyers from searching the Web for detailed dissections and commentary. The most frequently used word for such works is 'analysis,' and the first four letters of that word are blocked." 

Honorable mentions 

Manish Engineer and Dean Santamaria-Capetanelis deserve quick mentions for being blocked for non-censorware reasons. The former's name is often a "reserved" word which isn't permitted as a registration option.. The latter's last name is frequently blocked because, with 22 letters, its too long for many registration algorithms to accept. Online, look for him as just Santamaria-Cape. 

**The Puritan Award For outstanding achievement in hindering people from learning about their own bodies 


Altavista's "family filter". When activated on 9/26/00, Altavista's total number of returns for "sex" - a topic which includes areas of public health, mental health, safety, reproductive facts, contraception, animal biology, sexual dysfunction, law, history, prose, and poetry - totaled only 

**The "I saw the light" Award For committing censorware to the flames 


Not everyone stays committed to censorware. Mike maintains a former science teacher's Web site and built in a censorware mechanism with what he calls "the usual swear words." When a posting showed up on his site which spelled "class" as "cl***", he dumped the filtering software to the flames and hasn't used it since. 

Honorable mention 

You may know Matsushita better as the company that controls Panasonic. A "major mover," according to David B., but only after voicing his "outrage at the stupidity of the algorithm" did his IT department prevent the company from appearing in his newsgroups as MatsuXXXXa. 

**The Inspiration Award For reminding us what its all about 


Attributed to EPIC's Marc Rotenberg, and though we aren't sure if it it's a real case or not, it says it all and we couldn't pass it up. Thanks, Marc. 

"Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of sXXXch, or the right of the people peaceably to XXXemble, and to peXXXion the government for a redress of grievances."


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