Anti-porn lock freezes horny browsers

A UK company is claiming to offer employers the world's first safeguard that blocks staff viewing pornography in dominant or alternative Web browsers, regardless of its origin.

Guardware says its iShield and ScreenShield Enterprise detects, monitors and blocks illicit images from being displayed on computers running Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape or IE.

Unlike most filter systems which rely on URL logging, the software employs a colour and image analysis engine that processes the image's shape, texture, skin tone and colour to decide upon its content.

Neural network technology then uses the results of the image analysis and the text on the screen to decide if an image is offensive.

iShield does log URLs of any pages it has deemed pornographic, and continues protecting by analysing each Web page as it is loaded by finding explicit images and blocking them.

The software claims to eliminate porn in the workplace whether it surfaces via the Web, DVDs, e-mail, CDs or floppy disks.

Its settings can be adjusted, so administrators can later review the event (as it is automatically recorded in a log file) while they can also arrange a non-pornographic image to supersede the pornographic one.

Tweaking the software reveals three modes. In Active Warn a message box pops-up when porn is detected to warn the user they are being monitored.

In Passive Mode, the images are recorded but no action is taken to alert the user or block the image.

Active Block however means administrators can emblazon the company logo on a user's PC screen every time they view sex images via the browser.

Designed for the business world, the enterprise version of iShield lets administrators freeze the user's computer screen, empowering them to identify the culprit before unlocking.

Guardware says the software is available for home use, but identifies schools, hospitals, organisations and even churches as its primary market.

It is calling on companies to insist on high levels of conduct, reduce exposure to sexual harassment litigation and put a stop to low user productivity 'caused by viewing porn in the workplace,'

IDC estimates half of all workers have accessed X-rated websites at work. Given the mediocre levels of detection rates among porn filters, especially for alternative browsers, companies are sure to embrace what's tipped as a 'fail-safe' deterrent for corporate voyeurs.

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