A block that prevented American Airlines customers from accessing WorldNetDaily.com, the Internet’s leading independent news site, from its Admirals Club locations for reasons of “hate” and “violence” has been lifted, officials have confirmed.
“What we have not been able to determine is why it would have been blocked,” an airline spokesman, who asked that his name not be used, told WND. “That’s more of an answer that ContentWatch would have to provide.”
When the issue arose this week, American Airline officials said the block probably was because of a filter applied to the public access computers it provides in order to protect families from offensive websites.
The spokesman identified that company as ContentWatch, a Salt Lake City company.
Multiple WND messages left with that company were not returned. It describes itself as a private company with a leadership team with “over 120 years of executive technology management experience in companies such as Franklin Covey, Novell, WordPerfect, SonicWall, MyFamily.com, IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett Packard/Compaq, FBI, Verizon, Ticketmasters.com, LDS Church, Bain Capital, Honeywell, and more.”
Snapshot of American Airlines’ Admirals Club showing WND blocked for ‘hate speech’
The Admirals Club spokesman said American Airlines officials were surprised that the problem developed, but access to WND.com had been spot-checked across the Admirals Club system, and it was available.
The blockage, with the reference to the “hate” and “violence” on the WND site, came up recently for a WND reader using the Admirals Club facilities in Dallas-Forth Worth. That reader, an IT professional, noted having a filter block a legitimate website is not an unknown problem.
“The real interest here may be not in American Airlines but in the software vendor – ContentWatch Inc. … I am curious to know if they were behind the previous ‘hate speech’ incident,” the reader told WND.
A series of e-mails generated by the Admirals Club customer service division also confirmed the availability to WND readers. A first e-mail confirmed that the concern had been received.
“We are in receipt of your e-mail/correspondence concerning the content filtering software… Our software, Content Watch, is programmed to block websites that contain content in one of four categories: pornography, hate/violence, gaming and gambling. As a private club frequented by many members traveling with families, we have an obligation to ensure that our members and their children are not exposed to inappropriate adult content,” the message said.
“We understand that some content, links, and information within a site may result in it being blocked by the filtering software even when the site does not fall within the aforementioned categories. We have a process in place to review these sites…”
A followup sent only a short time later confirmed, “The WND.com website will be active again this afternoon. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.”
The e-mails were signed by Kim Willis, of the airline’s Premium Services division.
A second blocking situation also was reported by an employee at the federal government’s Hanford Site, where plutonium for nuclear weapons previously was processed. The site now is being cleaned up from four decades of Cold War weapons work.
Screen snapshot from Hanford computer, showing WND blocked
“This is to let you know as of 04/24/2007 I can no longer access WND from the Department of Energy’s Hanford site,” the reader said. “I had access on 04/23/2007, but no longer.”
The reader sent a webscreen snapshot of the blockade message.
Eric Olds, a spokesman for the Department of Energy site, told WND that WND was, in fact, available on site computers, although it could have been blocked temporarily.
“I can tell you I actually tried two or three times and had no problem getting to this site,” he said. “I’ve had stuff blocked before by our own firewall. There are sites with content that employees should not be looking at and those do get blocked.”
As a federal facility, he said, computer access probably is more restricted than at some other locations.
A third complaint, from a WND reader who reported that his SurfControl, Inc., filters had labeled WND.com as “Adult/Sexually explicit,” was resolved quickly.
Susan Larson, vice president for the Scotts Valley, Calif., company, said such issues develop when servers are maintained, and site files are moved from one to another.
She said the WorldNetDaily.com location remained open, but the WND.com address had been blocked in what probably was a recent reconfiguration. “There are, probably, on that server with WND.com, mixed sites,” she said.
In such situations, her company unblocks the non-offending address, and that becomes available to consumers on the Internet within about 48 hours, she said.
It was in just the past few weeks WND finally resolved a blocking situation involving the military provider that makes Internet services available to U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine bases worldwide.
The blocking from military bases was confirmed by a contractor that runs much of the Internet service functions for the U.S. Marine Corp and the U.S. Navy.
Barbara Mendoza of EDS marketing strategy and communications told WND her company runs the Navy Marine Corps Internet, servicing bases in those two military branches. But after checking, she reported her system was not responsible for the trouble that prompted a flood of military service member contacts with WND about why they are not able to access the site.
She identified the block as being in the Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command government website.
The U.S. Navy had launched an investigation into the issue of blocking WND’s site several weeks earlier at WND’s request because of a flood of e-mails from readers who saw various messages that the site was being blocked.
It eventually was determined that an undefined “security” issue between the web-hosting location that WND uses and the Navy computer existed, and later was resolved.
WND readers have told the news site that the Navy and Marine blocking problem might have dated back as long as four years.
Ironically, for the past 10 years WorldNetDaily has been immensely popular among U.S. military personnel, with countless service people both stateside and abroad emailing WND insider news tips, concerns and notes of appreciation. Indeed, from recent stories like the dismissal of Navy Chaplain James Klingenschmitt for unauthorized praying all the way back to one of the defining issues of the 2000 presidential election – the suppression of the military vote and the subsequent court-ordered recount of Florida’s military votes – WND has taken the lead on stories important to the U.S. military.
WND, a fiercely independent news site, was launched 10 years ago by Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, and for more than 100 weeks in a row was listed as the No. 1 most popular website in the world by Global 100.
Earlier this year, Internet audience ratings service comScore Media Metrix said WND’s traffic growth was No. 1 among all political news sources and No. 2 among all sites related to politics in any way.
WND’s traffic increased 54 percent in January, according to the report, which said WND attracted more visitors in the month than the websites of any of the presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
WND has also been consistently ranked by several major Internet ratings agencies as the “stickiest” news site on the Internet – meaning readers average more time on it than any other.
By WND’s own traffic counts, the site attracts about 6 million “unique visitors” (meaning different people) every month. It attracts between 50 million and 60 million pageviews per month.