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ISP Webilant Web Content Filter

Web content filtering server appliance and server clusters

Server-side web content filter provides a balance of Freedom and Safety on the Internet.

Webilant \Web'i*lant\, n. [Compound word: World-Wide-Web + vigilant fr L. vigilare to watch, Attentive to discover and avoid danger, or to provide for safety.] A server-based web content filtering / blocking device by ISP Ltd. that blocks web sites based on the morals of the Holy Bible.

Target Audience

ISPs who see the need for a child-safe, family-oriented, and/or God-honouring service — whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, we all share a common goal in this regard. When

Businesses who want to eliminate distracting web sites from their employees' work day. For example, when searching for products or services the results are peppered with web sites that are nothing but advertising or are selling something completely unrelated. Some search terms will bring up news articles or offensive web sites that may draw-in the curious. Webilant will block those sites, thereby reducing time wasted and/or removing a potential distraction.

With the Webilant parents can feel less anxious about their children doing research on the Internet. Corporate H.R. departments can reduce the task of policing employee Internet use, and employees can be relieved of the stress of using the Internet since these days an innocent search with the 'wrong' search terms can yield unexpected and unwanted results.

Business Opportunity

The world is full of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who all offer the same dial-up and high-speed Internet service. As business owners, we all seek a way for our business to distinguish itself from the rest: by location, price, or a superior or unique product or service.

Taking a stand on morality can be difficult because of the criticism one may receive in the community, since taking a stand for what is right is always opposed by those who would rather hide in the dark. There may also be a potential loss of revenue if your service is pre-existing, but for a new Internet service this would not be an issue.

However, the opportunity is clearly waiting to be siezed. When a family wants an Internet service that filters content, where do they turn? When a family or business wants the benefits of web content filtering but does not want to research, license, install, and maintain software on all of their computers, who has a solution for them? Perhaps you will.

How does it work?

ISP Ltd. Webilant

The Webilant eliminates offensive web sites at the server which controls the access to the Internet. This way there is no software to install on each person's computer nor settings to perform, and no simple way to defeat the filter.

Webilant uses the Linux operating system and Squid proxy server, combined with our content filtering rules, to provide a fast, economical, secure, and flexible web content filtering solution. For servers that ISP Ltd. provides, we optimise all of the software for the target server. You can also use any server of your choice with any flavour of Linux that you prefer.

Governments see the need

More and more world governments, universities, and private groups are endorsing, implementing, or calling for the implementation of content filtering such as this, especially for children but also for the mental health of all of society. The governments of Yemen, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, China, Thailand, Singapore, and the UAE are a few of the ones which have mandated content filtering at the national level. In the USA, libraries and schools are required to filter Internet content under the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

The outcry from the public for governments to do something about Internet pornography is growing in intensity around the globe. In the April 2006 on-line edition of the Scotsman are the following headlines:

  • "50,000 add their names to move to ban violent porn"
  • "Perverted Internet porn to be banned"
  • "Action pledged on downloading abusive porn"
  • "Crackdown on Internet sites glamorising sexual violence"

Business acknowledges the need

As reported in a Sept. 2002 Reuters news article, abuse of e-mail and the Internet, including the downloading of pornography, has overtaken theft of office supplies and lying to the boss as the top disciplinary action reported in the workplace. More disciplinary cases have been brought against employees for violating company e-mail and Internet policies than for acts of dishonesty, violence or health and safety breaches, according to a survey by KLegal, a law firm associated with global accounting group KPMG, and Personnel Magazine.

The Computer Security Institute stated in their Computer Crime and Security Survey 2002 that among 503 companies surveyed, 78 percent detected employee abuse of Internet access privileges (for example, downloading pornography or pirated software, or inappropriate use of e-mail systems).

Christians suffer amidst the great need

Christians everywhere are bombarded with subtle persecution by being forced to accept principles which are contrary to God's commands such as homosexuality, adultery, lying, stealing, prostitution, disrespect of parents, disrespect of God, and so forth. The ISP Family Fitler serves to ease the burden of our Christian brothers and sisters in their use of the Internet.

If our content filter were based on the opinion of a group of people, such as our company, then we would naturally end up making politically-motivated decisions based on our personal biases. For example, in a product review one content filtering company was found to have placed their competition in their content filter.

Our content filtering rules are based on the ethics laid out in the Holy Bible, a commonly available guide that remains constant, with the aim being to restrict viewing of material that would psychologically and/or spiritually damage a child or adult. Thus, viewing pornography is blocked because it can psychologically harm a child and it can also damage an adult couple's relationship, whereas viewing information on the Islamic religion is not blocked because even though it is not Christian it is educational and not psychologically damaging to read about it.

Server-side versus Client-side blocking

By blocking sites at the server, rather than on the individual's computer, your subscribers don't need to make any changes to their computers nor worry about any of the problems or inadequacies associated with client-side blocking.

Usually at least once per day the content filter rules are updated (except for Sundays and holidays). The update happens without interruption to subscribers' Internet service. When the core filtering engine software is updated once or twice per year, this is done in the middle of the night with no more than a few minutes' interruption to subscribers' Internet service. Thus, subscribers always have the use of the latest and most up-to-date filtering software and rules without any need to update their own computers — it just works.

Compare this approach of the ISP Webilant to content filters which operate on the user's computer: Windows-based filter software is relatively easy to disable (accidentally or intentionally), may not be updated regularly, some require annual license fees, and they must be installed on every computer that uses the Internet rather than a central machine.

The ISP Webilant runs at the ISP so it cannot be disabled, is updated every day, and automatically blocks offensive sites before the even have the chance to reach the subscriber's computer.

The Intelligence of the ISP Webilant

From its start in 2000, Webilant has been designed to be a multi-stage filter operating at the level of firewall, DNS, and routing which is scalable from a single server to a cluster of servers to handle dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of users.

The ISP Webilant contains hundreds of thousands of web server addresses, DNS server addresses, domain names, and pattern matching rules which are applied to all web content as it is requested. Our filter is sufficiently advanced that it will block the majority of newly published offensive sites before anyone is even aware they exist.

Another advanced feature of our content filter is the ability to display partial content. Some sites contain a mix of acceptable and unacceptable material. Such sites will often begin loading, allowing the visitor to read the text, and only the offensive advertisements or other graphics will be trapped and blocked.

The ISP Webilant allows medical research and educational sites through while stopping even deceptively marketed evil sites in their tracks. Have you yet received a software or insurance-quote e-mail that leads to a pornographic web site? We have, and no doubt thousands of young adults and teenagers who do not have the benefit of content filtering have seen them as well. We observe and learn from these unscruplous marketers in an on-going effort to make our content filter more effective.

Our content filter is not easily circumvented by proxying techniques that fool other filters, and it cannot be disabled on the subscriber's computer. The ISP Webilant is a powerful guardian at the gate of the Internet upon whom you and your subscribers may relay — whether businesses seeking improved productivity or families seeking protection for children.

Why Webilant rather than SonicWall, Barracuda, or... ?

Ease of use: No endless menu items, dozens of reports you don't need, and layers of options. Just a straightforward set of rules for each category that you can maintain yourself or use our update service. One report that gives you a summary of activity.

A solid foundation: Who decides which web sites to block and which to allow? We rely on the morals outlined in the Bible, which are clear and unchanging.

A superiod end-user interface: Some appliances just inform the user that the site is blocked: a blue or red screen with little information. The user has no option but to press the Back Arrow on his browser. Webilant offers a friendly screen of information, the look of which you can customise for your organisation. On that screen is a form where a person can report an erroneous block and they can optionally include their e-mail address to be notified when the block has been removed. The report of the false block can go to ISP Ltd and we will investigate, and/or you can have the e-mail go to an administrator at your site.

Cost: Instead of paying for a specialty appliance, our software lets you use a low-cost server of your choice that can be upgraded as you like and at any time you like. Instead of a proprietary software package we give you the free, open-source, and most secure Linux operating system and software, which can be upgraded and modified as you wish with only the labour cost of your server administrator (i.e., the same labour cost you'd have with any of the other options but without the software cost). For a server-based solution like ours you could easily spend $10,000 to $30,000+ more than it will cost to implement Webilant.

Do people want content filtering?

Indeed they do. Here are some bits of information from the Pew Internet & American Life Project as well as some other Internet research articles to inform you further on the matter:

  • 53% of parents used monitoring or filtering software for children, 62% of parents check to see what web sites their children visit, and 62% believe that most teenagers do things online that they would not want their parents to know about. (Survey) (Report)
  • "The number of teenagers using the internet has grown 24% in the past four years and 87% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 are online." (article)
  • "Some 92% of Americans say they are concerned about child pornography on the Internet and 50% of Americans cite child porn as the single most heinous crime that takes place online."(PDF report)
  • "64% of wired Americans have used the Internet for spiritual or religious purposes."(article)
  • "Protecting Teens Online: More than half of American families with teenagers use filters to limit access to potentially harmful content online. But both teens and parents believe that teens do things on the internet that their parents would not approve of."(article)
  • The Internet and the Family 2000: A study by the Public Policy Group of the University of Pennsylvania
ISP Webilant

Content filtering is an immediate and urgent need in society. The USA enacted the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in December 2000, requiring schools and libraries to install content filtering to protect children. Twenty years from now, by the time the evidence is a clear and present danger, will be too late. Society is depending on ISPs to act now on behalf of our children.

What does it cost?

The software is free. You will need a dedicated Linux server that will be the Internet gateway for your organisation. If you are a very small or very large organisation that wants to do it yourself, we are happy to just provide the software. For those in the middle, we would be pleased to help with the server, installation, or any other aspect of the implementation.

The free software will eventually be posted on the ISP HowTo site along with instructions for installation. Until that project is completed, you can contact us for a copy. Daily updates to the filter list are provided on a negotiable sliding-scale based on the number of people who will be using the filter.