SurfControl Reports Unprecedented Growth in Hate and Violence Sites During First Four Months of 2004

Hate and Violence Sites Increase 26% Since January, Nearly 300% in Four Years

PRNewswire/May 5, 2004

Scotts Valley, Calif. -- Web sites promoting hate against Americans, Muslims, Jews, homosexuals and African-Americans, as well as graphic violence have grown 26 percent since January, nearly surpassing the growth in all of 2003, SurfControl's Global Content Team reported today. The number of hate and violence sites has almost quadrupled in four years, according to company statistics.

The team of researchers based in fifteen countries, monitors Web developments and maintains one of the world's largest databases of categorized Internet content. This database, combined with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and advanced filtering techniques, makes SurfControl's (London: SRF) Web and e-mail content filtering software the leading choice for enterprises worldwide.

SurfControl reported hate and violence sites that they monitor increased from 2,756 in 2000 to 10,926 in April 2004, an increase of about 300 percent.

Hate and violence grew 30 percent in 2003, but in just the first four months of 2004, the number already has grown 26 percent, from 8,667 to 10,926. In addition, existing sites that were already being monitored by SurfControl have expanded in shocking or curious ways. Some sites carry graphic photos of dead and mutilated human beings. One white supremacist site has initiated a dating page for single white supremacists seeking a mate, as well as a page offering a $1,000 scholarship to the young white racist writing the best essay of "actionable, practical solutions" to dealing with anyone who is not white.

"We've begun to see a convergence of sites promoting violence and those advocating hate," said Susan Larson, SurfControl's vice president for global content. "We monitor Web sites, tracking as they go from merely expressing strong opinions to using the language of hate, or as they cross the line from advocating hate to barely veiled threats of violence."

Larson said that topical events, like the well-publicized banning of gay marriages or the opening of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" have caused a spike in the number of political or religious sites espousing extremist viewpoints. For example, some new sites use the Gibson movie as a launching pad to express hatred of non-Christian religious groups. One site depicts the incident of a brutally slain homosexual as morally justifiable, while another anti-Semitic site targets national political figures, including President George W. Bush, as so-called "Jewish Mafia."

"These sites seem to reflect a growing tolerance for anti-social behavior and a polarization of religious and political public opinion that attracts certain elements of the U.S. population who share a fascination with extremist views," she said.

SurfControl announced the results of its research shortly after the FBI announced that it was stepping up its monitoring of Web hate group sites following the conviction of a white supremacist on charges he sought to have a judge murdered. The FBI's Richard K. Ruminski, a special agent in charge of counterterrorism investigations, said federal officials won't tolerate sites that "cross the line" to advocate violence.

Larson noted a trend that there are more American religious sites advocating hate and militant Islamic sites depicting violence since the attacks of 9/11. Some new sites revise the history of 9/11, much like the religious sites that engage in Holocaust denial, and question the truth of the Nazi slaughter of the Jews.

"In this sort of climate online, it becomes more important than ever for employers to manage Web access," Larson said. Web filtering technologies can substantially reduce the liability, security and network performance issues that come with inappropriate Web surfing at work. Larson also urged IT managers to work closely with human resources staff to take a proactive approach to identifying risks.

SurfControl Web Filter maximizes resources, reduces the risks involved in Internet access and enables corporations to customize access based on employees' business information needs. Customers have access to a database of more than 6 million sites in 40 well-organized categories and in more than 65 languages. The SurfControl Content Database, the industry's premier database, provides extensive coverage of the most widely accessed sites on the Internet, and is organized into categories that are easy to manage. Content is kept current with a combination of expert human review, state-of-the-art automated tools and customer submissions. Granular rules allow an organization's Acceptable Use Policy to be implemented quickly. Easy to read reports outline employee Internet usage in convenient formats.

About SurfControl

SurfControl plc, the world's number one Web and e-mail filtering company, delivers on its promise to help companies 'Stop Unwanted Content' in the workplace by continuous innovation, invention and expansion of its filtering products to address new content risks as they emerge. The company is the leader in the Content Security market, which analysts expect to reach nearly $2 billion by 2007.

SurfControl is the only company in the security market offering a total content security solution that combines Web, E-mail (including Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus) and Instant Message Filters with the industry's largest, most accurate and relevant content database and adaptive reasoning tools to automate content recognition.

SurfControl's world-class partners include Cisco, Check Point, IBM, Research In Motion and Nokia. The company has more than 20,000 customers worldwide, including many of the world's largest corporations, and employs more than 450 people in nine separate locations across the United States, Europe and Asia/Pacific.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.