Two Haifa software developers claim to have invented an electronic filter that will protect surfers from Internet lewdness. Called Puresight, the system uses artificial intelligence to see through the ruses employed by Internet pornographers to attract unsuspecting browsers.

Conventional Internet filters like NetNanny and Cyberpatrol can be used to block out obscenity and nudity, or any other subject determined by the user. But they're easy to bypass, by users who can sabotage the software or determined smut-sellers who can foil the filters with creative spelling.

For example, a filter that targets keywords can be tricked if "sex" is replaced by "seks." In addition, many words that are perfectly innocent most of the time are blocked because of possible obscene connotations: Medical sites like those dealing with breast cancer prevention, for instance, would be off-limits.

Another class of filter, that thwarts entry into a programmed "stoplist" of objectionable sites, has its own limitation: It cannot keep up with the constant proliferation of porn Web venues. An additional Israeli problem: No conventional filter can fathom Hebrew.

Enter Haifa-based Genie Ltd.'s Puresight, designed by Technion students Netta Mendelson and Ro'I Cohen. Mendelson and Cohen built a program that visited 400 sites and "learned" the parameters of the HTML language used in building porn Web pages. They then tested their software on 20,000 other sites, including Hebrew ones - and, they say, blocked out the porn more than 99% of the time.

The programmers are confident that their software is more secure than anything else on the market. "No program is foolproof," Mendelson says, "but a kid who could crack Puresight would be considered very gifted." - by Erik Schechter.

For more information, contact: The Technion, Public Relations Office, Tel: 972-4-823-5193 Fax: 972-4-823-5195.

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