Infobox Company
company_name = Websense Inc.
company_type = Web Security Gateway, Web filtering and Information Leak Prevention
foundation = 1994
location = San Diego, California
key_people = Phil Trubey, founder
area_served =
industry =
products =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
num_employees = 1,200
parent =
subsid =
homepage = http://www.websense.com/
footnotes =

Websense is a San Diego, California-based company which produces Web security gateway software, including Web filtering, also known as Internet content-control software of the same name, email security, and data loss prevention technology. The company's Information Leak Prevention software, technology the company acquired in January 2007 from PortAuthority Technologies, is market-leading according to analyst firms. While Websense is aimed at businesses and other large entities (such as governments, for their employees), it also sees use in libraries and schools. It has come under criticism from civil liberties groups on grounds that it restricts the free flow of speech. [ [http://peacefire.org/censorware/WebSENSE/ Peacefire WebSENSE Examined] ] The company was founded by Phil Trubey in 1994 cite web | url = http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-28681445_ITM | work = San Diego Business Journal | title = He's All Business On the Internet, Phil Trubey Unveils His Latest Venture Even Though He Could Retire Today | date = 2000-12-11 | accessdate = 2008-08-04] and went public in 2000. The company tag line "Securing Productivity" reflects three of the main concerns that may prompt a business to utilize services such as Websense: legal liability, bandwidth, and productivity. [ [http://www.websense.com/global/en/ResourceCenter/ProductSolutions/WebFiltering.php Websense: web filtering] ]

Technologies inside Websense

Reporting tools

Websense filters users' Internet use – and also tracks it. According to the company website, "Included at no extra charge with all Websense products" are tools for "comprehensive reporting on the endpoint" with drill-down features to "access data by risk class, category, URL, application, user, workstation, dates, and more." [ [http://www.websense.com/global/en/ProductsServices/ReportingTools/ Websense: reporting tools] ] Thus, administrators can monitor exactly what users are doing on the Internet.


Websense allows system administrators to block access to web sites (and other protocols) based on categories. These categories contain lists of sites that can be blocked. Separate categories can be blocked at all times or only during certain times of the day. The software also allows organizations to offer a "continue button," which allows users to go to a blocked category if it is work related. [ [http://www.websense.com/global/en-au/ProductsServices/MasterDatabase/URLCategories.php Websense: list of the categories used to classify the URLs] ]

ThreatSeeker technology

In October 2006, Websense publicly unveiled its ThreatSeeker technology, which scans websites to find security threats on the Internet. The technology powers its Websense Security Suite software.


PreciseID uses technology initially developed for the Israeli military to track the whereabouts and distribution of data [ [http://www.websense.com/global/en/ProductsServices/PreciseID/ Websense: PreciseID] ] .

Deep Content Control

Websense's proprietary Deep Content Control aims to monitor and control "Who and What goes Where and How" in an effort to protect confidential information. Websense's website only notes that it is a combination of the ThreatSeeker and PreciseID technologies. [ [http://www.websense.com/global/en/ProductsServices/CPS/ Websense: Deep Content Control] ]


SurfControl was acquired by Websense on 3 October 2007. Websense plans to continue the Surfcontrol business with a full staff until at least 2011.


Some anti-censorship groups and human rights organizations claim that Websense is censoring free speech in countries with limited civil liberties [ [http://www.peacefire.org/amnesty-intercepted/ Amnesty Intercepted] :Global human rights groups blocked by Web censoring software] . Websense is seen by some as discriminatory for blocking categories such as education, religion, health and non-pornographic homosexual content.

The OpenNet Initiative claims Websense is used by internet service providers in Yemen [ [http://www.opennetinitiative.net/studies/yemen/ Internet Filtering in Yemen in 2004-2005: A Country Study] ] as part of the government enforced censorship program. It is also used in China according to Amnesty international [ [http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGASA170012004 China: Controls tighten as Internet activism grows] ] .

On a 2005 report, Rhode Island affiliate of ACLU calls Websense a deeply flawed technology. It also mentions the 2001 Peacefire's report on the inaccuracy of the software, and notes that the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was struck down on 2002 by a federal court in a decision that was partly based on similar reports. It further notes that, although the blocking technology has improved over the years since 2002 it still remains a "blunt instrument" and that, on public libraries using Websense, people of all ages "are still denied access to a wide range of legitimate material". cite web | url = http://www.riaclu.org/20050418.html | title = R.I. ACLU releases report on "troubling" internet censorship in public libraries | author = The Rhode Island affiliate, American Civil Liberties Union | date = April 2005 | accessdate = 2009-06-26
* [http://www.riaclu.org/friendly/documents/2005libraryinternetreport.pdf full report] ]

In December 2006 the company acquired the Israeli data security company PortAuthority for $90 million. [cite news | url = http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/12/20/HNwebsenseportauthority_1.html | title = Websense to buy PortAuthority | author = Robert McMillan, IDG News Service | work = InfoWorld | date = 2006-12-20 | accessdate = 2008-08-04] Announcing the take-over, WebSENSE said that it was "committed to maintaining the company's research and development presence in Israel." [http://www.israel-times.com/news/2006/12/websense-to-acquire-portauthority-for-90-million-in-cash-2238/ Israel-Times.com Websense to acquire portauthority for 90 million in cash] (broken link 26/Feb/2008)] In November 2007 web-users began reporting that WebSENSE was blocking "within the US and the UK" their access to the blog site of Noam Chomsky and to the website of Norman Finkelstein, prominent academics known for their criticism of the state of Israel. [ [http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1351#rdrl Reader letters: reply from Websense stating that www.normanfinkelstein.com has been reviewed and now categorised as 'News and Media'] ]


External links

* [http://www.websense.com/ Official homepage]
* [http://www.peacefire.org/censorware/WebSENSE/ Critical webpage] (Blocked by Websense for providing "Proxy Avoidance")

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