Q. I don't trust filters. I've tried many of them and I have always been able to get around them somehow. What do you suggest?
A. We understand your problem exactly.
First of all, did you ever honestly ask yourself if internet access is really essential for your? If not, just get rid of it! Why do you need a Michshal (stumbling block) in front of you?
If you must have internet access however, then here's our advice. For starters, let's get familiar with the terms.
A client based filter is a software program that sits on your computer and can be changed / uninstalled with a password. You can give the password to someone else to be "safer", but there are still ways around this for someone computer savvy and determined enough.
Then there are "Server based" filters which solve most of the problems of client software, since the filtering happens at the server level. But there are ways around this too. For example, if one has a wireless card in a laptop, they can hook up to someone else's server in any "hot-spot" and have open internet. Or, they can install another server on top of the Kosher server, and use that for open internet (although some filter companies like www.theJnet.com don't allow that). But let's go with the assumtion that neither of the two (client or server based) are 100% fool proof alone.
However, if you have both client and server based filters, and you still want to get around it, this is just about as hard as buying a new computer. Or, it's at least as hard as going to your friends house and using his internet. Yes, there is a limit to what a person can do. Even if you don't have a computer at all, you aren't fully protected in today's world... There are internet Cafes, and your parents, friends and work place still may have open internet... There comes a point where there is just that much we can do. It's important to understand that the idea here is not to make it 100% impossible, but rather to put it "out of hands reach". That means that when you are sitting in front of your computer all day, you won't keep getting that nagging urge to take a peek at what you shouldn't, since it's just too hard and not easily accessible.
Also, for someone who was once addicted, we strongly suggest using a "white-list" filter, which means that your filter (or server) block everything, and only open the sites that you ask them to open for you (assuming they are kosher). Some companies, like www.thejnet.com or www.kosherNet.com, already have predetermined "white-Lists" that cover millions of kosher sites, such as all educational and business related sites, banks, etc... but everything else is blocked. You can also ask them to open new sites that you come across which you need to access (assuming they are kosher).
The great thing about "white-list" filtering is that it is truly freeing to know that what's open is open, and the rest is simply off bounderies. "White-list" filtering keeps away the nagging urge to search for loopholes, or to search for sites that your filter maybe didn't block.
If you can't use white-list filtering and need open internet because of your work, hope is still not lost! First of all, accountability software can help keep you in check (see here for a few options). Secondly, www.thejnet.com has a has a new AI (artificial intelligence) filter system that detects skin colored pixels and blackens them out. If the picture contains more than a certain ratio of skin-colored pixels, it blackens the entire picture out. This new system is still on pilot version, but they are already are using it with hundreds of clients and you can ask them to sign you up as well. They put in over a million dollars to develop the AI system, and it is the most advanced type of filtering system in the world today.
The bottom line is, if you have:
1) a server-based filter (like www.thejnet.com or www.koshernet.com), as well as
2) a client based filter on your computer (such as www.kleenweb.com - which is KosherNet's client software)
3) and you ask them to set it to the "white-list" filtering level - or - use Accountability Software - or - use Jnet's new advanced AI software
... you are basically as safe as you possibly can be in today's world, barring a move to the moon!
Another way to make sure you stay clean, on top of all the filters (since they are perhaps never 100% fool-proof), is to use Shavuos or Nedarim. If you have some fear of heaven, this can be very helpful. Normally, making vows is frowned upon by our sages as with someone playing with fire, but when it comes to girding oneself from sexual temptation, we find that making vows is praised by the Torah and by Chaz"al. As the Pasuk says "Nishbati Va'akayeima, lishmor Mishpatei Tzidkecha" - "I have vowed and will uphold it, to guard your righteous laws". And also it says "Nishba Lehora Velo Yamir - Oseh eileh lo Yimot Le'olam" - "He who swears to prevent bad and does not nullify... he will never falter". And Chaza"l also say that Bo'az swore to guard himself from transgressing when Ruth came to him in the silo at night, as it says "Chai Hashem, Shichvi ad haboker" - "In the name of G-d, lay here until morning".
However, making Nedarim is not simple. Don't just make a Neder not to do something that you may not be able to hold yourself back from. Rather, use your wisdom to make fences for yourself through the Nedarim. For example, make a Neder to punish yourself if you fall, or to do something that's hard for you to do - before you fall. See this page for ideas and details on how to make "safe" shavuos that you won't chas veshalom ever come to break.
May Hashem be with you.