A system and method for selectively controlling database access by providing a system and method that allows a network administrator or manager to restrict specific system users from accessing information from certain public or otherwise uncontrolled databases (i.e., the WWW and the Internet). The invention employs a relational database to determine access rights, and this database may be readily updated and modified by an administrator. Within this relational database specific resource identifiers (i.e., URLs) are classified as being in a particular access group. The relational database is arranged so that for each user of the system a request for a particular resource will only be passed on from the local network to a server providing a link to the public/uncontrolled database if the resource identifier is in an access group for which the user has been assigned specific permissions by an administrator. In one preferred embodiment, the invention is implemented as part of a proxy server within the user's local network.