Filters or not, someone slipped up


Fang-Face writes "There's an article at the American Library Association web site about a nine year-old patron encountering sexually graphic images on a computer in the children's section. The staff seems to have responded poorly. It was reported that a staff member had assured the boy's grandmother the image in question had been removed, but the boy found it again within hours. Raising the spectre that maybe kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for."


It doesn't take much computer knowledge to clear the browser cache and history, then delete everything from the public directories. This should be done at least daily to clear the crud that people download. Does that library at least attempt to keep users out of the system files?

In Windows XP, it is possible to have the cache, history and cookies cleared automatically between restarts and/or user changes. Or just install some software that clears the cache every 3-5 minutes.

I'm going to agree on that stance. Deleting the cache isn't exactly hardcore computer science. Depending on setup, you can have it done totally automatically. Almost all of our Net stations are thin clients. They have two buttons on screen, one to start the browser and the other to "end session." When the user ends their session, it forces the thin to logout and dumps the cache. Our IT gods and goddess (There's only one female in our IT dept.) use Linux on those stations so when it's deleted, brothers and sisters, it's gone.

Now then, one statement jumped out of that article and hit me right in the crotch. "...the boy found it again with hours." Within hours? How long was that kid allowed on the Internet? And he sat down and searched and searched and searched until he found that image? Damn. That's the dedication possessed only by your average young male with carbonated hormones. Given that statement, I assume that he searched through the cache. If it took him hours, looking for maybe only a second or two at each individual image, how many files do they have in their cache?!

Yeah, sounds like some simple measures could have prevented this from happening. Filters are nothing. Beating them is easy and can be summed up in two words: Go Foreign. Most filters aren't designed to handle sex pages composed in say, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or any other language not rendered into print through the alphabet used in standard English. But when you give a kid, or anyone, hours to break through; they will.

When it comes right down to it, there's only two things that secure anything- time and risk, but mostly time. Crooks typically don't want to break into a huge facility as a smash and grab. Why? It takes a lot of time. Same thing with computers. You're after the finest in securty you can get. But the only thing seperating your RSA encrypted stuff from someone who wants to read it on the sly is how long that person wants to spend on it. You give a horny young person several hours, and I don't care how good your system is, you're damned right they'll find porn.

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