Filtering Update

The Nando Times has this article on recent developments in the filtering controversy.\"In recent weeks, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed measures to cut off federal funds to any public library or school that refuses to install filtering devices on computers used by people under 18.\"


The dot matters

More problems with filters, this one with AOL. You can get past the filtering software by adding a dot at the end of the URL. The article appeared on New Jersey Online\"members designated as mature teens cannot access the Web site However, under the workaround, if a mature teen using AOL simply enters a \".\" at the end of \",\" the site becomes accessible.\"


All Computers Filtered Except One

The St. Petersburg Times has this article on a decision in a library to filter all computers but one. There might as well be a sign over the one unfiltered terminal that reads View Porn Here!!.\"It\'s censorship -- it\'s bald-faced censorship -- and that is what the First Amendment is supposed to protect us from,\" said Joe Redner, a nude-nightclub owner and county commission candidate.\"


Library rejects censorship software

Normally when I find a story on filtering the title isn\'t quite as heroic as this one. This one, however, is different. The entire article reads as if it came from the ALA OIF.

\"You can find censorship at the Hayward Library, but only information about it in books, magazines and Internet files.

As a policy, the library has been fighting censorship for 37 years.

Library commissioners reaffirmed the principle of free access to information last week as they decided not to install filtering software on library computers.


Residents threaten suit over Internet filters (not the beer) has a interesting Story on a group of citizens ready to take the local library to court over filtering. This time they are against the filters. I\'m not sure I\'ve seen citizens fighting to get filters taken off.

\"The system they have now is very arbitrary and it essentially takes the right away from the parents,\" Arthur Ketchen, president of the Nashua-based First Amendment Legal Defense Fund Citizens Against Censorship, said in a telephone interview Thursday. \"And if the library can’t exist for all citizens, it should be private or not exist at all.\"


McCain Renews Porn-Filter Push

Even after COPPA was just found to be unconstitutional, John McCain feels compeled to puch filtering again. This time he introduced a sex-filtering amendment to a spending bill. It seems to be very obvious the Supreme Court is not allowing this kind of thing.

McCain said the measure was necessary to protect American children from the \"technological sophistication of online predators\" and websites featuring sex, racism, anti-semitism, drug-making information, and bomb recipes.

It\'s always for the children. Maybe we should out law everything that is no good for children. He did say conservative icon Laura Schlessinger agreed with his proposal. Which leads me to believe it\'s a terrible idea. Good Story at Wired


Smut Filter Blocks All But Smut

This Story from Wired tells about a filterware product that could supposedly tell the difference between a naughty picture, and one that wasn\'t. The company, called Exotrope Inc., introduced its \"BAIR\" program last year, to much fanfare, but Wired ran some tests, and it turns out the saftware does not perform as advertised.

\"I agree with you. There\'s something wrong,\" says Dave Epler, Exotrope operations manager. \"That\'s not the way our image server is supposed to be working.\"


Web filter leaves residue of outrage

Rob Brian wrote in from OZ:

Members of our
Parliament and those of us who may need to access
the Internet in order to provide them with relevant
information now once more have full access to the
Internet.You can read The Story from the The Sydney Morning


An extraordinary exchange of e-mail communications
was provoked when MPs and parliamentary sections
were notified a week ago the Premier\'s Department
had ordered \"filtering\" (read censoring or shutting
down) of Web sites dealing with criminal skills, dating,
extreme or obscene sites, gambling, games, hate
speech and sex.\"


Double Standards in Filtering Software

Wired has this very interesting article on other potential problems with filtering softare.
\"Blocking software, long criticized for mislabeling innocuous websites as pornographic, now has a new problem: accusations of double standards.

The most popular filtering programs allow their users to freely visit the websites of arch-conservative groups like Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America, which feature strident denunciations of homosexuality. But when those identical fulminations against lesbians and gays were duplicated and placed on personal Web pages, Cyberpatrol, Surfwatch, and four other programs quickly added the addresses to their off-limits blacklists.


Pros and Cons of Filtering

The Pros and Cons of filtering in public libraries are debated here in this opinion piece from the Duluth News.
Pro filtering: \"A library is not a public forum open to all forms of expression. There is no constitutional requirement for government to provide access to illegal pornography such as obscenity and child pornography in libraries simply because it provides Internet access.\"
Anti Filtering: \"Yet there are powerful reasons filtering Internet access would be unwise, if not downright unconstitutional. A major problem with filtering Internet access is that current technology is too crude to target only material that might harm children -- for example, obscenity and child pornography.\"



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