A blog about a possible internet filtering solution for libraries

Library Internet Filtering

Frankly, I think the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Children's Internet Protection Act case was wrong.
It is virtually always wrong to censor information, especially in a library. But that is how the law in the United States stands at the moment and if a library accepts federal funding it must install internet filtering technology on all of its internet enabled computers.

This website is about a particular internet filtering product IF 2K and its application to libraries.

This product is flexible, publishes its block list, is reasonably priced and it can be configured to meet library's particular requirements.

It is not a perfect solution but it is inexpensive and, with librarians' input, the least obnoxious filtering solution on the market.

Jay Currie

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Lori Ayre gets it wrong

I am filled with admiration for the job Lori Ayre is doing pulling together information about filtering solutions for libraries which you can find here.

I am not as impressed with her analysis of filtering issues. On her blog Library Technology Musings
she announces:
if I were to compile a list of obscene pages, pages with child pornography, pages that are "harmful to minors" -- as best I could without credentials to legally define any of these things -- I could be promptly arrested for doing so!
This is wrong in just so many ways.

1) A block list can only ever be a part of a system. Keyword or phrase filtering is necessary to keep the list current and to go a bit deeper than URL name blocking.

2) The vast majority of kiddie porn will be caught by a properly configured phase filter. Almost none will be caught with block lists simply because people who are doing illegal things tend not to name their site "hot-pre-teen-girls.com.

3) Because the child porn trade is illegal it tends not to surface on the relatively easily traced web in any event. Newsgroups, P2P and FTP sites are, apparently, used to trade material.

4) The whole child porn thing is really a bogus argument put forward by the anti-censorware folks - thank you Seth - as further proof pure blocklist filtering cannot work. Of course, no one has said it will. Blocklists plus phrase filtering are really the only way to go.

5) The phrase "harmful to minors" is almost certain to be litigated at some point. One position is that nekid boobies don't hurt anyone, another is that they are a threat to God, Country and the Kids. At some point the whole structure of CIPA will be rocked when one side or the other challenges a decision to block or not block Playboy/National Geographic/Vogue Magazine (where the real hotties are flashing none too bodacious breasts hourly.)


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