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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.

Links
Jay Currie
IF 2K

Sunday, October 10, 2004

How the First Amendment is supposed to work

A controversial Pennsylvania law forcing ISPs to block access to Web sites accused of hosting child pornography is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Friday, handing a defeat to advocates of stricter online porn regulations.

The law, known as statute 7330, allowed the state to impose criminal charges on Internet service providers for permitting access to Web sites considered inappropriate. Public-interest groups such as the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law a year ago, claiming that it was unconstitutional, since many blocked sites contained no child porn.

"There is little evidence that the act has reduced the production of child pornography or the child sexual abuse associated with its creation," U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois wrote in the 102-page decision. "On the other hand, there is an abundance of evidence that implementation of the Act has resulted in massive suppression of speech protected by the First Amendment."
zdned
Technically it is possible to block a particular website; but it can also mean blocking a whole set of websites which share server space with the offending website.

No one wants child pornography on the net; but that is a criminal matter and the use of the criminal law to force ISPs to use DNS blocking,
Groups challenging the law charged that ISPs had gone far beyond the requirements of state law enforcers, blocking more than a million innocent Web sites, along with 400 alleged child porn sites.

According to the complaint, affected service providers used Internet Protocol (IP) and domain name service (DNS) filtering techniques to comply with the law. IP filtering blocks all Web sites related to a single address. The court found that since many Web sites share IP addresses, the technique resulted in significant overblocking.
zdnet
Even anti-porn crusader David Burt saw the ISP's response as overbroad,
For example, ISPs could have used settings that targeted individual Web pages rather than full domain names, said David Burt, a spokesman for San Jose, Calif.-based Internet-filtering software maker Secure Computing.

"It's much easier to block a domain name, but it's not necessary to do so," he said. "ISPs could target a single page if they wanted to. You can set it up to do it that way."

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