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

Thursday, May 26, 2005

One Ringy Dingy

United American Technologies, a "Christian-based phone carrier" based in Oklahoma, has a pretty good sales pitch. According to a story by John Avlon in today's New York Sun, the company describes itself as "the only carrier that is taking an active stand against same sex marriages and hardcore child pornography." Here, we pick up a taped telemarketing call after one potential customer asks if AT&T sponsors child pornography:

United American Technologies: No. No, that's MCI.

Mr. Mirman: MCI has hardcore child pornography?

United American Technologies: Yes, they are. They have a pedophile Web site for men who love boys. It's a Montréal based Web site....

Mr. Mirman: And so MCI basically has a child pornography ring?

United American Technologies: That's correct.

Mr. Mirman: What about the others? What does Verizon do?

United American Technologies: Okay. Verizon, what they do is they train their employees to accept the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

With 2000 customers reportedly switching to United American Technologies each month, Christian-based lying and phone homophobia is a lucrative business.
While this telco has a perfect right to conduct its business along Christian principles this is the sort of filtering sales pitch which sickens thinking people.

Part of the push to filter the internet in libraries and schools is driven by this sort of homophobia and it is brilliant of librarians to refuse to put up with it.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Informative sites are snubbed, too. The best porn blockers were heavy-handed against sites about health issues, sex education, civil rights, and politics. For example, seven products blocked KeepAndBearArms.com, a site advocating gun owners’ rights. Most unwarranted blocking occurred with sites featuring sex education or gender-related issues. Some drug-education sites were blocked. For example, four products blocked the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health. KidsNet interfered the most with useful sites, blocking 73 percent. All programs except CyberSitter show you why a specific site was blocked and all let adults override the block.
consumer reports
I note that all but Cybersitter have an override. But they are still overblocking and, in most cases the filter companies don't give you access to their blocklists. So how will you know if your children are being denied access to drug education or health sites?

These are problems which some internet filters dealt with years ago...Too bad Consumer Reports ignored those filters.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

South Park Republican Bingo

Much too much fun. You figure out how to play Southpark Republican Bingo do you call BINGO when the Texas legislature bans suggeestive cheerleading...or do you go with the Alabama legislature's banning books written by homosexuals - or people who, Lord knows, looked at a member of their sex with lust in their heart - or, and let's be kind here, the good folks in the Texas legislature who want to make teaching "intelligent design" part of the biology requirement for those lucky Kansas kids...Wonderful!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cheerleaders Surprised

Several of the cheerleaders had been taking photos of the squad along with personal pictures throughout the school year and posting them on the online photo-sharing site Webshots.com, parents and school officials said. The pictures were intended for their friends and other girls on the squad but were publicly accessible, along with more than 134 million others posted by the site's users.

On Nov. 22, Wootton Principal Michael J. Doran said he received an anonymous e-mail that included the personal and team photos of the cheerleaders and alerted him that the pictures were featured on a pornographic Web site.
washington post
This is not an uncommon occurence.

One of the facts about the internet many people are unaware of is that every image posted is available to be copied and reposted. Copyright, terms of service and all manner of other devices cannot prevent people from taking a picture and using it for their own ends.

Part of the driving force behind internet censorship is ignorance as to how the net works and what it can and cannot do. The girls posting their very innocent pics never thought they would find themselves on a porn site....but there they are.

Teaching people to be net aware would go a long way to solving this sort of problem.


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