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Linux Journal: Necessary Censorship: Web Filtering with Open Source

Apr 17, 2003, 13:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glenn Stone)

"You're the administrator of a cash-strapped school system and received a note saying you'll finally be able to get the school connected to the Net--as soon as you have a plan to comply with CIPA(1). Or you're out in Corporate America, and when the boss typo-ed a URL, she saw some very interesting pictures on her screen. Or you're simply Joe Penguinhead at home, having had the talk with the spousal unit, and you've decided it's time for Junior to have a computer of his very own. In short, you're now stuck with committing censorship.

"In the course of doing research for this article, I ran across pieces from EFF and Peacefire (plus one e-mailed lecture) saying that all censorship is bad that we should simply educate our children and coworkers on responsible cyber-surfing, blah, blah, blah.... It's true, and in an ideal world, we could do that. Unfortunately, the world is not populated by only responsible adults and well-educated children. And everyone makes a typo once in a while. Thus, we are forced to do something about it.

"The Children's Internet Protection Act mandates that a school or library must have an Internet safety policy, must hold a public review of that policy and must use a 'technology protection measure' on all computers connected to the Internet. Whether and how that software can be disabled on certain computers is a local decision. It does not mandate that software be perfect; indeed, many web pages, both administrative and commercial, emphasized that filtering would not be perfect. More on that in a minute..."

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