Saturday, July 05, 2008

Unnecessary Censorship

Last year I went to a board meeting for our county library. I spoke out against the use of internet filtering software. My complete position on this subject can be read here. Basically I felt it put undue burden on the librarians and surrendered logic to a computer program. Such control should be the role of the parents. One of the consequences that I hadn't though of with such software is comically related in this story. I only wish this had happened before my meeting with the board. Too funny, but what do you expect when you surrender your judgment and decision making ability to a computer program.


  1. LOL

    I once posted on CF about camping at Dick's Creek and then after I submitted my post it read Thingy's Creek. Of course that was just a message board.

  2. A mind is a terrible thing to waste!

  3. Filtering software is so good now even the ACLU approves. See ACLU v. Gonzales, E.D. Pa., March 2007 [ACLU expert and court agrees Internet filters are about 95% effective and no longer block out breast cancer and other health-related information—so effective that another law, COPA [Children's Online Protection Act], was found unconstitutional].

    And that story is funny. I know someone whose first name is Gay. I wonder if Ben-Gay could even advertise there.

  4. 95% effective. What exactly does that mean; 1 out 20 sites will make it past this filter?

  5. The only reference to the 95% figure I could find in the linked decision was this line, "Based upon the testimony of Dr. Cranor, which I accept, I find that filters
    generally block about 95% of sexually explicit material."

    I'm going to assume Dr. Cranor was an expert witness from the ACLU. The fact that he gave testimony that led the judge to conclude that filters block 95% of sexually explicit material doesn't mean the ACLU approves of the filters in publicly funded libraries. In fact, the rest of the decision speaks directly to parents restricting their children's access to pornographic content.

    Defending free speech by saying that parents are responsible for protecting their kids from porn in the home is a far cry from endorsing government mandated censorship in public places.

  6. It's simply not "government mandated censorship." Those are words thrown around to scare people and hide holdings in various cases. It's too bad you find the need to argue that way instead of honestly presenting your opinion in light of the current law.

    "The ... elites have convinced themselves that they are taking a stand against cultural tyranny. .... [T]he reality is that it is those who cry 'Censorship!' the loudest who are the ones trying to stifle speech and force their moral world-view on others." By Dan Gerstein, an independent consultant, former communications director for Joe Lieberman and a senior strategist for his presidential campaign.

  7. On page 70 of ACLU v. Gonzales, there is a quote from Ashcroft that uses the words "government", "mandate" and filtering controls, in that order and states that he agrees with them.
    I find no bias in these words.
    However, by linking to ACLU v. Gonzales you were the first to use the scary words "government" and "mandate", not Marcus.

  8. The only point I made was that your evidence for saying the ACLU supported filters in Libraries was erroneous. It may be true that someone from the ACLU testified that filters blocked 95% of sexually explicit content. However, it's quite a logical leap to say that what the ACLU approves for protecting children at home is the same thing they would approve of in publicly funded libraries. Based on what I know about the ACLU, I'm inclined to believe they testified that a law to protect children from internet porn was unnecessary, since their are already effective tools available for parents to protect their children without government intervening.