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The Internet

Passing Porn, Banning the Bible 226

Please read this press release from The Censorware Project. Their target today is Bess, a new piece of protect-the kiddies software from N2H2 that seems to be even more defective than some of its competitors. Look at the list of sites Bess bans (it's in the Censorware Project press release), and at some of the ones it allows to pass. Then laugh. I did, but sadly, because many U.S. legislators want this kind of software installed in all public schools and libraries. I could go on and on here, but why bother? Read the Censorware Project press release for yourself. It may lead you to a few porno sites, but at least they're ones that have passed Bess's scrutiny, and that's all that counts, right?
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Passing Porn, Banning the Bible

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  • I couldn't work in a company that would block deja.com, or anyway I'd certainly lose a lot of time searching for technical problems while the answers are certainly in the news already.

    Dejanews saved me numerous times !

    Dejanews is a fount of knowledge and it would be an enormous error to block it, even if you can also waste time reading alt.sex.whatever...
  • Wow. No dejanews? That's got to suck. I've found dejanews to be one of the most usefull sources of computer related information available on the net. I use it to look up obscure UNIX error messages or problems all the time, and I can find what I am looking for probably 3 out of 5 times, which I think is pretty good. If they banned that where I work, I'd have a fit.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How can you get porn blocked from public labs where all screens are viewable to everyone?

    1. Politely inform the person in question that (s)he is disturbing people who are trying to get their work done, and politely ask him/her to view the porn in a more private setting.

    2. Politely inform the lab admin that the person in question is distracting you.

    3. Find another computer/terminal where you can work uninterrupted.

    Censorship is morally reprehensible. There is no excuse for it. But people should be considerate of others.


  • The problem is not so much violence which has, after all, been around as long as the human race (if not longer -- some animals are pretty violent).

    The problem is the increasing need for instant gratification, without thinking about the consequences, whatever they might be. Kids learn "I want that -- gimme that!" at a very young age, and that mentality leads to more social problems than exposure to the Seven Dirty Words or to nudie pix ever will. :)
  • Censorship is something that works porely. On the other hand one thing that I have seen that works quite well is the the installation of an authentification proxy and a web page that lists where people have been on the internet. The general effect is that no one's web visits are anonymous, and it is up to you decide whether you want everyone to know that you have been visiting xxx.com.

    Okay, this has its disadantages too, but I tend to prefer it to a dodgy piece of censorship software that does not adapt to the culture.
  • Censorship is something that works badly. On the other hand one thing that I have seen that works quite well is the the installation of an authentification proxy and a web page that lists where people have been on the internet. The general effect is that no one's web visits are anonymous, and it is up to you decide whether you want everyone to know that you have been visiting xxx.com.

    Okay, this has its disadantages too, but I tend to prefer it to a dodgy piece of censorship software that does not adapt to the culture.
  • Your point hits too many people right in the innards, and brings them to think about the dangers of bringing something like right to public speach to a dangerous level. I actually want to buy this software for the purpose you suggest. I've been looking for a filtering system for linux for a while just like this.

    Smoking indoors here in CA, USA is illegal. Why should we go spending millions to stamp out air polution everywhere *and* protect someones right to poison everyone else in the room?

    Are we advocating that we ban filtering software? What kind of setting would that actualy be justified? The 6:00 news leaves us with a feeling of being up to date on the world yet, we have just watched a whole program of *only what they wanted us to see*. Thats not a conspiracy allusion, that is corporate decision.

    Should my computers be impounded becuase I put this software in my home? Should I be slapped with a fine becuase I put this software in my company? How about my internet caffe or library?

    ISP's libraries, etc... are providing a service. Would you demand regulation of those services so some junkie can not miss the latest mpg of the week?

    Censorship this isn't. Cesorship is shutting up the person speaking. This is just choosing not to listen to them or taking responsibility for what they say in my school, work, or home.
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~~^~~^~
  • by Anonymous Coward
    KJV Bible thumping literalists are offended by the Jefferson Bible because all the fairy tale stuff that they believe in was removed by Jefferson leaving only a story portraying Jesus as a person who wanted others to be good to each other.

    Here's some writings of Jefferson:
    http://www.dma.org/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/dmahurin/wkn/ wkn_table.cgi?People/Jefferson

    In actuallity, the regular Christian Bible has much more to be censored. Rape, incest, child sacrifice, ethnic cleansing in the name of the mountain god...

    Here's a fairly complete common mans version of Genesis. You'll be surprised what it says...

    http://www.dma.org/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/dmahurin/wkn/ wkn_table.cgi?Religion/Christianity/Bible/ Condensed/OT/Genesis/Three%20Tales
  • Now, I don't have kids atm, but I know I wouldn't want these people making moral judgements for my children. I remember in my highschool, we were not allowed to read certain books in English class. That really pissed me off. But if you complain, you are marked as a trouble maker. That only leaves pulling your children out of that school, and many people don't have that option.

    I was sent to a very, very small High School operated by Benedictine monks. We could read any books we wanted. Senior year (as class assignments) we read "The Handmaids Tale", "The Last Picture Show", "Native Son" and other books you would never, ever see in a public high school. We were proud that the faculty believed us mature enough to handle these novels.

    When students are treated as adults, they tend to act as such. By using filtering software, you are telling the students they are not mature enough to be trusted. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • There are three principles involved here.

    1- Any program that recives federal funding is considerd to be at least partially at federal program, and therefore cannot violate federal laws, or the constitution. This is why universities in the US (such as Bob Jones) that desire to discriminate based on race recieve no federal funds whatsoever (not even in scholarships).

    2- There is a legal idea in the United States known as incorporation. It states that because the 14th amendment (passed in order to require southern states to give newly freed slaves rights) prohibits states from taking away 'life, liberty or property without due process of law,' that they cannot violate 'fundamental' rights (such as the 1st amendment. Most of the rights in the Bill of Rights have been incorporated, and are therefore binding on the states.

    3- Most state constituions contain provisions extremely similar to those in the Bill of Rights.


    Romen

  • Sun Tzu, are you the same ST whose captain of Team /. at starshiptraders? I'm asking here because I can't get through to your home page. Anyway, email me.

    cheers,

    -matt
  • I wonder how much they pay the people who look at sites and determine if they are pornographic or not? Where else can you get a job at involves looking at naked women all day and you can tell people that you save children for a living?
  • The "law" that schools use, at least in the State of Ohio, is called in local parentice. It basically states that when students are in school, whether they are 18 and above or not, the school system has the right to act as each student's "parent" in order to maintain a semblance of order in schools.

    Personally, I think that this is good for a school to have and use, especially where there are so many students that a high school full of students spouting off about First Amendment infractions against them would grind a school to a halt. OTOH, it can also allow schools to employ severely draconian measures in a school and turn it into a "military" facility.

    It just takes a good balance of both on the part of the administration to keep everything running.
  • I used to work for an ISP (Though it shames me), we used N2H2 for filtering. It actually runs on Linux, possibly with a modified Linux kernel...do they publish source??? let's not be too critical of them, seeing as the've used linux for a while, and despite the fact that net filtering is a joke, albeit a real one, they are using linux...not to advocate using free and open software for censorship...it's a bit ironic...I didn't see where anyone noticed this, thought you might like to know.
  • Are you writing from a school with Internet access or another place? I *do* think 'net access is suited for places such as libraries and public places (such as the one you were in). I just question whether there is a *need* for it in schools. I'm sure a great education just takes great teachers and good parents, not an hour a day on the net. Yes, there is a multitude of information on the 'net, but like a double-edged sword, there is also false information. I'm just reiterating back to blocking sites: do the best things about the Internet outweigh the negative things in terms of accessing it from a school?
  • . We have recieved very few complaints even though there are loopholes

    who would complain? the clueless parants who obviously have no desire to look for porn, or the kids who really want porn and get it? my guess would be none.

    I'm assuimg that this is an "opt in" type of thing. also, how *does* it work anyway? does it just filter port 80? or do the parents setup the proxy server or what?
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Um, the US Supreme Court has given its opinion on this matter quite a while ago. You are not a full citizen, protected by the Constitution until you are an adult. It sucks but that's the way it is. It is why administrators and police can search lockers at school and bust a student if they find dope. The 4th Amendment doesn't apply to them. Same goes for censoring content of school newspapers. One the hundreds of reasons while school sucks until college.

    -d
  • I've got two words for you: configure junkbuster.

    Mostly, I like the ability to get rid of ad banners (which is what it was designed for) and filter cookies. But you can configure it to deny specific sites and censor pages by keywords, and that is a good start.

    I guess the more annoying step is to make sure that the user can't kill the proxy, or run the proxy on some other machine and allow no other access to the web...

    Not that I'm in favor of censorware, but I also am not in favor of ads, or poorly written software...
  • First, a kid can expand his or her horizons with or without the WWW. Likely, at least 50% of the Slashdot population grew up without the WWW. Methinks the average slashdotter's horizons are pretty expanded.

    Secondly, there is an idea buried here. Perhaps the parent feeds the browser (or router) a list of approved sites and/or site domains. The parent can then add sites as needed or wanted (as kiddo whines, "Can I link to megasportssite.com?").

    If software were instrumented this way, you could also create a small industry of selling site lists. I could then subscribe to a site list, and they would send me a list of approved sites every month that I could "install" as part of my master list. Depending on my parental style, I could get my list from anybody from "Toys R Us" to Billy Graham (or even multiples--any site on any list can be accessed).

    This would cause a very restricted browsing experience, but the restrictions could be dropped by parental control.

    This doesn't help on accessing the Web from places other than home, but I'm not sure anything shy of "1984" would.

  • "I wonder if they get paid for product placement."

    You joke, but some censors have seriously accused us of shilling for the porn industry. We've got a really sarcastic and informative response to that, which you could read in our Admin section [censorware.org] if it weren't totally slashdotted at the moment. Oh well.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • My understanding is that students in school do not enjoy the same degree of Constitutional protection that adults do. Minors (under 18) simply do not have the same rights as adults. They don't have the same responsiblities, either. (I am not saying I agree or disagree with this.)

    While the Supreme Court stated in one opinion that Constitutional rights do not end at the schoolhouse gate (sorry, I forget the case), they also have held that the need to maintain order in the school will often override a student's freedom of expression. This is the basic justification for dress codes and prohibited clothing such as Nazi armbands, gang colors, etc.

    The whole issue of Constitutionally-protected speech gets a lot more complicated when dealing with minor students. It's a fascinating area, but get ready to be shocked and angered every once in a while if you decide to research it.
  • Filtering software is just a joke. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Move all the porn to .adu domains. That'll allow "responsible" adults to make their own decisions about how they want to spend their time at home, and parents can easily monitor what their kids are looking at.

    Ideally, this would be done by self regulation, not by some broad-sweeping, ignorant government legislation. I honestly can't see any weaknesses to this approach, but I'd like to know what everyone else thinks.
  • So maybe we need something like Open Directory [dmoz.org] but just for kids, or rather only pertaining to limited sensibilities. A list of sites that are good instead of rules for sites that are bad. Sure, it would still limit the horizons of kids, but something open and dynamic like that would certainly be more fulfilling than just slashdot and freshmeat (no offense CmdrTaco and Scoop!)
  • Firstly, my objection to spam is that it is a waste of my time and computing resources. My objection to unsolicited proseletysing is similar - it is a waste of my time and a waste of the mental effort required to try to argue coherently with people who have been trained in advertising strategies that would make the Saatchis jealous. The fact is that I was raised a Christain and deliberately stopped attending church, because I feel the whole basis for the organised religion is mistaken - you cannot argue that I do not know the 'truth' - I know it and have decided against it, so proseletysing me is a waste of everyone's time.

    You say these Christians are acting out of charity. I don't believe you. The churches here (and I'm not an Amercian - YMMV) that go in for this style of 'missionary work' tend to be the ones that teach that personal salvation depends on spreading the word to others. Many of these 'missionaries' seem to me to be acting out of fear, and a great deal of 'Chrisitian' thought seems to be motivated similarly. The Jehovah's Witnesses seem to organise their whole church as a kind of giant religious pyramid scheme.
  • I guess I'm hosed. I grew up with my dad's shotgun in the closet and his Playboys in the bathroom. I've played Quake and watched the season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! I guess I'm going to snap and become a psychopathic homicidal rapist any second now....

    Or not. Seriously, what would you rather have? Junior's eyes bugging out on www..com or out scoring crack? I mean, for the most part, it's something he's going to see anyways at some point in his life. Even the most zealous guardians of moral righteousness have to breed sometime.

    Of course, our current domain name system is partially to blame for this. Without a .adult / .xxx TLD, many 'honest' porn site operators are forced to pedal their wares (not warez) in the .com namespace. I'm sure that if a .xxx TLD were commissioned, many sites would happily convert over. Blocking .xxx from schools/libraries, etc would be much easier than going through every page on the planet. No, it wouldn't be a perfect solution, but it would make life easier and reduce the need for such draconian censorware.

    Moving forward, we need to look at enforcing the distinction between TLDs. If you want blah.org, you should be a registered non-profit organization. If you want .com, you'd better own the trademark (thus getting us out of "I had floorg.com first, but Floorg Inc wants to take it from me!) .art for movies / entertainment, .home for personal pages...No commerce allowed. .net stays around for ISPs/network services. .oss for Open Source projects. (We the geeks demand our own TLD), .ref for scientific / reference materials. The Library of Congress, Project Gutenburg, etc. With a combination of checking credentials on registration and an organization for reviewing complaints ("recommending" that you move your domain name to a new TLD, or simply suspending it if you've been warned before)

    Now, if all the money put into developing / purchasing censorware was put into fixing our fsck'd up Domain Name Registration, we'd be in a lot better position.

    Just my 2 fractional monetary units.
  • Such a system already exists and is supported by IE (versions 3.0 onwards) and Netscape (4 onwards). It's called RASCi - http://www.rasc.org/

    It helps if many sites register for the scheme and if people know how to use it. In Netscape you have to go to Help menu to set it up!
    --
  • he said it was a service, meaning that people can chose to turn it on. no one can sue someone for somthing they requested....
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Such a system already exists and is supported by IE (versions 3.0 onwards) and Netscape (4 onwards). It's called RASCi - http://www.rasc.org/

    It helps if many sites register for the scheme and if people know how to use it. In Netscape you have to go to Help menu to set it up (it's under NetWatch)! IE's setup is in a more logical location (with the other preferences).
    --
  • You joke, but some censors have seriously accused us of shilling for the porn industry. We've got a really sarcastic and informative response to that, which you could read in our Admin section

    I read your admin section, and I must say I agree with you about HTML editors *DOWN WITH HTML EDITORS* RETURN THE WEB TO THOSE WITH A BRAIN!! :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Um deja.com and deja.com/=dnc are exactly the same, from what i can tell...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Had it at the high school I just graduated at. It was an unquestionalbe load of garbage. Some form of transparent proxy and it appended to any HTML file you loaded.

    What I enjoyed was discussing the legal issues of this software with my friends. After all, my homepage isn't "Powered by N2H2" as it says when loaded. This neat little banner is added to every page. So tell me, can they legally DO that? Modifiy the look of MY webpage?

    It was quite a fun topic, the administrators at the school library HATED the thing, they just had to install it, orders from above.
  • Censorship has no place in a free society. Information access does not lead to crime, nor to hairy palms. The source point of problems in minors is the home. It begins with lack of parental involvement.

    Then it is compounded when they get to school, and become the subjects of more noble experiments in teaching methods given in rooms in which discipline is almost impossible to achieve.

    Blocking access to nudity while allowing access to pictures of mayhem, war, and other atrocities is truly insane.

    If blocking is to be allowed, then I think we should make certain that the technology is developed to the point where discrimination can be against proselytizing rather than information.

    I have no objection to children having unrestricted access to information, but I do object to their having unsupervised access to pitchmen, whether the pitch is religion, war, drugs, or sex.

    Unfortunately, as difficult as it appears to be for the blocking software to get it right based on content, it will be even more impossible if based on intent.

    Meanwhile, let freedom ring: open access for all.
  • by goten ( 36521 )
    Actually I work for an ISP that uses Bess for it's filtering service. We have recieved very few complaints even though there are loopholes. Luckily I am not in charge of the decision making for filtering so I don't really have to worry about it. If anyone can suggest anything better for a filter (besides having the kids parents looking over there shoulder) lemme know. I may bring it up in the next staff meeting :)
  • Civil rights kick ass :D

    One of my teachers (Ms. S) at Stuyvesant High School in NY would let people sign their own absence notes if they were 18+.

    OTOH, we can cut classes all we want in college anyway :D
  • Fantastic post, but one thing. Monitary handouts from the government do not help. That promotes lazy, greedy parents who depend on a force (gov't) which exists only to take from those who produce.

    Remember, the government does not produce ANY wealth. They can only tax it from the citizens. Printing cash does not produce money.
  • I don't know why but it seems that Highschools have really terrible techs, our school even had a TEK club witch was basicaly slave labor for running there shitty mac network (beacuse they knew kids knew how to use computers.
    we even had a terrible "multiuser" system that ate files...

    but at least there was no filtering software. I went to ames highschool
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • So what you're saying is that context _matters_.

    Which is what everyone here is saying isn't happening. Sites that are informative being blocked is what the fight is about.

    There is a perfect blocker. It's called a parent.

    jeff

    The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds.
    The pessimist fears it is true.
    --Robert Oppenheimer
  • but I've never heard porn drive people to go door-to-door and irritate people,

    It's called SPAM, and the porno "industry" sure does produce *a lot*
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by Suydam ( 881 )
    It's pretty funny...but I just loaded /. and this story only has 4 comments.

    As of 16:19EST (give or take) this site is completely slashdotted.

    Should we be warning people that their sites are about to be completely swamped???

  • I doubt it
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I'm sure most of us are laughing along with the folks at the Censorware site, at the lame attempts by various software houses to "protect the children." But I'll be cynical here: I don't expect that it will make much difference until big media houses latch onto the inherent problems with censorware. And even then, I'm suspicious that the "well, nothing's perfect" attitude will still lead to fairly widespread use (think it can't happen? Lemme tell you a story about an OS developed in Redmond ...). It looks like part of a slow erosion.

    But don't let the cynic in ya keep you down. I suppose that folks interested in this issue should develop an anti-censorware HOWTO and take the message to the streets, Congress and (since I am well aware of my own country's flaws in this respect) to the House of Commons. But far be it from me to tell Americans what they ought to do ... at least until the takeover is complete... heh heh.

  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @11:21AM (#1778216) Homepage
    If my employer restricted my ability to visit www.footfetish.com, it wouldn't really make a difference to me (although they wouldn't have to steam clean the carpet as often.) This is trivial. Now if they blocked slashdot, productivity here would go through the roof! Of course we'd all quit after a couple of weeks, but we'd be able to get a lot more work done in those 2 weeks. This only applies to the techies, but if you replace slashdot with ebay or investor.msn.com it would apply to the sales and marketing department as well. Why don't we see blocking software that filters out popular time wasting sites?
    --Shoeboy
  • Actually your wrong, there is *far* more then enough food in the world to feed everyone. In fact the state of Iowa *alone* is capable of feeding everyone on the planet. Right now, food production capability is growing more than twice as fast as human population (more advanced techniques, genetics, etc). The problem is that some countries are run by corrupt power mongers, with out the constitutional and democratic safeties that protect us from the corrupt power mongers running *this* country (the US). so for right now, nudity is not really *that* bad a thing. and most people I know get nude to take showers as well, witch is *defiantly* a good thing.... for more information check out http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.02/ffsimon.ht ml, or wired 5.02 in print with nice little graphics and stuff : )
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • by wuzoe ( 28694 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @11:22AM (#1778218)
    I wish someone would stand up and tell the schools government, and parents that even with software, the www isn't a babysitter.

    Now, having said that, considering how people use it as a baby sitter, maybe filtering software isn't going in the right direction ...

    When I was learning to ride my bike, I was only allowed to ride on certain streets. My parents simply told me what streets I *could* ride on, they didn't try to list every street that I *couldn't* ride on. If filtering software worked this way, it would IMHO be better for corporations and libraries that want their net connected computers to be information appliances (no need to go to most sites) ... also parents would be able to set up their kids on a certain for-kids site and know they can't wander off ...

    I realize that this leaves most of the net unaccessable, but for the 12 year olds, and the libraries that want online news access, book reviews, etc. wouldn't this be "better"?

    Personally I believe that everyone should grow up and learn to live without censorware, but that isn't going to happen any time soon ... 8-(
  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @11:56AM (#1778219)
    I can't believe some of these restrictions. It's... almost inconceivable. Consider their ban on "Message/Bulletin Boards" - "Sites that permit semi-permanent messages to be posted and read by others." Heaven forbid the little kiddies should have a free discourse of any kind. Posted and read by others? Why, who knows what those ravening internet users might post! Swear words! Heretical leanings! Thoughts! I wouldn't be surprised to discover /. is banned under this clause. Too free.

    Then there's their block on unfiltered searches. Consider this corrupting search string:
    "http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=women". Egads, cover their sweet little eyes! They might be looking up such horrendous topics as women in the military, or the accomplishments of women! All, no doubt, in a sick demonic attempt to see nude bodies - we all know that women have no interest apart from the sexual.

    Of course, they also ban "Free pages". Because of course, unless you have Big Money behind the site, you know it will all end in tears. The entire geocities complex is blocked, including such appalling sites as my blood-and-lust-centric Lucy Test [geocities.com]. I don't like the banner ads either, but how many times have I been shunted to a geocities page when researching something that intrested me? Not for Bess users, though. Good old Bess, she doesn't have time to spend, say, THINKING about the worth of certain sites. She'd rather toss a pure white blanket over the lot and be done with it.

    Frankly, I can't imagine the distorted hairy-palmed little trolls who rate sites for companies like this one. They spend their days looking at a good sight more porn and dementia than I ever do. Straight-backed Christians of the world - if you believe that information corrupts, then do you really want these polluted individuals deciding what your children see?

    This has ruined my day.

    -konstant
  • I think I read this somewhere on ZDNet, of all places, and it sounded like a really good idea. I'm not that familiar with the techical aspects of web domains, but what about adding a few new domain suffixes, like .xxx or .adu? I'm sure the porn site operators wouldn't mind, and it would certainly make filtering easier for paranoid parents and scholl administrators who are too busy to actually supervise the fragile little minds of "the children".
  • More like the short-sighted leading the stupid.
    ----------------------
  • Russian STASI's

    The Stasi were the East German secret police, not Russian.

  • Oh, I know that much, and I don't agree with that either, but remember that even if you are 18, you still don't have your full rights as long as you are still in school.

    It doesn't matter if you're an adult or not, as long as you're in a high school, and probably a college as well, you waive some of your (more important) adult rights. Why? I don't know, but I'd love to see people fight it.

    Heck, it doesn't matter if you're in college or not, they'll still try to censor your newspapers and restrict the content you see. They just have less of a legal basis to do so...
  • I'd trade a dozen bum-ridden public libraries for a Blockbuster Books with 100 copies of each bestseller, guaranteed in stock... and private schools have ALWAYS been better than public ones. They have to be, or their staffs end up on skid row. But now, private schools and libraries are taxed to pay for public ones. What an outrage!


    Okay, so now everyone has to pay 16k a year for each kid to go to school (that's how much private schools cost, I used to go to one [hated it]). What about families that don't make that amount in a year in toto, let alone having that much to spend on education for each kid? Schools need subsidizing if they are to remain accessible to everyone, a goal which I support.

    Also, do you really want to have the libraries guarantee 100 copies of each bestseller? What about more obscure books, are they not worth reading? If that happened, libraries would all become more specialized, and I fear most would lean toward the bestseller route, with only books that make the NY Times/London Times Bestseller lists. Some would specialize in other topics, but because they would be used less, they would also cost more. So, libraries need to be subsidized as well, if they are to remain the centers of information that they are intended to be.

    Also, would you deny 'bums' access to books? How can anyone ever improve themselves without learning? That is one of the most important tenets behind public libaries: that everyone has access.

    All private institutions are taxed. I believe that private schools, at least, get a break, and I assume that private libaries do too.
    ---
  • by RobotSlave ( 1780 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @12:03PM (#1778226) Homepage
    I interviewed at N2H2 before taking my present job at a Large Internet Retailer in the same city. So here's a load of irony for you:

    1) Bess runs on Linux. Exclusively.

    Yes, the whole system. When a company or school (they have a near-lock on the academic market) decides to buy Bess, N2H2 sends out a tech to install a linux box (or boxen). Those boxen all talk to more linux boxen to keep the URL lists current.

    2) N2H2 funds free software projects.

    They paid for outside developers' time to get ipfwadm finished, and they are active in the perl circuit.

    3) Most of the people who work there don't think that censorware should be installed for anyone older than 12, but they can't say no to a client.

    4) Robots go out on the net and flag suspect sites, and the call on whether or not to block a flagged site is made by a human. So if something is being blocked, then someone decided to block it. The converse, of course, is not the case.

    5) They drag their feet when making offers to perl hackers, and the perl hackers go to work for Large Internet Retailers instead :).

    I'm sorry I came to this discussion late-- hopefully this post will bubble up a bit.
  • by / ( 33804 )
    The reason why schools are allowed to search lockers is that the school loans the locker to the student and never actually relinquishes ownership of it. The 4th amendment (made applicable to the states via the 14th amendment) still applies to minor students.
  • Setting up a TLD is quite easy if you already know how to run nameservers. Getting everyone to recognize it, however, is another matter entirely...
  • Well accually legally I believe that your backpack belongs to your parents. So they force you to take your parents property to school everyday (obviously this part your parents probably consent to). Then at random times without consulting your parent, (or you, which your parent by loaning it have entrusted such desisions) they search your backpack. Doesn't sound very legal to me, could easily be challenged. Though schools could just have a letter at the beginning of the year requesting a parent waive all rights concerning you (HAHAH).
  • by Neph ( 5010 )
    "You Rule School" [youruleschool.com]

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • Actually your wrong, there is *far* more then enough food in the world to feed everyone. In fact the state of Iowa *alone* is capable of feeding everyone on the planet. Right now, food production capability is growing more than twice as fast as human population (more advanced techniques, genetics, etc).

    The problem is that some countries are run by corrupt power mongers, with out the constitutional and democratic safeties that protect us from the corrupt power mongers running *this* country (the US). so for right now, nudity is not really *that* bad a thing. and most people I know get nude to take showers as well, witch is *defiantly* a good thing....

    for more information check out the Doomslayer [wired.com] in wired archives, or in wired 5.02 with nice little graphics and stuff : )
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • The problem isn't the Book *itself*, its the religion that sorounds it, and the fact that people veiw it not as a book, but as the word of god.
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I think that they're really looking out for what
    they see as our good. It makes sense, I've talked
    with many of them at length, and they really do
    seem to believe in heaven, hell, god, angels,
    yaddayadda. I happen to think they're wrong, and
    as such I still am bothered when they come and
    bother me, but I really can't blame their motives.
  • I haven't seen anyone mention Active Guardian.
    http://www.activeguardian.com/
    They are listed in freshmeat. Work in combination of squid. They are an open source project. There are some drawbacks at the moment. They were looking at one time for someone to set up a database to help rate site.

    Right now it uses four methods to filter sites.
    1) PICS Ratings
    2) Ban word list
    3) Ban site list
    4) approved site list

    I am sure they can use any help they can get

    JC
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    that's probably what you were thinking of
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I'm glad to hear you say that. It is a fair thing to disagree with someone trying to share their faith with you, but it is good of you be willing to assume they might have noble intentions. Many people can't possibly believe this.


    Thanks for listening to what I said. I guess I'll stop adding to this thread!

  • by Micah ( 278 )
    Sure it is. An erroneous statement was made about Christianity and this guy corrected it. What's wrong with that?
  • Implicit in this entire discussion is the assumption that children can be harmed by reading or viewing inappropriate material. I don't believe this is true. I'm not aware of any studies showing it to be true, nor am I aware of any adults in therapy due to teen-age hours wasted viewing erotica.

    The true goal of most censors is to protect themselves and others like them from annoying questions from precocious children.

    I'm the parent of a six-year-old daughter. She's not old enough to be surfing the net, but in two or three years she will. I've no plans to install blocking software or even monitor her computer usage. When she's sophisticated enough to look for something, I expect she'll be mature enough to handle what she finds. I hope that we will be close enough for her to talk to me about anything that bothers her.

    I was an intellectual and irreligious child growing up in a small blue-collar town. If the internet had existed then, I'm sure I would have been happier knowing that I wasn't alone in the world, just in my town.
  • I too graduated from a High School that used Bess to filter content. Bess was an addition in my junior year, and until then the librarians wandered about the library keeping watch over what each user was doing. After Bess they went back to their desks and read or filled out paperwork. Funny how I never once saw porn loaded before bess was installed, but after Bess was installed it became common practice of rebellion in my school to leave some variety of porn loaded in a browser when you walked away from a terminal. Every month the school newspaper (which wasn't filtered by bess ;-) ) would publish a list of web based email services that allowed POP access that were not yet blocked by Bess and people would then set up new accounts to continue getting our email. Our last measure of rebellion was printing a copy of the page that told us Bess had filtered the site we wanted to access every time a site was blocked. This resulted in literally tens of thousands of copies being made (all using school paper, toner, ink and network time) of the blockage message. Nightly we would collect them, and (again using school supplies) number each of them from that day and tape or staple or glue them to the walls, floor, cielings, lockers and every other inch of flat space in the building (we had a 1500 student HS, 4 floors, 20 ft valuted ceilings). At the end of the 2 years we tallied up the surface area covered by the paper and sent the results to the school district anonymously.... they were very disturbed to hear that they could have wallpapered the inside and outside of our 4 floor building over 300 times with the paper we used.... the note also made it clear this wasting would not cease until Bess was removed from our network. We still have Bess, and the papers still go up nightly during the school year.... what can I say other than we have faith in Civil Disobedience?
    Trancendentalism forever...
    C. Phillips

  • Implicit in this entire discussion is the assumption that children can be harmed by reading or viewing inappropriate material. I don't believe this is true. I'm not aware of any studies showing it to be true, nor am I aware of any adults in therapy due to teen-age hours wasted viewing erotica.

    The true goal of most censors is to protect themselves and others like them from annoying questions from precocious children.

    I have a six-year-old daughter. She's not old enough to be surfing the net, but in two or three years she will. I've no plans to install blocking software or even monitor her computer usage. When she's sophisticated enough to look for something, I expect she'll be mature enough to handle what she finds. I hope that we will be close enough for her to talk to me about anything that bothers her.

    I was an intellectual and irreligious child growing up in a small blue-collar town. If the internet had existed then, I'm sure I would have been happier knowing that I wasn't alone in the world, just in my town.
  • "Personally I believe that everyone should grow up and learn to live without censorware, but that isn't going to happen any time soon ... 8-( "

    Agreed. So I wonder if it there was no censorware if we'd already have laws against "indecent" or "Inappropriate" material on the net. I know it has been defeated twice before, but part of the justification for that defeat was the existence of filters.

    Is it better to have imperfect filters that are driven by the market demand or a government demand banning registration or viewing of material THEY deem inappropriate?

    I know neither is a realistic solution, but for me laws with *selective* enforcement are the worst kind and the kind that are passed more and more often by those in Washington.
  • An "opt-in" filter wouldn't work at the ISP (or school district) level ...

    But it seems reasonable when you are restricting a computer to be an "infomation appliance". In this case you would only care about definate certain areas ... (like the library of congress, or other one stop resource) ... for example in my school library, there is a computer labeled "online card catalog". It's just like any other computer, but pointed to a school district web site.

    At home, a parent can choose a suitable site and restrict a child to that one site ... or if the child wants to link, the parent can come over to the computer, and unlock the site the child wants to go to.

    The thing we have to realize is the censors can only read over a fraction of the web. What do we do with the rest? Assume it's good, or assume it's bad? ... you can probably see where I am going ...

    But If there isn't a parent there to check out and unlock a site a kid wants to go to, this becomes A Bad Thing(tm) ...

    ...

    Like I said before, censorship is bad.
  • It scares me to think that someone such as yourself has children.
  • It certainly seems to advocate this kind of
    thing.
  • If software were instrumented this way, you could also create a small industry of selling site lists. I could then subscribe to a site list, and they would send me a list of approved sites every month that I could "install" as part of my master list.

    But buying the site list would be just the same as using blocker software: letting someone else decide.
    ---
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @12:05PM (#1778249)
    Although I have no kids of my own, I've volunteered for the Big Brother's organization, and had the following experience. My "Little", as they're called, will simply refer to as johnny. His mother will be referred to as Jane.

    Now, knowing that I'm a computer geek, Jane asked me to monitor Johnny's surfing if I let him access the internet from my computers. She, like the creators of BESS along with it's users, wanted to protect him from obscene material. No problem, I thought, I'm not exactly the irrisponsible sort, that's why I volunteered in the first place.

    So one day, Johnny and I are over at my house, and he asks if he can get on the internet. I proceed to fire up my FreeBSD *blatent plug* gateway's ppp connection and a browser app for him to use.

    Out of curiousity, I didn't make any mention of monitoring, or restricting his destinations. I just let him go, and watched quietly. What I saw absolutely horrified me! No, it wasn't porn, or a gay rights site, or subliminal satanic messages... It was the most blatently grotesque commercial site I'd ever seen. Run by the General Mills Corp, and targeted at impressionable young children, the http://www.yourschoolrules.com site - Johnny's favorite - is nothing but pathetic brain-washing type kids games and puzzles and stories. Strewn throughout each are the cartoon characters of all of GM's breakfast cereals.

    If you ever thought Saturday morning kids TV shows were bad, with the constant barrage of kid-targeted commercials - check out this site! To access the "full" site, the kids have to "sign up" and give GM a bunch of info about themselves. This helps them market their products better. Of course, they have the standard "be sure to ask Mom or Dad if it's ok to tell us this" message. But since you can't access anything without complying, I can't see kids really worrying about such a detail. Johnny sure didn't, and my PC was filled the GM cookies like you wouldn't believe.

    This exploitation of children, knowing full well how impressionable they are, is far more of a threat than seeing words like shit and ass - or God forbid... a REAL breast!

    Anyway, just had to share this. I tried to explain to Johnny why *I* didn't approve of that site. Jane, she wasn't much help, as long it wasn't "obscene", it was ok with her. Frankly I find the commercial brain-washing of children far more "obscene" than a breast!
  • Very true!

    But then again when was the last time you got SPAM from a bible thumper?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you want to take a security stance on ANYTHING, you have to look at it from one of two standpoints, default-permit or default-deny. The same philosophies that help us figure out how we are going to secure our own machines also apply to what we allow our machines (and inevitebly) their users to access. Never rely on someone elses opinion of what is right or wrong for your situation. You are either (A) allow access to anything then weed out the baddies as they occur or (B) Deny access to everything until it has been scrutinized and put it on the allowed list. Even this is fraught with danger. The internet grows and shifts so much and everything is so completely flexible that it would be a huge task to accomplish in either way. The only real way to prevent viewing 'unauthorized sites' is to establish a required rating system where either the sites self impose a rating or some one does it for them but is required to be registered. Sites in violation of the ratings could then be punished. Again.. this is stretching the constitution quite a ways and it would be nearly impossible to administer. even so other countries would not adopt the 'required ratings' so what do you do.. deny or allow access to content from other countries? The best way to protect our children is to be a part of their lives and teach them what we feel our values should be. To be involved and be proactive in our childrens lives is the only way anything will change for them. When I was a kid I used to steal pr0n mags from my uncle and friends but my parents had the presence of mind to tell me what their thaougts were and feelings were about sex and other issues. These helped shape (but not control) who I would later become. I hope to have the same effect on my children. You Should too...

    NOTE TO THE GOVERNMENT: Stop cracking down on kids and what they do but instead crack down on the parents that tech them that it is right (or never teach them what is wrong). Parenting is hard but it is something that the government has little help to offer in except for monetary handouts. They are helpful but they don't teach anyone what the real meaning of being a parent is. Especially when many did not have good (or any) parents themselves.

    Just my .02

    Laters
  • I sent this message to the highschool that I graduated from (my younger brother attends now). It's under the GPL if you'd like to copy, modify it for your needs, and send it to your local school.

    ------

    I would highly recommend you read the following report about the "Bess" censorship software that is used in Yorkville Highschool's internet LAN.

    http://censorware.org/reports/bess/

    Please reevaluate the use of software which costs taxpayers, yet does not function well enough to justify those costs. More importantly, however, please question the morality of blocking perfectly acceptable yet educational websites.

    --

    Michael Chisari
  • by RimRod ( 57834 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @12:27PM (#1778272)
    My entire school district, which thankfully I graduated from a year ago, used Bess as their net filter. This included at the public library, where I worked for quite some time as a Technical Handyman, for lack of a better term, in the children's computer room.

    It was positively the worst net filter I've ever seen--and that's saying something, considering the rather pitiful quality of even the best ones out there. More often than not, all it did was hinder students from finding information for school reports (I've seen everything ranging from abortion topics to the Emancipation Proclimation be blocked by Bess.)

    First of all, putting filters on the computers within the high school always seemed a bit silly to me...who is actually going to look at porn in the middle of a large room that is almost constantly filled with students and teachers? It was such a non-issue it became somewhat of a joke among those of us who actually understood the system.

    Second, it became SO MUCH of a hinderance that the librarians (because they didn't know how to use the damn thing themselves) actually enlisted my help on more than one occasion to teach the class how to turn Bess off so that they could finish their reports. No one ever said they were the brightest librarians in the world :)

    Third, at a public library...well, it's all been covered before. The only new idea I have to add is that in two and a half years of working there, not once did any kid actually come in with the intention to surf the web and find porn. As amazing as this may be to the bureaucrats back in DC, most children do not like going to the library. Therefore, they're only going to be there when they actually have valid work to do. The few kids who actually do enjoy being in libraries are not the ones you have to worry about. That leaves......no one. Again, I had to turn off the damn thing numerous times so that students could actually do their assigned work.

    Filters just suck.
  • The bill of rights is binding upon state governments, and state governments organize school districts (though they usually delegate control to local school boards). So the bill of rights is binding on school districts. For that matter, any entity (such as a school board) that is the recipient of tax money is bound by the bill of rights.
  • Hate to perpetuate an offtopic thread, but this argument is intellectually unsound.

    The problem is that the Bible itself has many morally "bad" passages, especially the Old Testament. You'll find God commanding His followers to rape, murder, pillage, etc.

    When reading the Bible, it is important to understand the goal of various passages. Most of the morally "bad" passages you refer to are in historical books written to describe what happened. This is quite different from prescriptive passages which were intended to be instructional.

    Despite saying in one place that killing is bad, God commands His followers to kill all the male children prisoners, and keep the female children prisoners for sex slaves.

    Note the difference between murder - unlawful and malicious or premeditative slaying of another, and killing in wars where another country is being morally judged. A prohibition on murder by no means disallows war.

    Finally, the directive to kill all males and keep women and children was designed for moral and religious purity. In male-dominated cultures, killing all the men prevented dilution of their religious views with "heathen" populations. And there's no indication that the females were to be used as "sex slaves"; they became members of the conquering nation (an accepted wartime practice of the day) and were married just like "native" women.

  • A while ago a director of a Christian camp program (a small group of college-aged students attend this camp for nine months at a shot) asked me what I would recommend to ensure that "innapropriate" sites are not visited by the camp's computer (singular).
    I suggested he keep the campers from viewing innapropriate pages the same way he kept the campers from buying porn mags - teaching them why such things are discurraged and trusting people to make their own decision. It took a few hours of talking, but he eventually agreed that was the best course of action for people of this age group.
    One less facility using censorware is a good thing. An administrative type trusting in personal responsibility is a miricle that I have thanked God for, and hope to witness again in my life.
  • > Funny how I never once saw porn loaded before bess was installed, but after Bess was installed it became common practice of rebellion in my school to leave some variety of porn loaded in a browser when you walked away from a terminal.

    Sounds like Bess is more nearly a parentsitter than a babysitter. A pacifier for the adults, so to speak.

  • Schools are allowed to search more than JUST lockers. At any point they can search you backpack without your permision. Now, I don't know about you but my school didn't loan out backpacks. I remember quite clearly an assembly that was manditory that all students attend that they searched all the backpacks on the way in, whether you wanted the to or not. When you are under 18 you do not have your full rights as a citizen.

    As for the other comment on the same level as the one that I replied to about colleges being allowed to censor and search, public schools are not allowed. I don't know about private schools, they may, depending on what you have to sign. I remember that in order for a resident advisor to search your closet they need your permision or a search warrent with police accompeniment. Also, the school cannot restrict what you see, read or hear. There are ways that they may take to reduce the ability to see that information, like restrictions of information viewed on lab machines, but they cannot prevent you from that information. If the school offers internet access they cannot block you from seeing sights, they can fire your teachers for visiting some sights, but they cannot restict your access as a student.

  • I used to teach, so point me to a legal decision if you think I'm wrong. If you are 18, you are an adult, and the legal relationship between the school and the student changes. One day you're at their mercy, and the next day thay can NOT violate the constitutional rights that you share with every adult. All public schools I have dealt with received some Federal funds, and all were supported by of tax dollars. They are governmental institutions and are subject to Constitutional prohibitions on violating your rights (unlike private schools). Of course, they don't tell you this. If you don't know you have rights, schools can violate them with little consequence.

    On the other hand, 18-year-old students who threaten to break their teachers face can be expelled, charged with assault, and tried and sentenced as an adult (smiles at the memory).
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @11:23AM (#1778317)
    Ooo, maybe we should let people decide what content they should view, after all, at least some popular censorware does a worse job than they would, themselves...

    Actually, your average elementary school student either has no concept of "porn", or is disgusted by it. And if they aren't, is that so bad? Maybe they're just a little ahead of their time...

    Which brings us to our third point. Let's look at a scenario here.

    1) User: I want to go to www.foo.com.
    2) Stupid Proxy: www.foo.com is blocked. Sorry.
    3) User: Why? I want to see it.
    4) Stupid Proxy: Sorry, www.foo.com is blocked.
    5) User: Well, I'll just find another way to get there, then, I really need to see that.
    6) Stupid Proxy: ???
    7) User: There, see, I knew it was okay.

    Now, I'm all in favor of teaching children how to *hack* at an early age, I just find it pitiful when you have to do that to get *work* done. I had to in High School, because of the excessive, draconian security measures. I wasn't really popular with the computer administrators, but I could save my files to a disk, or use a DOS command if I wanted to, and that's what counted.

    Where does it say in the Constitution, that students or children aren't people, and therefore don't deserve those basic rights that everyone else has? ...that's what I thought. And we know that the extreme right wing moral majority is all in favor of the Constitution, and at least the Second Amendment... why not the First Amendment?

    My advice: if you don't like the First Amendment, then shut up. :)
  • I would say that is the only method that will work (parental supervision). While it's nice to believe that internet filtering or the vchip or some other sort of what is essentially a passive type of agent technology will help educators or parents exercise some control over what the children in their care are exposed to the two major difficulties will ultimately be insurmountable:

    1)Content on the net is constantly changing. There's no way to keep an accurate list of good/bad content.

    2)Different parents and/or educators are going to have different opinions regarding what sort of content is appropriate for a given group of children. Thus a tendency exists to err on the side of caution. In the case of software that doesn't recognize any difference between users, erring on the side of caution for a 5 year old is going to eliminate a significant amount of content that would be appropriate for a 16 year old.

    The only workable solution is to have computer access in a place where it can be monitored by an actual living human being.
  • Re: SPAM, FILTERING, PORN, CHRISTIANITY (or "One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong")

    One other quick point, while I'm being moderated down to "ZERO" (which, given the overarching topic of censorship, open-mindedness, and 1st amendment blah-smack makes for irony you can't fake) on the subject of Bible Thumpers vs. Porn-Purveyors.



    We all, from time to time, have our personal space invaded. Most often it is through unsolicited email. Very often this unsolicited email is from online pornography outfits that want you to come visit their website, so they can get advertising dollars, or sell you a subscription to some online porn feed, or in some other way take your money.



    Those who SPAM with PORNLINKS almost always does so while hiding behind anonymous remailers and other trickery to make sure you can't really even know who sent it. The reason is obvious- if they did, they'd get flooded with angry replies! They are absolute cowards, and they are afraid to face the people they badger and spam directly, for fear we'd slap them!



    Much less frequently, we might have a Christian knock on the doors of our homes or apartments, wanting to share the gospel. On the off chance that this does occur, most people react with anger and send the "Bible Thumpers" packing. Laughing at them. Maybe cursing at them. It isn't surprising that this happens! What IS surprising is that this doesn't discourage most Christians involved in this sort of ministry from knocking on the next door. And the next. Come what may.



    Though it might be hard to believe, these people are not going to get a commission check if they can con you into going to church. Nor are they going to get some sort of kickback by selling you some magazine. They can't hide behind some anonymous remailer in doing this- they are looking you in the eye when they deliver their unsolicited message. They do this because their religion teaches them to "go forth unto all men sharing the good news". They do this because they believe that they have been forgiven of their sins, saved from Hell, and they feel the urgent need to share this "good news" with others who might choose to believe it. At the risk of looking stupid. At the risk of being despised by many. (At the risk of being told to s.t.f.u.)



    Although most people don't ask the obvious question, "Why would these people risk looking stupid / being belitted / getting turned away if they geniunely didn't care or believe that what they were doing was worth risking these depressing responses?" But it is a worthwhile question.



    At this point, many readers will already be incredulous, furious, ready to bail out on my message and complain to Cmdr Taco and Hemos that there is rampant offtopic nonsense going on. This is because the idea of Hell (common to ALL monotheistic religions, BTW) is so alien and offensive to so many people that to mention it engenders more hostility than contemplation. Hate it, love it or yawn-when-you-hear-it, this is what Christianity is about. Christ himself talked a lot more about Hell than he did about Heaven.



    I hope that at least one single reader will labor carefully enough on my words to understand my point.



    You can choose to hate or mock the Christian who knocks on your door and leaves you a bible or a free videotape, if you want to. But try to understand that those who go so far as to risk so much do so 99 times out of 100 because they believe that there is nothing more important they can do than share the Gospel. Than to help others find salvation, just as they have.

  • This article was quite enlightening. I have always argued that censorware did no good. Therefore the only way to protect children from the filth that these days runs unfettered through my personal mailbox and the web at large is simply to prohibit Internet access completely.

    (It was once true that you had to go looking for porn and other offensive content to find it - that's no longer true. Now it arrives in neatly packaged daily doses of spam - I got one the other day with a gross (even by /. standards) porn photo as a top level MIME body part. What if the kids had been around? A SpamCop report got the guy's e-mail and web site accounts yanked and a $2000 ISP abuse charge on his Visa card - yes!)

    I know this seems unthinkable, but, really, will education suffer in the least without the Internet? We managed to educate people 100 years ago far better than we educate people today, and we did it without any high technology. The web is easy, but very shallow. I really don't even think it's a very valid tool for research of the k-12 kind. Teach kids the importance of primary sources and how to use a library and they'll truly have learned something useful.

    There are times I am truly thankful I send my children to a school that doesn't even have a computer lab, much less access to the Net. I've been in the IT business for a long time, and was one of the first computer students in public schools, and I can assure you that real literacy is far more important than "computer literacy" - something that is easily borne out in the most casual session of reading /.!

    Just say NO to Internet access in schools. There's really nothing to lose (except higher tax bills for a bunch of overpriced, obsolete computers), and our children to save.

    Send flames to /dev/null.



  • before you completely write off censorware, I have to relate a story that happened to me in college.

    In a public computer lab, I sat in the back row, surfing the web with trusty Netscape 1.0. It was a new program and people were really excited that you could see pictures on the web...porn was free...the world was happy.

    One row in front of me, some kid was looking at some rather raunchy pictures....he either didn't know I was there, or didn't think I'd care.

    Either way, he was making it nearly impossible for me to work. ...and he was getting alittle TOO much work done if you know what i mean....

    How should public computer labs prevent this sort of mis-use. Frankly, I don't think users should have to glace up and see porn in a public lab. It's no different IMHO than allowing peep shows to show pornos to people walking by on the streets of NYC or something.

    What do you think? How can you get porn blocked from public labs where all screens are viewable to everyone?

  • Yep... *people* scanning the entire web. uh huh! It sounds like an exercise in futility -- and, yet, they're selling this stuff to PHB's in the school systems.

    With the obvious loopholes, I can see this article inspiring link sites that add new unblocked porn sites immediately *after* each new release of Bess.
  • by Improv ( 2467 ) <pgunn01@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 28, 1999 @11:36AM (#1778356) Homepage Journal
    This is meant as mostly humor, but the people I
    know who spend a lot of time with porn generally
    tend to be a lot more pleasant than people who
    spend a lot of time with the bible. Certainly not
    all bible thumpers are like this, but I've never
    heard porn drive people to go door-to-door and
    irritate people, advocate execution for violation
    of the 10 commandments (or sexual 'deviancy'),
    etc.
    As Tom Lehrer says "I do have a cause, it's
    obscenity. I'm for it"
  • To receive a complaint, two things have to happen:

    1. The kids have to access an unblocked porn, racist, bomb-making, or whatever-the-parents-don't-like site.
    2. The parents have to catch them.

    If the parents are using a blocking service, they aren't likely to feel a need to monitor the kids' internet use, so #2 isn't too likely. Therefore, receiving few complaints means nothing. NASA received few complaints about the shuttle until it exploded without warning.
  • Due to a managerial dictate, I am installing internet monitoring software on a machine in the IS dept. With this software we can view the pages people frequent, and block things like ebay, etc. The logs are very comprehensive, and serve to only block sites of people that abuse their privlages at work. I don't really like the idea of censoring the content in any way. But this is a corporate enviornment, and company has a right to restrict employees from abusing the companies resources, just like they would if someone spent hours on the phone about personal matters every day. I guess I'm pretty hypocritical since i am posting on slashdot right now, during work :-) Of course, since I am the administrator, I can make sure that I don't block any sites that I want to access!

    Spyky
  • There are a couple of big differences between the site lists and the current blockers. First off, you could choose multiple site lists, and add your own. Secondly, you choose your list independantly of your software. Currently, if I don't like the access I get with one site blocker, I have to buy new software to hook up with another one.

    As far as letting someone else decide, I don't deny that you would do that by buying lists. But we constantly let other people make important decisions in our lives. Many of us let accountants do our taxes, let doctors diagnose our illnesses, let mutual fund managers do our investing for us.

    This is not counter to keeping control. This world is extremely complicated; you simply cannot properly make all the decisions that need to be made in your life. That is why we submit to experts; we have doctors figure out why we're sick, mutual fund managers to handle our investments, lawyers to sue the idiot who ran into your car, geeks to keep our computers running.

    So long as we have a large population of competent experts, we can use them to keep as much control as we can stand. We find an expert that makes decisions the way we would if we had the time and skill (for example, we pick our mutual fund managers based on our agressiveness in investing). We may have several experts (split our money up between funds; have specialist doctors), and we still have final say. If we disagree with an expert, we take our business elsewhere.

    So it would be with lists. You could buy multiple lists (very good for special interests; NASA could make a smallish list of nothing but "safe" space exploration sites). You would also be able to add your own sites, or remove one that came from a list vendor. It all comes down to the question of "who do you trust?".

  • Let's suppose a kid wants to learn about digital video. There are quite a few sites on the net about it. What are the odds that the administrators of those sites would know about my new filtering service? Probably pretty low. So what you wind up doing is enormously limiting the possible inquiries your kid could make.

    That seems bad to me. Kids have an unlimited amount of curiosity about the world. I think this should be encouraged, and it can only be encouraged by unlimited or nearly unlimited access to information. If a kid hits a brick wall every time he wants to do something, he's going to get discouraged and watch TV.

    I really don't think we want that to happen.

    D

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  • Passing porn is definitely a bad thing, but the Bible, IMHO, should also be banned by these types of things. All material should be judged by the same criteria, regardless of whether the title of the book is "Huckleberry Finn" or "Fahrenheit 451" or "The Bible."

    "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." -Numbers 31:17-18

    Is that the type of filth we want our children to be allowed to read? Should we be teaching them that killing male children is OK, and if they're female children, keep them alive to use as sex slaves?
  • The problem is that the Bible itself has many morally "bad" passages, especially the Old Testament. You'll find God commanding His followers to rape, murder, pillage, etc. Despite saying in one place that killing is bad, God commands His followers to kill all the male children prisoners, and keep the female children prisoners for sex slaves. (I posted one of the relevant quotes in a separate reply to this article) Nice morally uplifting book there.
  • Funny comment, although truth-be-told true Christians don't advocate "execution" for sin, since the very premise of the religion was that Christ died as a ransom for the sins of all mankind.

    I say this only because it is all too easy for people to perpetuate stereotypes about others they don't agree with, understand or respect in order to make points that really aren't objective about others. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Hispanics, Women, Macintosh users, and the list is goes on and on.

    SPOILERS

    IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY A "BIBLE-THUMPING" CHRISTIAN WOULDN'T ADVOCATE MURDERING SOMEONE FOR BREAKING ONE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, READ ON. IF THE BIBLE BORES, OFFENDS, OR AMUSES YOU, BAIL OUT NOW.

    Christ was confronted by the religious hypocrites of his own day, the Pharisees, who wanted to "execute" a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery (for the record, one of the 10 commandments). See this response in the Gospel of John:

    Jhn 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
    Jhn 8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
    Jhn 8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
    Jhn 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
    Jhn 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
    Jhn 8:8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
    Jhn 8:9 And after hearing this they, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in his midst.
    Jhn 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are your accusers? has no man condemned thee?
    Jhn 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    Now, on the subject of pornography, another quote by the very same Christ, from the book of Matthew.

    Mat 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
    The point of all this? Christ himself shows that Christians who advocate "execution" for sin aren't Christians, simply pompous religious hypocrites. True Christians would fear Christ's warning here and elsewhere to "Judge not lest ye be judged". But true Christians also believe that ultimately a holy God will judge all mankind, even for sins of the mind (like lust)

    Of course, if you've made it this far in my post and you're seething in bugnut rage, don't be. I'm not telling anyone you have to believe in Christ, God, or anything, for that matter. You may believe whatever you wish. You may be more right than I am. Just be fair to others by learning what their belief systems really are, and not furthering erroneous stereotypes that happen to be popular.

    peace.

  • Every day I hear about "harmful" material, about how damaging it is to our kids' tender psyches to see porn. It seems like people take this for granted; I've seen almost nobody question the proposition that porn is bad for kids.

    I don't think there's anything that annoys me more than a proposition people take for granted, asserted in a million different ways but proved in none. This is especially true when I see the undeniably bad effects trying to get rid of the stuff has on people.

    Thoughts?

    D

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  • hmm...
    -= WARNING: COMMERCIAL PLUG =-
    People who need something like that might want to check out http://www.kiddonet.com.
    It only runs on WinBlows machine (gasp!) but all the server infrastructre is Open Source stuff (I know, i built the damn thing ;-) and it's free.
  • Sounds like the perfect call for an open source filter proxy. After all, if the source code were available to every user, they could do what they want with it, set up their own taboo lists, and not have to pay site licenses for this sort of bullshit. Maybe keep two different 'allow' and 'deny' lists, like tcpd does.

    Oh, and while we're at it, we could make it strip off ad banners too. ;-)
  • I think the reason at least some companies put blocking software on internet access is due to people whining and complaining. I remember when our company replaced all the computers. One day, suddenly everyone had a new box on their desk with this new thing called the internet. No instructions, training, or guidance on how to use it. Just hack and learn. Nothing like an unrestricted T1 pipe to the net!

    Well, there were a few problems. The network crawled to a halt a few times. Most have never had internet access and the wealth of information (porn) was new to them. They were like kids. Since I went through this phase several years ago at a university (who didn't?) I could see what was going on. It was a matter of time before there would be an outcry. One fateful day, the plant manager walked in an office with a few customers to be greeted with a computer monitor facing the door proudly displaying a porno screensaver.

    Then there was the complaints. The policy came swift and was draconian. Blocking software was installed. Places like dejanews were blocked for reasons I could not comprehend. What got me was many technical sites that possibly had specs on products were blocked.

    Blocking is nonsense. The masses craving porno is nonsense. People need to grow up, stop calling attention to this crap, and move on to better things.
  • It has been shown that throughout all history that the more any state (govt) tries to repress or ignore a certain set of ideas, that it eventually comes back to bite them in the butt. Namely in the form of a revolution. With that said, maybe this company and its software are the first steps twords that. This is a shoddy product that is used by many different branches of govt. Cities, counties, and in at least one case, a state itself. Slowly, and ever so, people are begining to realize what is happening, and when/if that critical mass of people do wake up, there will be trouble.

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.

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