It was probably the most tits and ass the San Jose, California city hall has hosted in recent memory. By official means, anyhow. In the center of Silicon Valley on Friday evening, about two dozen people sat in the public chamber watching city councilman Pete Constant cruise the internet for porn. With a satisfied look on his …
I wonder how many sites glorifying gun ownership with vids of pig carcasses being shot get blocked?
In other words, whose porn is getting let through? Offensive doesn't necessarily mean pictures of nekkid people.
Man's a twat - did he look that one up?
'computer-related sex crimes'
Did anyone else see that and initially think it meant something else?
Mine's the one with the length of CAT5 sticking out of the pockets.
Is this the same 'Websense' that forms a part of the much criticised Phorm technology being foisted on us by BT, Virgin and TalkTalk. Or is the name just coincidental, which does seem unlikely given trade mark protection.
Are we then to assume that the charming, but unscrupilous, Kent Ertegrul is behind this and dictating what may and may not be censored, or even that censorship should occur?
The solution is simple
Just tell them the library is looking at what they're doing. They'll be less enthusiastic at looking at free porn then
... is the biggest crock of shit ever for web filtering.
I used to have it at school. It filtered more genuinely innocent information than actual sexual content.
It is a public library
In the same way that most (if not all) public libraries do not usually make porn available to the general public, I think that Mr Public Librarian does have a point, Libraries famously banned D.H: Lawrence worls for many, many years. I am sure that most libraries do ban the more scurrilious (glossy) publications from their shelves for very good reasons (community standards, anyone), So why should a public interweb workstation be treated any differently by the be-spectacled grannies that usually run these places ? hmm.....
see what they are viewing in this library .. :)
Users potentially associated with the ip "188.8.131.52" by login,
vote, and comment:
Does openDNS work well with blocking pornographic content? I never have tested it myself. Maybe it's time to try it for myself to see if it does any better than the other "solutions" out there.
Let the rich have their internet porn but it is important to restrict the lower orders. Anyone who has to use the computer in a library would be a perfect example, they're obviously poor and thus powerless to fight back, perfect for some american style lawmaking.
It'll be prohibition all over again, and nothing bad came of that.
People have the right to unfiltered internet access...
...but I don't think they have the right to demand a public library supply it to them gratis.
If I were a library, deploying filtering and logging software would be a complete no-brainer... at the very least so sites that voluntarily tag as porn with opt-in sites get filtered.
No software is perfect (and if I were configuring it I'd prefer false negative - prornn gets through - then false positive - legit sites get blocked) but no thing is perfect, and nothing is substantially worse.
At least El Reg found...
...the "Pole Dancing Barbie" doll for the kicker icon. Great little toy: put it on your desk at work if you want to quit. Available at major Geek stores (like Fry's) everywhere...
Oh, and lest Austin think I didn't read the article:
I believe it was Phillip Roth, in his novel "Goodbye, Columbus" that had a scene with a young boy who would come to the New York Public Library every day to gaze upon naked pictures in art books. This was, of course, from back in the early 1960's - and the book itself was swirled around the sexual habits of two college students. But I digress...
The bottom line is that human knowledge includes a lot of things that are upsetting to a lot of people. The purpose of a library is NOT to segregate out the "upsetting" material, but to provide a repository of knowledge - even that which is offensive to others. The internet is just one more repository of human artifacts - many offensive, many, many more useful - but all should be freely available -- ESPECIALLY at a library -- with the understanding that you may find things you don't like in there.
If "community standards" prohibit offending adults - and children - with potential upsetting material, then close the damn library. Because SOMEBODY is going to be offended by ANYTHING in a library - whether it is Da Vinci's art or a copy of the Koran - and you can't stop one without giving grounds to stopping the other.
As the AC above points out, D.H. Lawrence was banned from libraries for years. I attended a high school in Kansas that "banned" all sorts of books from the library - including science fiction that was "biblically offensive" and even books that were on my homework assignments in literature. (Yeah, this is the same bunch that wants to stop teaching evolution in schools - if they had their way, the library would have only one book - the Bible - and NOT the one my (Catholic) wife uses.) We had to travel to Kansas City, Missouri and use THEIR library (or go to the University bookstore and BUY the book) in order to access material that was no longer available locally for education.
These were not ignorant farmers, but prosperous middle-class adults, led by a small, well-funded group of bigots, that instituted these restrictions on literature. George Orwell (banned) would have been proud of THAT "Animal Farm".
A certain NHS hospital decided to use Websense.
Out of the box it filtered NHS for some reason....
But can someone please explain the following to me:
a. pornography corrupts.
b. because we need protecting, there are people who are paid to watch out for pornography to make sure that our eyes are not unsullied and our characters remain intact.
c. the people who protect us from pornography by watching it every day are normal, decent (uncorrupted) people.
The Phorm "product" is called NetSense, not Websense.
Websense is an entirely separate company, as a quick google would tell you. So no, the name is not "coincidental", because it's a completely different name.
Here at my library...
They have a person looking at miniaturized screens of everyone's computers, and they can click on one to blow it up, then go boot 'em out if they're doing something "inappropriate." (e.g., chatting on MSN.) I think they also have some sort of filter as well.
My solution: install Linux (or if they really want to be a pain, DOS) sans GUI and make them run Lynx. (Not links, since that has a graphical mode.) Have a few Windows machines or whatever not connected to the internet for word-processing and other uses.
Did anyone else find the quote "We remain concerned, incredibly concerned." incredibly amusing?
Don't envy anybody in that can o' worms...
regulating the computers at the library is a very slippery slope for anybody to lock horns with. At best, about the only thing a library should do, at least, as applicable to the US Constitution, is try to guard against malware.
Under our laws, most forms of porn are protected speech, providing it doesn't involve minors, etc. So, blocking porn would be considered censorship and that would putting local, state and federal government in the precarious position of stomping all over first amendment rights.
An easy way wround the whole mess, would be to have two computer labs... One that was completely unfiltered, that could only be used by people over 18, or providing they were supervised by a parent or guardian.
The other lab would have the full set of filters, proxy servers and web content filters that would "protect" the kids from the hard core stuff...
But considering how things have been going to hell in the 30+ years since I've been to school, exposure to porn is probably one of the least of everybody's worries.
I've been looking at porn since the first month I logged onto a BBS at 2400 baud sometime in the early 1990s. I remember waiting literally minutes for a single image to download, and using an app/protocol (the name of which escapes me now) which displayed the image as it was downloading, slowly displaying scan line by scan line. I remember the thrill and excitement of it. I was age 14, well under the age at which one is legally allowed to view such material. And yet, I remain unharmed. I have never raised my hand in anger at anyone, have never been involved in any altercation, have never had any problems with crime, and have never viewed women in any demeaning or degrading way. And I'm sure I'm not alone; I'm sure many of you have similar backgrounds.
In the United States, the "moral" "majority" has so much power and influence that flashing a nipple for half a second on a television broadcast results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, which today (given the incredible increase in the maximum fine allowed by the FCC) would be multi-million-dollar fines. All because of a nipple, the same thing we all started life sucking on. It's sadly amusing that overweight men with large breasts are allowed to proudly display their hefty breasts, and yet a flat-chested woman is not allowed to. So it doesn't even have anything to do with the size of the breasts. So what is it? Why are a woman's breasts so much dangerous to society than a man's breasts? Why is it that in some European nations, people don't have a problem with women baring their breasts? And why is it that in those places, breasts are not stigmatized and objectified the way they are here in the United States? Anybody who can answer those questions already has the answer; anybody who cannot answer those questions refuses to listen to the answer.
However, as much as I know that nudity, sex, and porn are not the evil scourge the "moral police" claim they are, I do believe that communities have the right to decide what should be allowed in their communities. I'll repeat that. Communities, not out-of-touch politicians without input from said communities, have the right to decide what should be allowed in their communities. And so, if they want to install content filters on the library computers, I would wholeheartedly support it, conditional on the following (in this order):
1. Hold a community (city/county) vote, asking if the community feels content-filtering is necessary. Only proceed if the majority (more than 50%) of those voting vote yes to content-filtering.
2. Explicitly define what is to be filtered out. Vague, ambiguous, and relative terms such as "pornography" and "obscenity" are not acceptable; provide an explicit definition of all terms so that anybody reading the list can accurately identify what is to be filtered out, without having to guess, and without having to rely on their own personal beliefs or morals to fill in the blanks. Since this is supposed to reflect the standards of the community, ask for (and implement) the suggestions of the community as to what they feel should be filtered out.
3. Find (or create) a content filter, either hardware or software, that rigidly adhered to the above-mentioned definitions only.
4. Allow the source of the content filter to be reviewed by any person or organization who wishes to do so, at their own (reasonable) expensive and without having to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and allow a method (SHA-1, MD5, etc) for the binary to be verified against the source (to prove that that the binary is, in fact, built from the provided source).
5. Allow individuals, organizations, and website agents (owners, administrators, and tech support) to inform the content-filter administrator of false-positives and provide a reasonable method to quickly remove the false-positive sites from the filter.
6. Provide an escalation route for the individuals, organizations, and website agents mentioned above if the content-filter administrator fails to remove a false-positive site from the filter (this step is to prevent the content-filter administrator from substituting his/her own sense of morality for that of the community).
7. Make it absolutely clear (by using visual signs and/or indicators) that the computers are implementing content-filtering).
There are probably a number of things I forgot, but this would be a good start.
Did I miss something?
So the local council doesn't want filtering. So they would rather get sued by some rampantly stupid "Soccer-Mom" 'cos she let little Bradley Junior III looked up "giant asses", than cough up for a little filtering software? We have Websense at my tin-pot little company 'cos they know they simply don't need the grief if some dick decides to bring the into disrepute, 'cos they are so stupid as to not realise that looking up pr()n, games and other such non-work related tosh is a no-no, even though it states it quite clearly in the joining bumph, "misuse company equipment, get the boot"!
Sorry but in public places were others how may not have a choice but to see it and get offended, I believe you need filtering, but in private locations, where you have control and are prepared to accept the consequences of your actions, then you have to make the decision. So if "Soccer-Mom" lets little Bradly see it on the home PC, she's no one to blame but herself, of course this is the States, so some lawyer is bound to find some poor sap to sue for corrupting little Bradley!
Personally I support this
It was bypassing the porn filters on the network at school that first gave me a real world application for all that "sad" computing I'd been doing for years and showed me that knowledge truly is power.
And cash if you can charge per page of made to measure pre-ordered high quality pornography.
This will encourage the children to really use their brains and problem solving skills to bypass the filter, and teach them about computer networks and how their security is flawed. They're making the next generation of black and white hats right there.
Im not sure what i'm commenitng on
Becasue the filter in place here has blocked this story for some reason
Phorm is NetSense, and WebWise I think? Easy to get them mixed up though...
I've implemented Websense before and had no end of problems ever since, biggest heap of junk I've ever had to deal with.
Mk1 Eyeball and Disable Account ftw :p
They obviously left out an important set of users when they did the requirements specification, "wankers".
Did no-one suggest...
...that he googled "anonymous proxy"?
Just one getting through makes a mockery of the whole filter idea.
"Pegram wasn't troubled over sites that were erroneously blocked. "Nothing's perfect," he said. "There's no perfect system out there.""
he is right "nothing" is the perfect filtering system
when I ran a internet cafe my system was to keep an eye on pepol and use a screen montering software when I was suspisious a group of tenage boys who chouse the computer in the corner and sat there gigleing and glancing around suspicosuley where likely canderdets eg
Make his & his supporters responsible for the computers & filtering. Then when someone wants to sue (because little Bradly, or Candie, saw some tits; or Homer & Moe who couldn't see any tits) Then they can explain to the Judge that they wanted to control what was available and so the local council let them control it. That should be good for a few bankruptcies.
Paris - cos she would _never_ allow her bits to be displayed on the intrawebby
Just fire up Driftnet:
and sit and watch. Click to download dodgy stuff for 'evidence'.
Of course, certain liberties are guaranteed, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press ... and (implied) freedom to search/view "nubile ebony teens" ...
On the other hand, certain liberties are not allowed, such as shouting "Fire" in a theater without an actual fire being present, carrying conceled firearms (in most areas/circumstances) ...
Freedom to walk through a public place such as a library without having to be faced with such a thing is also 'sort of' implied.
There is a balance, and one that I'm sure will ultimately be reached ... perhaps we simply have an "Adult" section as well as a "Public" section for computer use ... we've had the 'curtain' in video stores for years ... it seems to offer the most effective balance between Disney and Spanky-Vision. There is a balance -- I should be able to take my children to the video store without them being exposed to the PIC's on the front of some videos ... at the same time, if I choose to rent "Three Girls and No Babies", I should have every right to.
No system is perfect, but the good news is: While we're sitting at the library, we're allowed certain freedoms. With those, of course, comes a certain limitations to those freedoms.
Many of the comments above are a bit on the extreme side of things ... there are grey areas associated with freedom ... it's a common-sense argument ...
... Gotta go ... my download of "Dirty Secrest" is almost finished ...
<-- Mine's the one with the rabbit fur lined pockets and "tea" stains
The public pay$ for the library, so they should be able to surf for p0rn if they want to.
StillNoCouch: my thoughts exactly....
and google, etc, etc, etc should have **no part** in filtering - there are proper programs to do this like netnanny, etc for those prudes that want it.. and just like the video shop, you should be able to show your registration, to show you CAN handle the stuff....
As for your 'little kiddies' there is a common rule used on the internet:
FYOS rule: - If you would not like your Four Year Old Sister seeing it, then do not do so... and link to that with BIG warnings..
EDUCATION is far more effective for 'curious kids' - most loving families will have explained about relationships and love, so that it is treated with respect...
beyond that, if you search for it, you will find it, even in a dictionary!
Censorship does it really protect or does it harm?
Why is it considered appropriate in every country I've ever visited for people 16-18 to see movies where people get explicitly dismembered, by chainsaws, swords, blown to bits, raped, beaten, etc.
But the very same country censors a picture of a nude woman, bans breasts in public or even on late night tv - sometimes with those stupid graphics - forbids adults from viewing explicit sex - stuff that most adults have done in their own bedrooms?
Where is the sense, if pornography (the whole spectrum, from just topless onwards) is soo bad, then those that grow up as naturists, must be absolute bonkers - they see nude people all the time, right from a very young age.
Countries that have a relaxed relationship to nudity, must have highly corrupted youths, and lots of crime and sexual violence - right ? But the facts is violence, and crime in the permissive countries are not worse than those that are prohibitive, sexual crime isn't higher, etc..
So what is the point of censuring pornography, most children will say "yuck" (I remember from when I was very young) when they see it - they might be embarressed, or just dislike it - that is they're not interested, however if they are interested, should they not learn about it? - the facts, but since that is unavailable in prohibitive countries, their only option is to search out porn, because they have no resources to find out about the real thing, they can only learn about the fantasy porn world. Porn is mainly interesting because it is forbidden, and they are not allowed to see it, thus to find information, satisfy their curiosity, and do the "forbidden" thing, porn becomes extremely interesting.
I am born in a permissive country (Denmark), but grew up in a relatively restrictive country (Australia), where sex was not allowed to be discussed in schools, nor by doctors, the first time I got any information from society about sex, was when I was 17, and in my last 2 weeks before University. Mind you at that age I doubt the doctors could tell me anything I didn't know. Worst of all, the doctor who was to run the session was NOT allowed to give information, unless explictly asked for, so you have 200 year 12 students in a hall, and you expect someone to stand up and say, I don't know what oral sex is, or what are the health risks ? - you gotta be crazy if you think 17 year olds will feel comfortable to expose their lack of knowledge by asking such questions.
Working with the statistics that kids are becoming sexually active at 13-15 years of age (with each other, not talking pedofile here), it is absolutely insane that many societies are in absolute denial - censoring everything while claiming they want to "protect" children (and adults) from corruption, being shocked, etc resulting in kids experimenting, without knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases, without knowledge about birth prevention all in the name of protecting kids.
Society is causing more harm than good in their rush to protect children, ofc it should not be forced down young people's throats, but it is important that youthes receive information when they need it, and not reprimands, shock and/or prohibition, as it is extremely counter productive.
My point is forbid something, then it becomes more interesting, as you awaken human curiosity, and human nature to chase the forbidden fruit, the same goes for alcohol, drugs, kiddy porn, etc, the more talk about prohibition, the more illegal it is made, the more people will be drawn to it by human curiosity - it is human nature.
With respect to Porn, if society loosened up a bit, and provided information to curious youths, they might find it even more effective than any kind of censorship, as it just becomes boring, and kids would probably not even be interested, nor affected by seeing it.
There are two major problems with filtering:
(1) It won't properly work unless they block the web as default option. Some stuff will always get through / someone will find out how to circumvent the filters. So filtering is impractical and the loss of legitimate sites is a high price to pay for it.
(2) There will be a constant fight about what should be permitted. Anyone remember the cold war? Freedom versus Suppression? There was a reason why freedom was seen as a value in itself - it's a slippery slope if the councils / governments start to tinker with it. It's pictures today, inciting articles tomorrow, and eventually they'll find a reason to suppress any inconvenient opinion.
On the other hand, with the Eastern bock dissolved someone has to make sure the traditions won't die. Carry on then...
"1. Hold a community (city/county) vote, asking if the community feels content-filtering is necessary. Only proceed if the majority (more than 50%) of those voting vote yes to content-filtering."
Why should anyone else get to determine what information *I* am allowed to access? Suppose they vote to block information about abortion or safe sex practices? Or maybe they vote to suppress anything positive about homosexuals but allow anti-gay propaganda? The majority opinion is not always right.
Fight for your right to traumatize!
This isn't about what information people are allowed to access, it's about when people have a right to display pornographic material to the public.
I was once on the subway, and a guy was watching a hardcore porno movie on his laptop PC. There were children within view of it and all the parents had to try to cover this guy's PC up so the kids couldn't see it.
It's one thing to say people shouldn't be able to read certain information in a public library, but it's totally different when people want to display porno for passersby. I don't think those filtering programs are any good either. I think they should have some kind of serious fine they can slap on people if they're caught viewing pornographic images on these public computers, or even on their own computer if it's where the public can view it. If somebody ran up to a group of school children and held up some hardcore picture, I don't think a judge would be trying to decide if it was pornographic or not. I don't really think people have some inalienable right to view pornography on the tax payer's dime. If there was a way they could do it so no one else could possible see it, I'd have much less of a problem with it.
But I really don't think making the internet accessible to the public for free is such a priority, while a lot of people seem to think it's vital.
If it were only a nipple...
Chris C., I don't this is about the user possibly seeing a nipple, it's about kids walking buy and seeing serious pumpage going on.
I don't have a problem with adults viewing all the porn they want, I just don't think tax dollars should go to funding people potentially running their own little pornographic movie theaters which anyone can walk past and see.
@ Steven Hunter
Good point. If you're going to go around practicing democracy, it's always worth bearing in mind that quite a large proportion of people are really fucking stupid.
It is not clear that installing a text-only browser would be a great solution.
1) There are perfectly legitimate web sites that are so heavy on
2) It would make it impossible to read image scans of books.
3) Although eliminating graphical content would indeed remove
the shocking display of nudity, it would not prevent anyone from reading
prnographic texts such as Petrone's "Satyricon", or the Marquis de Sade's
"120 Days of Sodom" provided OCR scans exist somewhere on the web.
I completely agree. I should have been more specific in my earlier post -- my thinking of those conditions were for public-facing computers, those computers where there is a high probability that anyone (from child to adult) will walk by the computer and see what is on the screen. While I am against censorship, I do feel there are *some* things we should be able to shield from the public unless they ask for it. For example, how many of us here would really want to walk into the library and see goatse as we're walking past the computer section to get a book?
Having said that, I also feel there should be computers in a private room, with each computer in its own private area (separate room, curtains, cubicle, etc) which are completely unfiltered and not monitored (no cameras, no logging) so that people can look up information without fear, prejudice, or embarrassment (sexuality, STDs, medical information, politics, protests, etc).
The sad thing is that no filtering would be necessary if: 1) people were considerate of those around them, and 2) people who are offended by something simply shrug it off instead of looking for someone to sue.
Why not get the internet to add new domain names such as .sex, .xxx, etc so that it is easy to filter out whatever you want to filter out. I think that this is a very serious issue in practice because I knew someone who was sacked for looking at porn during work time. They wanted to get rid of him so they used this as an excuse to get rid of him and not pay him any redundancy or whatever companies pay to get rid of someone.
If you want to really see something obscene, look at the side view of the councilman.
"computer-related sex crimes"
Next, there will be laws specific for "computer-related sex crimes" too? Or do they exist already? That would be just FUD and the like, of course. The old laws, "indecent exposure", etc. would do perfectly nice, no?
Great idea, .sex .xxx.... but it seems you have missed to long discussing about it a while ago.
just say no
just say NO to public censorship of this kind. I ran into a similar situation at my local library where the far right wackos wanted to have the librarians be censors 'cos poor mommy and daddy were too busy to be at the library with their kids and KNOW what they were doing; much less where they were doing it. Eventually they came up with a "kids" library card which I guess is supposed to restrict certain things, but I refused to allow the censor-tards to foist that crap on my kids and gave a small piece of my mind to them at the public meeting on the matter. I'm sure there's some level of filtering going on there as we have the same tards at the highest level of US gummint. Last thing i need is some other idiot polluting my kids' minds....that my job.
ok, going now....that's mine...the long one buttoned up the front
@Robert Griffin re: Censorship
"Why not get the internet to add new domain names such as .sex, .xxx, etc so that it is easy to filter out whatever you want to filter out."
I mean no disrespect by asking, but are you relatively new here? The reason I ask is that ICANN *was* thinking about adding a new TLD (top-level domain) specifically for porn (yes, it was ".xxx"). The link above is, I believe, the latest news about it, where ICANN decided to reject it.
You might think the pro-filtering folks would love the idea of a TLD just for porn since it would make it easy to filter out everything from all of those domains. They didn't. For some reason, they were against it. I don't remember the specifics, but it appears it was all political, though they claim it wasn't. Those against the creation of the .xxx TLD claimed there was no guarantee that it would help (in other words, no guarantee that content producers would only use the new TLD). You'd think they'd be happy to have any method which could be used to more easily and more effectively filter the content, regardless of whether the method is perfect or not. Using their logic, we might as well not use spam filters, because some spam still gets through.
@Anonymous Coward re: just say no
"... 'cos poor mommy and daddy were too busy to be at the library with their kids and KNOW what they were doing; much less where they were doing it."
First, I'll point out that these ideas of content-filtering are not specifically for "protecting" children. They are to prevent material from being displayed that the community finds offensive -- both adults and children. Whether you agree with filtering or not is up to you. But if you are going to comment on it, you should at least acknowledge it's true intent. Moving on...
Did you just imply that parents should accompany their children everywhere they go, 24/7? So if you had a child in high school (grades 9-12, roughly ages 14-17), you would accompany them to the library so that you could "KNOW what they were doing"? I'm all for better parenting, as the decline of parenting skills and lack of care in this country has reached pitiful levels. But unless you're an extremely overbearing parent who is very wealthy (so that you don't have to work), you will never be able to accompany and monitor your child 24/7.
"Last thing i need is some other idiot polluting my kids' minds....that my job."
And if your comment is anything to go by, you'll do an excellent job of it.
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