Library Group To Target Secrecy Of Filter Vendors

from the good-for-them dept

Since the Supreme Court is now making it tougher for libraries to avoid using internet filters on their computers, a library group has decided to turn their attention to the ridiculous secrecy surrounding what those filters actually block. Most filtering companies won’t reveal what they’re blocking, claiming that it’s a trade secret. The problem, of course, is that there’s no way to review what’s being blocked to make sure it actually deserves to be blocked. So, the American Library Association is asking the filtering companies to open themselves up to some scrutiny, and let people review exactly what they’re filtering and what criteria they use to build their filters. Of course, the filtering companies have absolutely no interest in telling anyone this information. What they’re really afraid of is that if they reveal that info, people will realize that these filters don’t work very well. However, with the ALA recommending that libraries only use filters that have the list revealed, it could take away business from those companies that still want to remain in the dark.

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Comments on “Library Group To Target Secrecy Of Filter Vendors”

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Bob Bechtel says:

What are the standards for compliance with CIPA?

Does the legislation provide any standards for performance of the blocking/filtering software? If not, how about an open-source, zero-price to libraries solution? If there are no standards, it doesn’t have to do a very good job — in fact, it could just arbitrarily filter a single site (perhaps Sen. Hatch’s?) thus satisfying the requirements of law while enabling librarians to keep their budgets under control and their tradition of unfettered access alive.

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