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And Now The Government Says Filters Don't Work?

from the depends-on-the-situation-apparently dept

It’s always fun to see how arguments change over time. A few years ago, when the federal government put in place a rule that schools and libraries needed to put internet filters on all computers if they wanted to keep receiving federal funds, there was a lawsuit claiming that filters don’t work very well and they tend to block out lots of perfectly legitimate content. The government, on the other hand, argued that filters work well enough and there was nothing wrong with mandating them. Eventually, the Supreme Court agreed, and said the federal government could mandate filters. Now, in a separate case concerning the “Child Online Protection Act” (which has been bouncing around the courts for 8 years), that has been twice hit by Supreme Court injunctions over the likelihood that the law is unconstitutional, it seems that the ACLU will be arguing that filters are just dandy as a solution to protecting kids, while the federal government (thanks to data a bunch of search engines freely handed over) will be arguing that filters suck and are ineffective. So, which is it? Either filters are ineffective and useless at protecting kids or they’re important tools that need to be in place to protect our kids? Apparently, it all depends on which court case we’re dealing with at the moment.

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Comments on “And Now The Government Says Filters Don't Work?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What scares me is I think you’re wrong. They don’t have their heads up their asses – it’s all intentional.

Educate those around you and call bullshit when you see it. We need people to go to the polls and elect more people who have a freash take on how to deal with our country – they’re out there people; stop playing the two-party game and vote for independants or one of the minority parties.

Twinkiman says:


well, lets see… If we have one group of people trying to create filters to keep kids safe. Then we have another group trying to circumvent those filters to put filth in kids hands. But wait, we also have the group that wants everything to be open for whatever reason (mostly that filters don’t work). Don’t forget the kids themselves trying to get at this stuff.

It seems to me like we have a constant battle for who comes out on top. Most people agree they want to protect kids. The problem enters in on how to go about doing that. The two main solutions are either filters or more parental involvement. The problem with both of those however is that they can’t keep up with the rate of technology very well. Come on, how many middle aged parents are going to know what pr0n or even what a proxy server is. Kids are a difficult bunch to work with because they don’t know any better, are persistant, and can adapt quickly.

My vote is to have every parent sit down with their kids and go looking for smut. Parents can educate kids on what filth can do to their lives. Plus if the kids know their parents do it, it quite possibly won’t continue as it’s cool anymore.

dorpus says:

Would the Dalai Lama Censor This?

If Tibet became “free” by Chinese withdrawal, would the Dalai Lama want you to see these images? He is holding the hand of Shoko Asahara, the cult leader who gassed a bunch of people on the Tokyo subway with sarin.


Nicholas says:

Okay I’m from Australia not from the US and let me tell you. Filters are awful. They ban just about everything from Google Image search to web hosting, e-mail services, forums, chat, irc, msn, aim, etc… Virtually everything on the internet. I’d much rather use my internet at home. Now you might say you should only do homework. WELL half of those sites are filtered too.

Dainichi says:

Re: Re:

It’s the same in the US. The College I goto has a ridicules proxy setup, i have tried on numerous occasions to access email, research sites, etc and they come up *_slowly_* if at all, (this includes a site that i have to use for my homework) they are not actually denying me but the sites come up so slowly they might as well be denied. this only started happening after the state ruled to ban Personal sites (ie myspace, facebook etc.)from public/gvmnt terminals. we can still get in (if we have the patience of a sloth) but nott with ant time left to do anything

chris (profile) says:

public access == anonmymity

that’s the problem with computers at libraries and internet cafes. if a person is using a computer to do something that someone considers wrong, you can’t track them down if they use public terminals.

it’s better to confine everyone to their homes and offices so they are eaiser to track down when they surf for the wrong stuff.

so what if poor kids don’t get a chance to use the net for kid stuff (like myspace). so what if people can’t do legitmate research. so what if that’s the only way that you can expose your company’s wrongdoings anonymously.

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