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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Bob Bechtel, 25 Jun 2003 @ 5:09am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jun 2003 @ 12:13am

    No Subject Given

    Why don't the libraries band together and form
    a consortium to write a filter specifically for
    library use? Doing this would probably be a lot
    less expensive than buying commercial filters,
    and then they would know exactly how it works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.