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March 14, 2000


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Title: March 14, 2000

Internet Access Regular,
Filtered, or Menthol? Indiana Library Federation
Annual Meeting
March 14, 2000 Howard Rosenbaum
I. Introduction The problem access to
networked information II. Possible
solutions Legislative
Social III. Technical filters
What are they? How do they work?
How well do they work? IV. Conclusions
I. The problem Controlling access to networked
information Schools and libraries are in the
business of providing access to information
Internet access raises difficult issues
Should there be any restrictions on user
access? Do librarians or teachers have any
responsibility to monitor childrens use of
this resource? Should access to networked
information be treated as a collection
development task?
Can and should the Internet be censored by
filtering is a question bedeviling thousands of
public librarians who have rushed to embrace this
seemingly limitless and economical information
source only to find that it includes a distinctly
dark and dirty side. Bastian, J.B. (1998).
Filtering the Internet in American Public
Libraries Sliding Down the Slippery Slope.
First Monday 2(10) http//
How bad can it be? 11/98 60,000 adult sites
in the US http//
01/projects/ online- pornography/index.html NFOI
nteractive 42 of online kids (N346 avg 13)
have subscribed to a website or other service
85 of parents have rules against this, and 80
of kids say they know these rules 50 had
met a new friend online, evenly split among boys
and girls 42 of parents knew that their
children had done this http//
eractive/nfoipr60799.asp Greenfields Online
surveyed 1,350 households and 20 use
filtering software
Kids on the net
A scenario At a library or school Board meeting,
a coalition of parents makes a strong case that
the library or school should not be in the
pornography business Free and open access to the
net with children allowed to use the computers
means that librarians and teachers are no better
than the smut dealers They demand that filtering
software be installed on all net-accessible
computers that can be used by children
The Board asks you to respond - what do you
Or A parent asks to see your collection
development policy They notice what the library
or school will and will not buy They sit at
the nearest computer terminal and access
versions of the unacceptable material on the net
They call you over and ask you to explain why
it is that they (or their child) can access this
information with the library or schools
computer, but cant find it on the shelves How
do you respond?
FilteringNO! WHEREAS,On June 26, 1997, the US
Supreme Court issued a sweeping re-affirmation
of core First Amendment principles and held
that communications over the Internet deserve
the highest level of Constitutional
protection... ... RESOLVED, That the American
Library Association affirms that the use of
filtering software by libraries to block access
to constitutionally protected speech violates
the Library Bill of Rights ALA's Resolution on
the Use of Filtering Software in Libraries
Adopted July, 2, 1997
FilteringYES! Filtering Facts promotes the use
of filtering in libraries to protect children
from the harms of pornography All public
libraries should filter childrens access
Filtering for adults should be decided on a
community-by-community basis Goals of Filtering
Facts Educate the public and media about net
software filters Encourage libraries
to adopt filters Persuade the ALA to rescind its
Resolution on the use of filtering software in
libraries, and adopt a more tolerant view of
filtering http//
I. Introduction The problem access to
networked information II. Possible
solutions Legislative
Social III. Technical filters
What are they? How do they work?
How well do they work? IV. Conclusions
II. Possible solutions Legislative Indiana House
Bill 2069 Current Status first reading
referred to Committee on Education If you (the
school or public library) want your share of the
money and provide a public access computer that
minors can use, you must Use software that
limits the ability minors to access materials
determined to be inappropriate for them Purchase
net connectivity from an ISP that uses
filtering to limit access to materials
determined to be inappropriate for minors
At least once a year, the governing body of the
school or library shall hold a public meeting to
determine the range of material inappropriate
for minors Filters can then be set to prevent
minors from gaining access to these
materials This determination will reflect
community standards regarding materials
inappropriate for minors as evidenced during
the meeting A public access computer is a
computer that is Located in a public school or
public library Frequently or regularly used
directly by a minor and Connected to any
computer communication system
Child Online Protection Act of 1998 (HR
3783) Schools and libraries must implement
filtering or blocking technology for computers
with net access as a condition of universal
service discounts The school board, or other
authority must certify that it Has selected a
technology for its computers with net access to
filter or block access to Material that is
obscene and Child pornography and Is
enforcing a policy to ensure the operation of the
technology during use of such computers by
minors Signed into law 10/22/98
Certification for libraries A library with more
than 1 computer with net access used by the
public (including minors) shall certify that it
has installed and uses filtering or blocking to
restrict material deemed to be harmful to minors
on one or more of its computers with Internet
access A library with 1 public net access
computer used by the public (including minors)
can receive universal service assistance even if
it does not use a filtering or blocking
software It must certify to that it uses a
reasonably effective alternative to keep minors
from accessing material on the net deemed to be
S. 1619 Safe Schools Internet Act of 1998 (105th
reported to senate) Filtering software must be
installed on computers in schools and libraries
receiving federal subsidies Funds will be
withheld until certification is provided that
they have selected a system to filter or block
matter deemed to be inappropriate for
minors Libraries have to install software on one
or more of its computers with Internet access
The determination of what is inappropriate for
minors shall be made by the school, school
board, library and No agency of the Government
may establish criteria or review the
HR 369, Children's Privacy Protection and
Parental Empowerment Act of 1999 (106th in
subcommittee) This is a general childrens
privacy protection bill, with teeth It
criminalizes the sale by list brokers of
information about children under 16 without
written consent of the parent Parents have the
right to learn what information a broker has
disclosed and to whom It gives parents the
right to stop further disclosure It gives
parents a private right of action, with minimum
damages of 5,000
H.R. 3560 Online Privacy Protection Act of 2000
(106th in subcommittee) It requires the Federal
Trade Commission to prescribe regulations
protecting the privacy of personal information
collected from and about individuals not covered
by the COPPA (1998) It applies to people age 13
and above It provides greater individual control
over the collection and use of that information,
and for other purposes
S. 1545 Neighborhood Childrens Internet
Protection Act (106th in committee) No universal
service for schools or libraries that fail to
filtering or adopt internet use policies The
internet use policy must address minors Access
to inappropriate matter on the net/web Safety
and security when using email, chat rooms, and
other direct electronic communications
Unauthorized access, (hacking) and other
unlawful activities Unauthorized disclosure,
use, and dissemination of their personal
identification information and It also must
report use of technological means to limit,
monitor, or otherwise control or guide minors
net access
H.R. 543, 896 Childrens Internet Protection Act
(106th in subcommittee) A bill to require the
installation and use by schools and libraries of
a technology for filtering or blocking material
on the Internet on computers with Internet
access to be eligible to receive or retain
universal service assistance to the Committee on
Commerce H.R. 368 Safe Schools Internet Act of
1999 (106th in subcommittee) A bill to require
the installation of a system for filtering or
blocking matter on the Internet on computers in
schools and libraries with Internet access, and
for other purposes to the Committee on Commerce
Social responses to filtering Do nothing Get
sued to install filters (Kathleen R. v.
Livermore) Do something Get sued to because
filters have been installed (Loudoun
County) Develop an internet AUP and require
parental consent Ask patrons to regulate their
own activities Install filtering on all net
computers Install limited filtering Move
computers and/or use privacy screens Refuse to
install filtering
What librarians want Freedom of choice Web
management software should allow people to
choose for themselves and with their children
what they wish to view Guided search It should
guide users to quality sites Librarians should
know the criteria used for site selection and
who is doing the selection Data quality If a
library uses filters, the software should allow
librarians to review blocked sites It should
provide a mechanism to notify the company when
sites are blocked inappropriately
Privacy The software should clear the screen
after each use Users should not be able to not
know what previous users have viewed (health
information is a particular concern) Ease of
use The software should be multi-functional,
easy to administer and integrate well with
existing products March 12, 1999 meeting of
librarians and filtering companies at ALA in
Another social solution comes from industry
There are several self-regulation
initiatives Web site owners will require
verification or will label their own
sites Internet Content Summit http//www.stiftun
frameset_home.htm Standards These solutions
are largely voluntary and involve a
considerable degree of sophistication on the
part of the user to work PICS (Platform
for Internet Content Selection) P3P (Platform
for Privacy Preferences)
The Internet Content Rating Association was
formed in April 1999 as an independent,
non-profit organization Its mission is to
develop, implement and manage an internationally
acceptable voluntary self-rating system which
provides users with the choice to limit access to
content they consider harmful, especially to
children The Recreational Software Advisory
Council (RSAC) has formally folded into ICRA
which now manages and operates the RSACi rating
system http//
The RSAC is a non-profit based in Washington,
D.C It empowers the public (parents) to make
informed decisions about electronic media using
an open, objective, content advisory system The
RSACi system provides consumers with information
about levels of sex, nudity, violence, offensive
language (vulgar or hate-motivated) in games and
Web sites RSACi is used in browsers and Cyber
Patrol CompuServe (US and Europe) is committed
to rating its content with the RSACi
system http//
How PICS works
Service A label
Parent selects rating method
Service B label
Publishers label
Child using the net
Label reading software
P3P web sites express their privacy practices
and users exercise preferences based on those
practices Users are informed of site practices
when they access the site Access decisions
are largely automated Users can tailor
relationships with specific sites Sites with
practices within the users range of
preferences are accessed seamlessly If the
site is outside the range, users are notified of
its practices They can agree to those terms
or other terms and browse or leave
How P3P works
The site sets its P3P preferences
Click on a link
Request a page
Check them against your P3P data
Site sends P3P data
If not OK, negotiate
You set P3P preferences
If OK, accept page
If OK, accept page, if not, leave
I. Introduction The problem access to
networked information II. Possible
solutions Legislative
Social III. Technical filters
What are they? How do they work?
How well do they work? IV. Conclusions
Filters are mechanical tools wrapped around
subjective judgment. Schneider, K. (1998).
Internet Filter Assessment Project http//www.blu
Technical Hardware These solutions are built into
the machine and are designed to work without user
intervention Clipper chip Vchip Machine
ID Software Filtering and blocking
Why are you filtering? What types of materials
will be blocked? Where will the software be
located? Who will make the decisions and control
the software? When will the filters be turned on?
Filtering software works by controlling access to
the net It allows access to a restricted subset
of the net They can be placed on clients, on the
LAN, or on a proxy server
The net
On a web page, you can index the IP address, the
URL, metatags, the body, the graphics, and the
links Simple filters block URLs Complex filters
check all on-line activities Advanced filters
block access to web sites, chat rooms, e-mail,
file downloading, general browsing,
newsgroups This is based on addresses,
protocols, file types, and text They can log
time spent browsing and keep records of online
activity and some offline computing
Submit URL
The filtering process
For this user? At this time? This type of
site? This type of file?
Filter reviews request
Is this site allowed?
Yes No
See page
See denial page
Companies compete on the size and quality of
their databases which are compiled in a variety
of ways Inhouse, outsourced, or solicitation
from clients They compete on the ability of their
products to withstand assault and hacking Most
contain an encrypted database of objectionable
locations Only the company producing the
software knows exactly what is blocked and what
isnt They decide what is bad and what is
acceptable content
Types of databases Blacklists these files list
all sites that are blocked A site is brought to
the attention of the company, examined and
compared to a list of criteria Offending sites
are placed into one or more categories,
(profanity, full nudity, drug use, violence)
These categories differ among filtering
products Most commercial filter vendors do not
publish their blacklists Most users never
see the full list of pages that are blocked

Some products now allow limited editing of the
Keyword blocking software developers (or others)
come up with a list of objectionable terms A
page cant load if it contains any word in the
stop list (or it will load with the
blocked) Current commercial products do not
handle exceptions where otherwise acceptable
pages are blocked because of a word that appears
on the stop list Breast cancer, sexually
transmitted diseases The problem is that
keywords have no context SuperBowl XXXIV will
be blocked
Whitelists these are similar to blacklists
except they contain the URLs of pages that can be
seen The developers gather a list of
appropriate sites All others are blocked A
whitelist provides a very limited view of the
net However, it is almost 100 effective in
blocking all pornography and other offensive
material Whitelists are typically not
published Some products allow the customer to
add or delete certain sites
Examples Cyberpatrol (30.00 30.00/yr for
updates) It provides parents, teachers, day care
professionals - anyone responsible for
childrens access to the net - with the tools
they need to get a handle on an area which can
be very dangerous for kids. CyberNOT block list
- researched sites containing material parents
may find questionable Criteria
This list is twice as comprehensive as
competitive lists, blocking OVER 15,000
Internet resources! CyberYES allowed sites list
- 40,000 researched sites containing only
appropriate material for children http//www.cybe
Net Nanny (26-200.00 - 20 users) Does Net Nanny
allow full discretion over what is blocked? Net
Nannys screening lists are completely user
defined and allow parents to screen and block
any words, phrases, sites and content according
to their particular values - not a developer's
arbitrary selection or the Governments! Does
Net Nanny provide any site lists? We provide
Net Nanny users with site lists, researched by
our staff and other 3rd party childrens advocacy
groups but they are fully editable Net Nanny
monitors all online activity including Web
browsers, Newsgroups, FTP's, IRC and standard
email http//
Surfwatch (40-50.00) It provides your
institution with a powerful and easy to
implement solution to protect students from
exposure to objectionable or harmful content on
the net It blocks access to more than 100,000
explicit sex, violence, drug, and gambling
sites, including 200 chat channels, and
millions of URLs The Educational Edition
features Secure Learning categories, and starts
students off with access to only respected
educational sites such as Yahooligans!,
Childrens Television Workshop, and
others http//
Library Safe Internet System It is built for the
library and the classroom environment It allows
the librarian and teacher Total Empowerment in
deciding which web sites should be blocked on
which computer terminals, and at what time Is
LibrarySafe 100 tamper-proof? Yes the
software is located at the network-level and
only authorized personnel have access to the
filter Patrons cannot tamper with
it http//
How can a library system implement its unique
filtering policy using LibrarySafe? It gives
the library its own Private Internet Filter to
give you the power to decide what, where, and
when a site will be filtered. Your staff can
design its own white- and blacklists It has a
special password protected web page where you
can add and delete those URLs you have decided
are appropriate or inappropriate It is a server
based system with a site database, rating codes,
and stop words
Filtering and blocking software
Bess Cyber Sitter Cyber
Patrol Cyber Snoop CyberLibrar
y EdView I-Gear

The Library Channel Net Nanny Net Shepherd Smart
Filter Surfwatch WebSense X-Stop
How well do they work? Smartfilter was used in
Utah public libraries and schools by the state
educational network (UEN) It uses 27 categories,
any or all of which can be activated UEN
uses five sex, gambling, criminal skills, hate
speech, drugs It has no access to
Smartfilters blacklist, does not make
additions to it and makes very few removals The
Secure Computing Corp, San Jose makes decisions
about what Utah students, adults and library
patrons can view over the net http//censorware.or
A small percentage of sites are blocked
Time Period Total Accesses
Total Banned 20 days
205,737 20 days (no banners
15,434,442 (.62) 95,059 (.56)
or images) Sex Drugs
Hate Criminal skills Gambling 193,272
1,588 791 4,934
5,772 86,957 1,298
526 3,753
But some interesting sites were among those
All about oil exploration http//www.pollution.
com/ Computer game reviews http//www.kickass.c
om/ Shakespeares Tragedies http//wiretap.spies.c
/ Mr. Science (things that go boom) http//www2. HateWatch
(anti-hate speech site) http//
rames.html Bloomington Brewing Company http//bbc. The Starr
report http//
Some resources used in this talk The Internet
Filter Assessment Project http//www.bluehighways.
com/tifap/ IFAP Internet Access Management
Options http//
s.html Filtering Facts http//www.filteringfacts
.org/ http//
eports/utah/ W3C PICS http//
PICS/iacwcv2.htm FCC Parents, Kids
Communications http//
ion/browsing This presentation will be on the
web at http//
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