mamamusings: June 26, 2003

elizabeth lane lawley's thoughts on technology, academia, family, and tangential topics

Thursday, 26 June 2003

supernova/blogger party in dc

The Supernova conference is fast approaching (just made my plane reservations! yay!), and so is Joi’s party. The party’s not just for Supernova attendees, however. It’s open invitation to bloggers generally, and I’m surprised to see the (relatively) short list of attendees on Joi’s wiki.

(Well, maybe less surprised than I would be if I didn’t have such a bad attitude about wikis… )

At any rate, if you’re in or close to the DC area on Monday July 7th, I hope you’ll come to the party. Just add yourself to the list!

Posted at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (2)
more like this: friends

banned blogs

Last night, after working out, I went out for a beer with my friends Weez and Cathy. We were standing in the front hallway of The Distillery, waiting for a table on the patio, when I noticed the “free Internet” kiosk. To kill time, I tried pulling up my blog to see if there were new comments.

Instead of my blog, however, I got a dialog box that said “Access to this site has been restricted at the request of this organization.” Hmmm. Tried my main page—no problem. But the blog had been banned.

By whom? Wrong question. Not a person, but the filtering software that the bar was using. I’m guessing it was the “Shut the F*** Up” reference from Tuesday’s post that triggered the filter, but there’s really no way to be sure, since filtering companies won’t tell you what their algorithm for restriction is based upon.

This is particularly worthy of note given Monday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act). The CIPA “forbids public libraries to receive federal assistance for Internet access unless they install software to block obscene or pornographic images and to prevent minors from accessing material harmful to them.”

One of the reasons that libraries were among the most vocal critics of the CIPA is that filtering software is notorious for its “false positives”—web sites with valid constitutionally protected speech that it mistakenly bans.

A real person evaluating my blog for suitability in a library setting would probably not choose to ban it based on the context in which the suspect word was used. But filtering software isn’t that smart, and as a result, someone in a public library looking for information on my grant research, or the ala programs I attended, is out of luck. (My husband, reading over my shoulder, says “And rightfully so!” ;)

I think I’ll take a little trip to the public library next week and see how many of the blogs on my blogroll are also blocked by filtering software. Scary stuff, isn’t it?

Posted at 9:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (2)
more like this: curmudgeonly
Liz sipping melange at Cafe Central in Vienna