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Re: [K12OSN] dansguardian filter


On 9/7/07, Mel Wade <mel melwade com> wrote:
We use and 8e6 content filter.  We whitelist some areas by category
and black list labs with adequate supervision.  We have found it to be
effective in blocking circumventors even in a blacklist environment.
I would state that most filters do not block circumventors and thus
you really are only filtering the honest or stupid.

I support a public middle school in San Francisco, and I concur with what Mel is saying above, both as to the methods he uses as well as the limitations on filtering.  I am also an attorney, and I explain filtering this way to parents and administrators:  The US Supreme Court is unable to come up with a one-sentence definition of obscenity.  Instead, they use a balancing of factors tests.  So if the US Supremes can't define obscenity, how is it possible for a filter to define it?

It is inevitably true that the most secure way for a parent to avoid pornography is to lock the student up at home and never allow them to 1) watch TV; 2) go out with friends; 3) go on the Internet; 4) read books.  Of course, that is extreme, but the point is well-taken: sex is part of the human experience.  It is only with constant vigilance and constant adult presence IN THE ROOM that it is possible to minimize contact with undesireable content, and even then, a few bikinis will sneak through, but probably no bare breasts or posteriors.

Another way of putting it is that life is generally PG.  You can probably cut the XXX stuff down to a 2% chance of encounter; you can cut the PG-17 stuff down to a 10% risk of exposure; but it seems as if you have a 90% risk of exposure to PG-13 stuff, simply because that is life in the US.

The other thing that I tell parents and administrators is that, as George Kocke says, we can trace their steps, and we will.  If you suspect a particular student, take a few moments to follow their steps, and then pull them off of all computer use for a period of time, according to the level of their abuse of their privileges. 

There is no such thing as perfect control, not even in a totalitarian state like China, and certainly not in a democracy, not even in schools in a democracy.   That is why it is so important to be involved in the kids lives to prepare them so that they will make good choices when they inevitably encounter undesirable stuff. 

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