July 17th, 2015 by Michael Sauers

Peter from the National Coalition Against Censorship sez, “At a public hearing over whether or not to remove LGBT children’s books from a public library, one mom’s comments stole the show.”

Via Boing Boing

Posted in Libraries Tagged with:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/8444616313
February 5th, 2015 by Michael Sauers

Generally Throwback Thursdays are to reminisce things that the blogger in question, me in this case, about items from their past like old photos, follow-up on previous linked resources, or “remember when that was cool” blog posts. I’ve done all of that but today I’d like to do something a little different.

Today I’m highlighting thew work of another blogger and pointing you to a post titled The “virtues” of censorship, pt. 3: searching for “safe libraries” from October 2011. It’s a long read but completely worth it. Some of my readers will understand why I’m posting this while others will not and I’m OK with that.

Here’s a brief sample:

As a just-the-facts-ma’am messenger, it is clear that [he] has failed in his endeavor. Besides misconstruing, misinterpreting, or ignoring relevant facts (all of which are deadly practices for anyone who claims to be an accurate reporter), [he] does not construct his reporting in an unprejudiced manner. The “Porn Pushers” page is clearly structured as an argument. He refers to “evidence,” all of which is presented in the form of an outline meant to lead readers to a single, inexorable conclusion. Since [he] is following the conventions of persuasive argumentation, drawing connections between disparate facts and assertions in order to convince the reader of something, it is undeniable that he is interested in enacting social change. What is most irksome to me is that [he] adamantly refuses to acknowledge any agenda beyond being a so-called “messenger.” Despite the abundant evidence that he does have an agenda, he asserts that he has none. Since I don’t believe for a minute that anyone with such intent focus in his life’s work (discrediting the ALA and its OIF) could possibly be so moronic as not to have any larger agenda at all, let me speculate. I won’t pretend that I have any hard evidence to back my claims. I’m not going to play the part of empiricist. I am going to provide an armchair psychoanalysis of [he] that I believe is applicable to others like him.

Someone might even consider my posting this “harassment” of some sort. But it’s not harassment, because I’m just the messenger, creating an online record. (And, not even violating anyone’s copyright in the process.)

After reading the original feel free to submit a comment here if you wish. However, please be aware that this is my site and in no way, shape, or form, is it a public forum. I am in complete control and under no obligation to allow your comment to appear on my site for any reason. That’s not censorship, that’s me controlling what’s in my space. If you disagree, I am not preventing you from posting your comments anywhere else on the Internet.

Image credit: Hartwig HKD

Posted in Libraries Tagged with: ,

December 19th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

BT FilterFor those that keep insisting “filters are smarter than they used to be…”

Among the sites TalkTalk blocked as “pornographic” was BishUK.com, an award-winning British sex education site, which receives more than a million visits each year.

TalkTalk also lists Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre website as “pornographic.”

The company also blocked a programme run by sex education experts, and taught to 81,000 American children, that has been in development for more than 20 years.

TalkTalk’s filter is endorsed by Mr Cameron but it failed to block 7% of the 68 pornographic websites tested by Newsnight.

Read the full article @ BBC News.

Posted in Politics & Law, Tech Tagged with: , , ,

October 23rd, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Lost GirlsA graphic novel that depicts the sexual encounters of fairytale heroines has made history as the first book pulled from the New Zealand National Library catalogue for being too explicit.

The book has never been classified by the censor and the decision of the library to self-censor has angered those who say libraries should be champions of literary freedom.

It has now become a cause celebre for fans wanting to have the book returned to the shelves and the library has indicated it may yet put it back.

Lost Girls, by English graphic novel writer Alan Moore and his wife, artist Melinda Gebbie, was originally purchased in 2008 for the library’s collection at the request of a member.

It was removed from the catalogue after questions were raised over its content.

Read the full article @ Daily Life.

Posted in Books Tagged with: , , ,

July 23rd, 2013 by Michael Sauers

If you have trouble accessing a web page either because the website is blocked at your workplace, or because that page happens to be behind a paywall, there are a couple of undocumented Google proxy servers that may help you read that page.

When you access any page via one of these Google proxies, the content of that page gets downloaded on Google servers and then served to you. The lesser-known gmodules.com proxy, discussed later, will even allow you to download documents, videos and other web files that are otherwise blocked.

Google Proxy Demo

Read the full post and get the handy bookmarklets @ labnol.com.

Posted in Tech Tagged with: , , ,

July 19th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Elizabeth Warren and Leader PelosiA viral clip of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) ripping into the hosts of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” has been removed from the senator’s YouTube channel.

According to a message on YouTube, NBC Universal requested that the video be taken down on copyright grounds.

A CNBC spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

Read the full article and find links to the video where it’s still available @ The Huffington Post.

Posted in Politics & Law Tagged with: , , ,

July 17th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

No replacements foundIt’s stuff like this that makes me less and less likely to ever buy another Apple device.

The Daily Beast investigated the autocomplete on Apple Ios devices (Iphones, Ipads, etc), and discovered that there was a long list of “sensitive” words that the devices have in their dictionary but would not autocomplete — you would have to type them out in full to get them into your device. This list includes words such as “abortion,” “rape,” “ammo,” and “bullet.” They documented their methodology in detail.

Read the full article @ BoingBoing.

Posted in Tech Tagged with: ,

March 20th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

NYPL uses filters. Fine. I’m not going to have that argument. But it looks like they block “Peer-to-Peer File Sharing” as a category. Why? 

A spokesperson for the library confirmed to TorrentFreak that they use blocking software to restrict access to these websites. This is done to protect Internet users from seeing inappropriate or illegal content.

“In an effort to protect patrons from inappropriate content or malicious activity and comply with existing laws, NYPL uses filtering software to prevent access to identified websites that offer potentially illegal or malicious content, as well as those that may cause harm to Library technology,” TorrentFreak was told.

Sorry, but the way I read that last bit, in order to do that you should just pretty much block the Internet as a whole as any Web site could contain" “potentially illegal or malicious content”.

Read the full article @ TorrentFreak. (Unless you’re at the NYPL then you can as they’re blocked too.)

Posted in Libraries, Tech Tagged with: , , ,

March 7th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

Funny how the library lost this case…

Salem Library Director Glenda Wofford told Hunter the websites could only be unblocked if [the patron] had a legitimate reason to access them. The library director allegedly also said she had an “obligation” to call the “proper authorities” to report people who wanted to view blocked websites.

Read the whole story on RawStory.com.

Posted in Libraries Tagged with: , ,

August 5th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

The Free Technology for Teachers blog has a great story about filters blocking social services at schools and recommendations for what to do about it. Here’s the setup:

Why Did Etisalat Block FlickrA few years ago I returned to school after the summer break to find that all of the sites (VoiceThread, Wikispaces, Blogger, Animoto, and others) that I had planned to use were blocked by our the new filter in place. Frustrated, I emailed the tech department asking for these sites to be unblocked. They replied by saying they’d "look into it" and get back to me. I waited. Then I waited again. Finally, I was told that if I could explain to them how and why I was going to use these sites they might unblock them if they didn’t violate CIPA regulations. Up to the tech office I went and sat down with two of the network administrator’s assistants to explain to them what VoiceThread did, what Wikispaces was, and how I was going to use them. As I was explaining what VoiceThread did one of the assistants said, "I think unblocking this would violate CIPA." I lost it. Here I was explaining myself to two people who not only had never taught in a classroom, had no background in education, and who clearly did not understand CIPA.

Posted in Internet Tagged with: , , ,

xxxfullfilms