March 05, 2003

"CIPA" Federal censorware law in Supreme Court

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From: Seth Finkelstein
To: Seth Finkelstein's InfoThought list
Subject: IT: Federal censorware law "CIPA", in Supreme Court
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 16:45:15 -0500

Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the Federal censorware law "CIPA", concerning censorware in libraries (this law applies to everyone, adults and minors). For more information, see:

I'm involved in this case as an amicus curiae, part of a friend-of-the-court brief, see:

"Online Policy Group, Seth Finkelstein Submit CIPA Court Brief"

I'd like to remind everyone that although the issue is continually reported and debated as "filtering" "porn" or "smut", that description is in fact technically inaccurate. Instead, architecturally, censorware is about control over what people are permitted to read. This is a profoundly different problem. It means no archive or service can be allowed if it can be an escape from control.

That is, using the N2H2 censorware as an example, image searching cannot be allowed. See for yourself, by clicking on the following link:

This should return:

The Site: is categorized by N2H2 as:

Now, an image search engine is not pornography. It's a tool. But it's banned here, just in case anyone could use it to see forbidden material.

Another example is the Wayback Machine, a huge archive of sites:

This is considered one of N2H2's "Loop Hole Sites", a no-longer-secret (due to my work :-) ) blacklist category of "loophole" sites which are banned by default everywhere, since they represent routes outside the blinder-box.

Language translation is prohibited also, because translating a website written in English from, e.g. Chinese to English, works very well.

The Google cache is considered a "loophole" too:

And of course, privacy and anonymity (to prevent one's reading from being monitored, by either the government or censorware) is right out:

In sum:

Image searching is not pornography.
Large web archives (e.g. The Wayback Machine) are not pornography.
Language translation is not pornography.
The Google cache is not pornography.
Privacy or anonymity is not pornography.

This won't be fixed in the next release. And my work on this issue seems to have been one factor in the lower court decision which earlier struck down this law. See:

Federal censorware law down! (and Seth Finkelstein's reports!)

BESS's Secret LOOPHOLE: (censorware vs. privacy & anonymity) - a secret category of BESS (N2H2), and more about why censorware must blacklist privacy, anonymity, and translators

BESS vs The Google Search Engine (Cache, Groups, Images) - BESS bans cached web pages, passes porn in groups, and considers all image searching to be pornography.

SmartFilter's Greatest Evils - why censorware must blacklist privacy, anonymity, and language translators

The Pre-Slipped Slope - censorware vs the Wayback Machine web archive - The logic of censorware programs suppressing an enormous digital library.

Remember this all, against the argument onslaught of "POORRRNNNN!"...

-- Seth Finkelstein Consulting Programmer sethf[at-sign]
Anticensorware Investigations -
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog -

Infothought mailing list

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware , legal | on March 05, 2003 07:46 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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