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Filtering, the USA PATRIOT Act and Access to Information Nancy R. John Associate Professor UIC University Library.

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Presentation on theme: "Filtering, the USA PATRIOT Act and Access to Information Nancy R. John Associate Professor UIC University Library."— Presentation transcript:

1 Filtering, the USA PATRIOT Act and Access to Information Nancy R. John Associate Professor UIC University Library

2 About Filtering To sift To protect To impose

3 Why do people want to filter? To protect children To protect revenue or resources (bandwidth) To avoid embarrassment Because they can Because they are afraid

4 How to Filter By customized rules By moving/changing rules By absolute rules With/out override

5 Defining the target By text/words By address By lists By category By experience

6 A word about filtering software Easy to subvert Difficult to know what you missed Impossible to know how it will work At best, only as good filtering the bad as eliminating the good

7 Whose values? How many people? What standard? How implemented? How tested? What kind of records?

8 We-Blocker When We-Blocker ( installs, it utilizes a special feature called word filtering. Word filtering checks the words within a web page you requested, and sees if there are any that match its list of "bad" words. If it finds a match, the word filter will prevent the page from loading. Because most web pages contain many words and HTML coding, word filtering can eat up some time. Follow the following instructions to either turn word filtering off or adjust the sensitivity so it looks for fewer

9 CyberPatrol What's New! All new filtering technologies Filters web based e-mail Newsgroup blocking Enhanced chat filtering Time management for computer games Stealth filtering mode AOL 9 and iTunes compatible -New v6.2 Multiple Blocking Page styles More Intuitive user interface Unlimited user profiles Web based subscription service Compatible with Windows® XP Filters harmful websites, newsgroups, and web based e-mail CyberPatrol uses a combination of powerful filtering technologies including the CyberLIST, Web Page Analysis and CyberPATTERNS. Sites can be filtered, blocked or allowed based on specific categories that you can select. Filtering can also be further enhanced by creating your osts of allowed or blocked sites. CyberPatrol can also filter out offensive text based words and phrases from Web based e-mail. Web Page Analysis - dynamically reviews sites visited that are not categorized within the CyberLIST and assign them to a category. CyberPATTERNS - are based on contextual keyword pattern technology. It checks and categorizes URLs to trap the mass of sexually explicit websites, as well as filters offensive and descriptive search engine results. CyberLIST - reconstructed for CyberPatrol 6, it truly reflects the composition of sites on the Internet today. It is a professionally researched list that has been greatly expanded and is regularly updated. What do they filter?filter

10 CyberSitter

11 Is filtering a personal decision? Theoretically yes Realistically no Public policy: Child Internet Pornography Act Digital Millennium Copyright Act Society’s role to safeguard our children Do spammers have rights?

12 The role of libraries Public policy Federal law State Law Library policy: Library Bill of Rights School library: school boards, teachers, parents Public library: community boards and local government University Library: IMHO, the last bastion Special Library: corporate standards A word about Banned Books as they relate to filtering and libraries

13 Government control in ours lives We the People A balancing act: The rights of the individual The good of the people Examples: guns, abortion, gay marriage, pornography

14 U.S. post- 9/11/01 climate Togetherness, a single nation (majority views rule) Security concerns Homeland safety Ineptitude of our safeguards Fear of repetition Scattergun approach to shutting down the causes

15 The Result? USA PATRIOT Act Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (October 26)

16 What is the act? The act lowers the standards by which the agencies that are assigned to protect this country can request sensitive or heretofore private information about or from U.S. citizens and residents

17 What the Fuss? The ‘fuss’ is not universal (we esp. in the university sometimes forget that the majority of Americans support the Act) The ‘fuss’ is that some of us think it is too high a price to give up many liberties and freedoms that we have enjoyed

18 How could it affect me? The simple answer is that you may not know and can not tell Gag rule provision What can librarians and techies do to help the balancing act Keep only essential records Understand how computers monitor users What would happen if the FBI came to the UIC Library?

19 What does the UIC Library do? No records of previous completed circulation transactions are kept (Illinois Library Patron Records Confidentiality Act) No sign-on on library computers Cookies and logs purged at every re-boot - at least once a day Reviews log retention policies of our information providers Publishes only aggregate statistics No filters on machines

20 Some things to think about How do we protect our children? Are there other ’chilling effects’? Research publication restrictions Less and less government information Agencies everywhere removing things from the open Web Is the price we are paying buying the safety we crave?

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