My school district (FUSD) is understandably eager to make sure that neither district personnel or students view illegal or inappropriate materials through their Internet. So they have filters that are designed to catch phrases like 'adult entertainment' or 'off-shore gambling' and the like. All well and good.

But what else might these filters be up to? For example, they blocked an attempt by yours truly to view the web page of the director of Fresno's Islamic Cultural Center who is part of the IACC (Interfaith Alliance of Central California). They've also blocked other pages expressing viewpoints on religion, among them atheist sites.

This concerns me. If a page is blocked for no other reason than containing the word 'Islamic' or 'atheist', we've got a problem with the filters.....or else, the filterers. Qui custodiet esto custodes?


Ian said...

I assume that mention of "Christianity" or "God" doesn't trigger the blocking software?

Good thing schools are exempted from this whole "separation of Church and State" thing... :)

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Ian, you assume correctly!

And, no, we aren't exempt. It's just that somewhere, something's wrong, and I hope the something isn't a someone with some axe to grind.

Ian said...

Yeah, I realised that they weren't exempt.

It really makes me wonder what's behind that sort of logic. Is it someone who believes that children need to be protected from reading about Muslims and atheists because they are evil? Is bigotry better than religious activism?

It reminds me of the story posted on dKos recently that Fidelity was blocking Daily Kos, but not conservative blogs. And when questioned about it, they said that they had outsourced the service, and it they had nothing to do with the decision.

Calladus said...

When my company first installed email filters about 3 years ago, there were major problems.

My first email (to a supplier) because I said I was "chucking spears at the problem". The word that made the email bounce was "Spears" as in the singer!

The idea of violently killing a hardware problem by throwing spears at it wasn't flagged.

The second email actually got IT to call me and ask me why my email (to my SISTER) was about "Sex".

I asked him what he meant and he said I used the word, "Lesbian".

"Well, she *IS* one" I said, "What would you prefer me to say?"

The problem was that I asked sis if the officiating person for her domestic partner ceremony was also a lesbian.

After that, the IT department gave up and quit blocking email. Engineering nerds were just too... ah... edgy for the software.