Friday, April 06, 2007

And speaking of censorship...

My son came home from his Greenwich middle school the other day saying that he could no longer access my author blog at school as it had been blocked for "adult content".

Yesterday, an avid Greenwich reader of both my political blog and my author blog told me he couldn't access either from the Greenwich Public Library for the same reason.

Now I realize that my frustration with the current Administration causes me to sometimes lose my cool and use bad words (although I always express them with an * rather than spelling out the whole word) in my political blog, but the closest I got to adult content in my author blog was my discussion of the "Scrotum-gate" controvers - so I can't help but being a little paranoid about this.

Does anyone have any idea how I would go about finding out one what grounds my blog has been rated for adult content, and how I would go about getting the ban lifted?The last thing I want is for kids to be unable to access my blog.


Blogger Liz B said...

I can only speak to the Internet filtering at my public library, which is automatic (that is, certain words trigger a website being filtered, but if asked, not only should the patron be able to access a particular website with an override code, but the patron should also be able to bring it to the attention that a website should not have been filtered and to have that fixed for all computers; I'm not techy, but I believe it's as simple as making something an allowed site with the overall filter software.)

Because of the automatic nature, I'd say this wasn't deliberate; I ran into it a few months ago with Justina Chen Headley's website at my library & it was fixed within a few days. (And thanks for the reminder, I'd wanted to let her know that; I'm not sure what she can do, tho.)

So what I'd suggest is telling both the school & the public library that these sites were blocked by filter software, the sites should not have been, and to please allow the sites. I'm not sure if they would want it in writing or if its enough to give them the URLs so they can see for themselves.

I read your blogs at home, but I'll look them up tomorrow at work to see if the filter blocks them or not (yes, the filter extends to employee computers, at least at my place of work.)

6:27 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

Is your blog on a site like LiveJournal or Blogger? Some filtering settings will block entire domains because other sites on those domains do contain adult content.

7:26 AM  
Blogger C. K. Kelly Martin said...

I had an incident about a month ago where someone arrived at my blog via a Google search that clearly showed they were looking for child pornography. The words they were searching for did appear on my site (in an entry I'd written for Blog Against Sexism Day) but not in the same order as their Google search terms.

My site stats showed the ISP as a schoolboard in Florida so I immediately informed them of the problem. I imagine some of those words will now be filtered and my blog against sexism post would therefore be blocked. Even more worrying is the fact that my site appeared on page 5 of the search results (many of which did contain links to child or adult pornography) so whoever was searching had probably trawled through many sites before reaching mine.

It must be a huge challenge, filtering material most people would find objectionable, like child pornography, without blocking access to web sites of an entirely different nature.

Sorry I don't have any answers for you, just passing on one of my own experiences with this issue.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Internet filtering at my (public) high school blocks almost every blog. Sometimes the block is based on user profile. If it's a blog I frequent, it's probably blocked. The blogs I set up for my students are now blocked.

10:25 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

our school blocks most blogging sites. it has nothing to do with the individual blogs, it's more of a "potential problem" thing.

if it isn't widespread (for ex, all of blogspot), then it may be an individual word that has triggered the filter.

I know, it blows, but... that's the world. A lot of schools freaked out when myspace started getting bad press, and overreacted

1:28 PM  
Blogger Liz B said...

For what it's worth, I can access your blogs from my public library (I just checked.)

I'm eager to find out whether access has been restored at either school or library.

7:50 AM  
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8:43 PM  

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