Filters not Censors

Brian Farrar (Farrar@
Sat, 3 Dec 1994 00:51:08 +0100

+--- I wrote
| Proxy's clearly are not the answer to this set of criteria. First, such a
| can only be administered for a group not an individual (in most cases). Thus,
| even the most benevolent gate master is making content type decisions for
| the rest of the "gated".

+--- David Bianco replied
| Actually, this is an implementation detail which really doesn't
| invalidate the statement that proxies can be good filters. I can
| easily imagine a sitewide filter which allows users to set their own
| preferences, rather than some defaults.

While I disagree that this is an "implementation detail" (in fact in the case
of a content filter proxy it is *the* basic design criteria), the rest is
quite fair. I
was unfortunately generalizing about proxy implementation to make the point that
the *user* must make the decisions.

+--- David Bianco continues
| Since you seem to be asking for voluntary filtering anyway (the user
| gets to set his filtering criteria) circumvention of the filter is
| probably OK. It just amounts to "don't filter anything" which is
| certainly a valid criteria.

I meant simply that given a proxy with a design objective to filter
content arbitrarily irrespective of the end user's wishes (in a
world where that makes sense) is unlikely to succeed over time.

+--- David Bianco continues
| Actually, if you're going to stop the information flow, it makes sense
| to try to stop it as close to the source as possible. I wouldn't want
| to transfer a long page through a slow PPP link...

This an elegant, network resource conservative approach. When taken to
its extreme (which David *clearly* does not intend) the filterer's (is that
a word) would want to stop it *at* the source. Its just my opinion, but
I prefer that the slow transfer be a cost to the user and not to the
user community. Besides the slow link problem evaporates overtime as
bandwidth/throughput costs decline. Imagine fiber in the local loop!
Suddenly a little Hyper-Text Doc is but a bug speck on the proverbial
windshield of cyberspace.

+--- David Bianco continues
| Of course, there's no easy answer to the question of "Should it be
| done?" I guess it depends on circumstance. My employer, for example,
| certainly has the right to limit what I can and can't see, while my
| internet provider probably doesn't. And we won't even mention the
| number of different technical approaches. Proxies won't work for some
| people, and they'll work great for others. It's all a matter of
| requirements...

I agree almost completely. So long it as it is your employer telling
you what you can and can't see over *his/her* (I guess at NASA that would be
Uncle Sam's) link. These are not irreconcilable positions either. Because,
in effect, the employer *is* the user (through your actions of course) and
is therefore exercising a clear right to choose how company resources are
expended. I think that's your point and I agree with it.

| Universe Corrupted... |
| Reboot? |
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| Brian Farrar |
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