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Legislation insulting

By Alan Schussman
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 20, 2000
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To the editor,

The proposed legislation by state Rep. Jean McGrath is insulting to students and demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the university's ability to filter Internet content.

McGrath and the co-sponsors of HB2024 and HB2025 would have us believe that filtering software can effectively block "objectionable" or "non-educational" material without denying access to other Internet content, but piles of evidence exist to deny such an idea. Several studies of access logs and filtering blacklists, documented in great detail at censorware.org, indicate that content filters repeatedly block access to material that is unarguably appropriate for thinking adults. Among the material denied by various filters:

The entire hierarchy of miscellaneous health newsgroups (denied for allegedly containing Violence/Profanity and Sex Acts); the MIT Project on Mathematics and Computation (Nudity and Sex Acts); the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry; academic papers on Marxism and feminism (Violence and Sex Acts); and Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and William Shakespeare.

Although it appears that McGrath would object to providing students access to feminist discussion, as her attempts to reveal the lesbian agenda hidden in Women's Studies shows us, the documented lack of efficacy of filtering software, not to mention the cost of financial and human resources to implement such filtering, makes policing Internet access a dead end in a university setting.

It's about time McGrath realized that we don't need to be saved from ourselves or from the lascivious world of the Internet.

Alan Schussman

Sociology graduate student

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