August 23, 2003

Center for Democracy and Technology on NTIA censorware report

I was looking at other coverage of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) censorware report, and found the following item on CDT's speech headlines page:

Commerce Dept. Report Backs Capabilities of Child Protection Measures - The NTIA has released a report evaluating Internet filters and other protections for schools seeking to safeguard children online. The report argues that filters and other technologies are able to meet "most, if not all" of the needs of educators. It also cautions that "software has not been able to overcome problems of overblocking" and emphasizes the importance of protections besides filters. CDT believes the report underscores why online protections controlled by users are preferable to broad Net content regulations like the COPA statute, which is under fire in the courts. August 19, 2003

That last sentence ("online protections controlled by users") is classic CDT. That is, it artfully weaves around the law and the evidence in order to come out with the policy position favored by CDT, even if the whole process makes no logical sense. For example, the part CDT cites just before, about cautions about overblocking, the NTIA report has it as a lead-in for broader government usage:

Yet, other technology tools can or have the potential to address better the needs of educational institutions. Thus, NTIA recommends that Congress change the current legislation to clarify that the term "technology protection measure" encompasses not only filtering and blocking software, but also other current and future technology tools.

Now, it's not that CDT is "wrong" here, as it's what CDT "believes" is "underscored" by the report. But it can be very amusing, in a lawyerly way, to see how they derive such beliefs from a report which, per above, wants more types of censorware to be explicitly acceptable to government.

Sigh. On a more personal note, I look at this material, and think again that I simply don't have the resources to get-into-it regarding rebutting the NTIA report. There's far too few people who care about a factual rebuttal. The cheap and easy political expedient is simply to say it means whatever you want it to mean. Thus, there's little protection for me personally in countering the report, while the censorware companies have a direct incentive to attack me personally as much as possible. Maybe I shouldn't note that. But I still feel very unhappy about how I've been essentially marginalized, and by my own "side" too.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on August 23, 2003 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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