January 26, 2005

Utah Censorware Network Deliberately Bans Google Translate

Further regarding persistent censorware problems, let me echo the material below, since it's an official admission of a topic I've been emphasizing for years. In order for censorware to achieve its control, even sites such as language translation are problematic, because they're a "LOOPHOLE". I exposed this myself many years ago, but unfortunately my decryption-based research was very poorly publicized and had minimal impact, due to various grudges. Emphasis added below.

From the EDTECH mailing list, post available at

EDTECH Editor-Beil Nov 14 2004, 12:12 pm

From: Guy Durrant

Filtering in Utah is done by a statewide subscription to N2H2/Bess. We are not required to use N2H2, but I suspect most districts use this as it is available to them at no additional cost. The state picks up the tab.

The state filters the "Translate this page" option which comes up with some search results. The reason for this is that students could search for sites which the N2H2 filter will block, click on Translate this page, and if the original page was in English, it was "translated" and displayed, filter notwithstanding. It is unfortunate, because the translation feature was quite a boon to ESL and foreign language teachers. The images part of Google http://images.google.com is not blocked in Utah, but many of the sites it presents are.

Guy Durrant
Technology Director
Daggett SD

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on January 26, 2005 11:57 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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This is interesting because CIPA doesn't require (to my knowledge) that websites used to circumvent filtering be blocked, only that porn, child abuse images, and content harmful to minors be blocked. Translation services are not pornographic or harmful.

Posted by: nart at January 28, 2005 07:43 PM


However, the law itself is written as a "min", not a "max" - i.e., it says itself that more blacklisting is fine. There doesn't seem to be much interest in making a legal challenge on the topic, after the ultimate loss of the previous CIPA case.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at January 29, 2005 01:07 AM