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SubjectRe: tcp/ip filtering
On Fri, 17 May 1996, Michael Riepe wrote:

> > > > On the subject of implementing a server based tcp/ip packet filtering
> > > > system...

> > > Sorry to interrupt your conversation, but this has to stop NOW. Linux
> > > is an operating system, not a configurable "network indecency filter".

> > Agreed, however there are many options that can be added to linux
> > (or just turned on during make config) that increase its
> > capabilities and worth the its users... To users who choose that
> > filtering is a necessity, it WOULD be a worthwhile option, and
> > wouldn't affect those people who choose to not use it. (as in a
> > high school, where provided internet access must be regulated..
> > since most parents wouldn't advocate leaving pornography available
> > to the students, the sysadmins must make some effort to restrict
> > the accessibility (like I'm trying to do))

> The point is: if somebody writes it and puts it into the kernel, there
> will be somebody else who uses it. The latter somebody *may* be a
> worrying father, mother or teacher, but it may also be the government
> of the United States of America (or the Federal Republic of Germany,
> for that matter). Or something worse. Or *much* worse.

If someone writes it and puts it into the kernel, and someone else uses
it, then that means someone has found the module useful. The internet is
for the most part a decentralized hierachry, and if an ISP implements
filtering without the consent of its customers, then it will lose
bussiness as the customers find another way to get the information they
want. Besides, if there were control maniacs out there with such vast
amounts of power, they would have long ago been capable of implementing
their own filtering system, without asking a linux mailing list for help
like I am doing. This capability is and always will remain a CHOICE of
the owner of the system unless a government blunders onto the scene
demanding all traffic be filtered, in which case the citizens (usually)
can speak out against the government's decisions... Like what is already
happening in the US. And one of the main points of retaliators is that
censorship does not need to be required by federal law if users are
capable of implementing it themselves... If there was a module for linux
(free!), customers of ISPs could ask to have their data filtered if they
wanted, not harming any of the vast majority of people who would rather
have their data untouched...

> > > I can hardly believe that someone calls an automatic censorship module
> > > a "bonus" or a "neat demonstration". That's sick.

> > I agree that censorship forced on unwilling people is wrong,

> Are children generally willing to be censored? Do parents have the
> right to "protect" their children this way? Do governments have the
> right to "protect" their citizens? I think they don't, in all 3 cases.

I think it is a parent's responsibility to guide his or her children..
Once the child has learned enough to make informed and rational decisions
about subjects he or she encounters, then the parent(s) should allow the
child to explore with more freedom... However, many of my classmates in
high school are not capable of rationally deciding what ideas to accept
(many decisions are based upon superficial concerns like popularity)..
for this reason its not hard to understand that in most cases it would be
a good idea to allow the parents and teachers to decide the type of
information that is made available.. (otherwise the parents might get the
school in a lot of trouble.. and it is better to try to moderate the
access to the internet than risk having it removed completely... there
have already been incidents where students were caught looking up
pornography through netscape..)

> > however I also believe that parents (or in this case the
> > replacement for the parents, the teachers) should have some degree
> > of influence over what information is made available to their
> > children. It is definetly much better than censorship regulated by
> > the government with vague terms such as "indecent" and "patently
> > offensive".. It would serve as an example that citizens ARE capable of
> > protecting themselves from such things without the help of the
> > government... (it is an added bonus that linux is free)

> If people feel that the 'net is evil, they can as well sign off.
> But they shall not force others to do so.

Yes, it is sad how much bad press the internet has had in the media with
pornography and everything, preying on the parent's fears.. (lazy parents
if they were surprised by the news).. I agree no independant citizen
should be forced to have their access to information restricted, and the
internet is becoming (or already is) the easiest way to get information.
I have never suggested and never intend to imply that I want independant
users forced from the freedom to browse the internet...

> Michael "Tired" Riepe <>

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