Internet Filters: Voluntary OK, Not Government Mandate

People are talking about internet content filtering, especially since the ACLU won its case against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which tried to censor all speech about sex from the internet. But don’t be confused between voluntary use of filters as an alternative to a criminal statute and governmentally imposed filters. ACLU First Amendment attorney Chris Hansen explains more about filtering and when it works and doesn’t.

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Filtering has been shown to be quite successful in blocking sexual sites, but at a price — it over-blocks. As much as 20 percent of all internet content can be over-blocked by some filters, including valuable nonsexual material. Reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation (PDF), Consumer Reports, and the Free Expression Policy Project (PDF) have all found that filters improperly block important web sites about health, sex education, civil rights, and politics. A recent test by the San Jose Public Library (PDF) of three software filtering programs even found substantial over-blocking of information in resource databases and online catalogs of available books. Parents can decide that price is worth paying but it is another thing altogether for the government to make that decision for all of us.

The ACLU is currently working in several states to prevent censorship of online information due to the use of overbroad internet filters. For more detail on ACLU cases about internet filters, see http://www.aclunc.org/tech and http://www.aclu-wa.org/detail.cfm?id=557.

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anon

actually, people just skim through your posts, sorry to disappoint.

although i think internet filtering is stupid myself. :)

Chris Hansen, F...

Mr. Livingston, I did talk to you on the phone and would be happy to do so again.

Vic Livingston

Mr. Hansen, thanks... but if my concern is pervasive 24/7 government surveillance, why would you insist that we discuss the substance of my complaint over the phone?

That's why I wondered if I really was talking to an ACLU attorney. Surely you understand my reluctance to discuss possible legal remedies if I believe my phone is tapped.

Actually, the abuses go much further than surveillance. Please read my first-hand account here:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network...

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/domestic-torture-radiation-weaponry-americ...

OR (IF LINKS ARE CORRUPTED/DISABLED):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

So I ask again: May I meet with you at ACLU's Worth Street offices? The last two times I stopped by at ACLU HQ, I was turned away at the door by men wearing interesting lapel pins before I could talk to anyone.

Sir, we are living in a police state, and now could be our last best chance to reclaim democracy and ensure the return of the rule of law.

Vic Livingston

YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF APPARENT BLATANT PRIOR RESTRAINT/CENSORSHIP OF INTERNET SPEECH BY GOVERNMENT FUSION CENTER SURVEILLANCE OPERATIVES

At 1:50 p.m. this day, this writer attempted to post the following comment to a thread about the Obamas honoring Stevie Wonder. I referenced a rude comment about the event by another poster.

Once again, I received the now-familiar full-screen message that the post was "being held for the blog owner."

The Washington Post, as mentioned in the entries above, does not "hold" posts, unless foul language is detected.

Once again, my free speech rights are being grossly infringed upon. Again I say to the ACLU: If this can happen to this journalist, it can happen to YOU or anyone.

In the interest of free speech, I repost the message here (I'm starting to feel like a 21st century Mario Savio -- remember him, Mr. Hansen?)

***************************************

TEAM OBAMA:

Please ask Stevie to play the too-often overlooked "Love's In Need of Love Today."

I believe that "Daylo1," posting at 3:08 a.m. on Valentine's Day morning, should listen to the lyrics.

*********************************************

'SHADOW GOVERNMENT' SHACKLES OBAMA ON TORTURE

• The promise of "change" may come -- if Congress shows the courage and determination to provide Team Obama with sufficient cover to right the wrongs.

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/shadow-government-shackles-obama-torture

OR (if link is corrupted):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

*******************************************

IT IS DAY 27 OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

DO YOU *REALLY* KNOW WHAT YOUR 'MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATION CENTER' IS UP TO?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network...

OR (if link is corrupted):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

ACLU: PLEASE FORWARD TO SEN. PAT LEAHY'S OFFICE...

Dear Sen. Leahy:

I read about your petition drive for a "truth and reconciliation commission" to investigate possible constitutional and criminal abuses of power by the Bush administration -- including the Bush Justice Department's apparent approval and funding of the use of radiation weaponry on U.S. citizens "targeted" by certain government agencies.

When I tried to access the site "Bushtruthcommission.com" I was taken to a sign-in page for "ga3.org" that asked for a user name and password. There was no information as to how to sign up -- effectively preventing me from petitioning for redress of grievances, which is, of course, a constitutional right.

I believe this may have been a so-called "spoofed page," inserted into my data stream win real time by a government surveillance "fusion center" operation.

As a longtime journalist, I believe I have been subject to unconstitutional surveillance, and much worse. I have written extensively about this at My.NowPublic.com/scrivener.

If there is not a sign-in to access your petition, then I believe some powerful entity is interfering with your ability to communicate with the public, an infringement upon YOUR rights as well as mine.

My emails to your office have gone unanswered. I believe they may have been intercepted. Please read my articles entitled "Gestapo USA," "Domestic Torture," and "Political Bloggers Beware (of apparent) Big Brother Censorship" at NowPublic.com/scrivener.

I look forward to testifying about my experiences before your committee; the need for an inquiry is urgent, and cannot wait for a verdict on the truth commission concept. Thank you.

Vic Livingston, "Get Political" columnist
NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

Thanks, Mr. Hansen... but given that my concern is pervasive, unconstitutional surveillance that obviates my privacy rights and the hope of lawyer-client confidentiality, could I please meet with you at ACLU offices? I do not think this is an unreasonable request, given the particular set of facts I am dealing with. Please email me at scrivener50@verizon.net Thank you.

Suzanne Ito, ACLU

Vic: You can contact Sen. Leahy's office directly using the form or address on this page:
http://leahy.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Vic Livingston

STILL BEING SUBJECT TO PRIOR RESTRAINT/CENSORSHIP
(BUT ACLU BLOG GETS NOTICED BY THE DARK SIDE...)

Since posting the above ongoing account of apparent government malicious interference and tampering with telecommunications of "innocent but targeted" Americans, two things are apparent

1) Government surveillance censors read this blog;

2) They react by momentarily relenting -- for example, for the first time in a long time a political post to Dick Polman's Phila. Inquirer allowed to post. But a day or two later, the censors once again apparently are exercising prior restraint.

Example: The following post today elicited the "being reviewed for publication" message -- although Dick Polman's blog column immediately posts comments rational and inane alike.

So, in the interest of free speech, I re-post the "withheld" comment here. Will someone reading this please copy and forward this thread to Dick Polman at dpolman@phillynews.com.

I would do it myself -- but my apparent malicious spies/censors also maliciously interfere with my email.

BUT WHAT WAS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE MELTDOWN?

DID SECRET GOV'T PROGRAMS AIMED AT 'INNOCENT BUT TARGETED' AMERICANS AND THEIR FAMILIES HELP SPAWN THE FINANCIAL CRISIS?

DOES NO ONE CARE THAT THESE PROGRAMS CONTINUE?

Dick: Please read this. It may even hint as to the true ID of many of the posters here:
nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-targets-terrorizes-u-s-citizens

OR

My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Vic Livingston

TO: Suzanne Ito

Great to hear from you. I tried posting web form messages to Sen. Leahy, several months ago, and last week as well.

I have gotten no response.

I have emailed dozens of members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, via their web forms on their government web sites.

I have gotten NOT ONE SINGLE RESPONSE.

I have been subject to what I believe is draconian government surveillance, malicious and sadistic tampering and interference with my internet AND telephonic communications. I have written about these issues here, as well as on my web site.

If this can happen to this journalist (whose career was derailed five years ago by my apparent unjust "targeting" by what I believe is a coordinated array of "programs of personal destruction"), it can, and IS, happening to thousands of other Americans.

That is why I ask the ACLU to file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of classes of persons widely targeted by government surveillance -- i.e., journalists. This is a different set of facts than those presented in the previous ACLU lawsuit against NSA warrantless spying.

If ACLU solicited journalists to submit anecdotal evidence of government surveillance, tampering and censorship, as I have done, I believe there would be a strong basis for such a class-action lawsuit.

It is interesting that correspondent James Riesen of the New York Times has reported similar concerns in a televised interview with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC in the wake of the disclosures made by former NSA analyst Russsell Tice -- but he has not followed up with his own story in The Times.

Could that be because Mr. Tice has been slandered by officials, keeping the mainstream media away from the story? I believe that same phenomenon may have happened in my case. I also have been threatened with bodily harm in public web posts. Suzanne, this is "terrorism, American-style."

What I believe are unconstitutional and malicious actions by government on the federal and local levels (i.e., regional "fusion centers") have derailed my career and have decimated my finances and family. I would like to seek monetary damages by way of a class-action lawsuit, and would be willing to to the ACLU third of any personal award in appreciation of taking up this cause of free speech.

I'd also like to meet personally with you and ACLU staff; given my concerns over privacy matters, I do not think that is an unreasonable request (see posts above).

Please try to contact me via email at scrivener50@verizon.net and also please post a message to my blog site at My.NowPublic.com/scrivener, just in case the email disappears into the ether.

I also should add that I am subject to relentless "organized community gang stalking," public menacing, vandalism and other malicious acts committed in my local community of Bucks County, PA, with apparent government sponsorship and/or funding. (See my article, "Gestapo USA," at http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener).

And again, thanks for providing the "Gates of Wittenberg" to the besieged "Mario Savios" of the American Security State! If you would like to republish any of the articles at my web site as blog items, please feel free to do so.

Vic Livingston

YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF PRIOR RESTRAINT, APPARENTLY BY GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE CENSORS AT A DHS FUSION CENTER:

It is becoming apparent that the most persistent prior restraint and censorship of my political posts happens when I attempt to transmit by web form a comment to Philadelphia-area media web sites -- most notably, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

This latest example was an innocuous commentary on Dick Polman's column about a New York Times story involving John McCain and a Washington lobbyist. Not very controversial -- but then I made an analogy to some articles that a powerful entity apparently does not want Philadelphia-area media and/or residents to read.

This prior restraint tells me that the unconstitutional operators most fear being exposed by Philadelphia media... because that region apparently is the region in which these rogue actors are based.

Please, readers, email this ACLU page link to dpolman@phillynews.com. As mentioned before, my email is subject to interception so I cannot rely on doing it myself.

(These long "ACLU Wittenberg Gate postings" do have a temporary curative effect; I emphasize "temporary." What's needed to end this apparent government abuse of power is a class-action lawsuit.)

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