Filtering Porn From Wi-Fi

Randy Blue - Jackson & JamesIt is with profound disbelief we read that when the municipal leaders of Culver City, Calif. decided to revitalize their downtown by providing free Wi-Fi service, they did not foresee that it would be used–with some enthusiasm–to download music from “illegal” peer-to-peer sites and access pornography. That fine city has now joined with lowest-tier DMAs Adel, Ga. and Corpus Christi, Texas to install filters to block “pirated content” and pictures of naked people in various acts of procreation–or what passes as foreplay with Eastern Bloc nation teenagers.
Which, of course, opens up the dodgy questions of who gets to decide what content is appropriate and if city-driven censorship is acceptable statecraft. Let’s face it: One man’s Birth of Venus is another man’s naked lady on the half-shell barely covering her naughty bits. Obscenity is in the eye of the beholder (check your kid’s iPod play list if you don’t believe me). And what if the city official with his/her hand on the filter trigger is charged with promoting only local standards of decency? Let’s look at some potential examples:
Nothing grosses out LA-LA land denizens more than those who are not size 2 and buff, not to mention silicone-stuffed, botox-injected, and tummy-tucked. So the city of Santa Monica has banned access to photos and blogs of anyone of normal American plus-sized weight and physique. Pinch an inch, and you are Web-nongrata in the Left Coast cosmic black hole of narcissism.
Provincetown had filtered out all Web content that mentioned “faggot,” “queer” and “fairy” until local residents complained that it blocked their access to cable TV shows, comedians and gay-authored blogs that used these words as terms of endearment or satire. Similarly, Newark and Detroit downloaders found their access to nearly every hip-hop song blocked when filters kept out various derivations of “nigga.”
There is conspicuously no news about the move to ban transfat-sodden food in New York on any Bible-belt Web site. But you can find 2,786 different ways to fry a chicken–or a turkey, Twinkie or grits, although no one is entirely certain what grits are.
You can log on to the Internet anywhere in the Boston area, but can access nothing about the New York Yankees. Which, under the current playoff circumstances, is undoubtedly a sound, proactive civic mental-health decision. Curiously, during the summer when the Red Sox pulled within two or less games of the persistent division leaders, or when Alex Rodriguez went into a slump, access to the Yankees was suddenly restored.
Atlanta has blocked any references to the Civil War (or, as they call it, “the recent unpleasantness”) so that future generations of survivors of the William Tecumseh Sherman urban redevelopment project won’t be further traumatized. Interestingly, states’ rights makes it through the filter; slavery does not.
Real-estate listings are banned in South Florida by a city council that fears they might encourage recent home and apartment speculators to take an 800-foot swan dive off the Four Seasons hotel. Not to mention stop snow birds from hypnotically pouring cash into the local economy.
New York City has cut off all access to anything not having to do with New York. The mayor’s office for information technology confirmed: “Who cares what happens outside Manhattan?”
from Media Post Publications

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: