Somehow it's suddenly Wednesday morning 1/13/99 10:57:13. I've gotten the links to Winamp and that Scientific American article I read on the air in. I've made the PICS links readable, as opposed to a bunch of URLs. Sorry it took longer than I'd hoped it would. I think this page is done now. I do have a lot on PICS and there will be more on the page for the next program.
A high school kid named Brandon Beussink in Missouri had a Web page where he criticized his school's Web page and the people in charge of the school. Apparently, the usual high school student's level of criticism, tact and consideration were exercised. The school, Woodland High School in Marble Hill, Missouri, suspended the kid for 10 days.
The consequence of this was that the kid missed enough school that he couldn't graduate and go to college. Some punishment for just being a kid and saying what you think. Luckily, the ACLU took the case and got a preliminary injunction which prevented the school from factoring in the kid's 10 day suspension, prevented any more punishment of him and allowed the kid to have his Web page. The ACLU has a press release on this issue.
ZDNet has a story with all of the details on this case. The kid got scared off enough to take down his Web page though, and he'll probably be scarred for life by the tight assed dictators from that high school.
PICS stands for Platform for Internet Content Selection and is something that's morphed over time from a possible weapon against the Communications Decency Act (CDA) into a weapon against freedom of speech on the World Wide Web.
Mr. Sims writes, It is my New Year's resolution this year to publish a complete set of web pages relating to the PICS controversy in the U.S.; unfortunately I've been working on something else for the past few weeks. A good place to start is Irene Graham's pages.Will PICS Torch Free Speech on the Internet?
The Net Labelling Delusion: Saviour or Devil
How PICSRules facilitate a Global Rating System
The Net Labelling Delusion: Protection or Oppression
and then move on:
Wired: Tyranny in the Infrastructure <----- good!
Global Internet Liberty Campaign Submission on PICS
American Civil Lliberties Union: Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?
American Library Association Statement on Labeling: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Electronic Privacy Information Center - Censorware: A Post-CDA Solution?
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) Report, Who Watches the Watchmen
Censoring the Internet with PICS: an Australian Stakeholder analysis
C|NET: RSAC shelves news rating
I hope these resources will make it obvious that PICS is the subject of some extreme controversy. Pro-censorship groups love it. Civil liberties groups hate it. The dividing line is sharp and serious.
I think I can say without exaggeration that a decision to require any sort of PICS ratings is a political and social statement in support of various social conservative groups.
The ALA puts it fairly succinctly:'Labeling is the practice of describing or designating materials by affixing a prejudicial label and/or segregating them by a prejudicial system. The American Library Association opposes these means of predisposing people's attitudes toward library materials for the following reasons:
1. Labeling is an attempt to prejudice attitudes and as such, it is a censor's tool.
2. Some find it easy and even proper, according to their ethics, to establish criteria for judging publications as objectionable. However, injustice and ignorance rather than justice and enlightenment result from such practices, and the American Library Association opposes the establishment of such criteria...'
On the air I read a small article from the December 1998, issue of Scientific American about the controversy surrounding a discrepancy between the precited speed of the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft. They appear to be slowing down faster than physicists predicted they would. Is this an indication of a new law of gravitation, or does this slowdown have a more mundane explanation?
Elmo used to be a regular listener to Back of the Book until he had to go out of the listening area to attend college. Now he's wondering if folks want to start a mailing list. Let him know if you want to.
Someone left a message on my voice mail at WBAI saying that I hadn't given a link to, in his opinion, the best of the MP3 players Winamp. Well, now I have. You can find the other links, etc. in the MP3 section of my previous (12/28/98) program.
There are a lot of issues that we can't talk about on the air at WBAI. But there is an internet list called Free Pacifica! which you can subscribe to, and these issues are discussed there. If you subscribe to it you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.
If you want to subscribe to the Free Pacifica! list just click on this link and fill out the form, and you'll be subscribed. Could open your eyes a little bit.
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