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Re: [vox][OT response] Article: A parent's guide to Linux Webfiltering
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Re: [vox][OT response] Article: A parent's guide to Linux Webfiltering



On Thu, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:21:30PM -0700, Dave Margolis wrote:
> Bill Kendrick wrote:
> 
> >Noticed this article over at NewsForge.  Looks neat, and is written in
> >a down-to-Earth fashin, from the first few paragraphs I've read so far...
> >
> >  A parent's guide to Linux Web filtering
> >  By: Joe Bolin
> >
> >  http://software.newsforge.com/software/04/06/23/1521209.shtml
> 
> Interesting stuff.  Cool use of Squid.  I'll have to look into Dan's 
> Guardian...

The program is called DansGuardian, not "Dan's Guardian".

> I don't want to start a nasty debate, but as a parent, I'm just throwing 
> some questions I have about Web filtering in general.

I'm sure you started a nasty debate.

> My sons are 6 and 1, so I'm obviously not too worried yet.  For this 
> reason, I might not be truly qualified to comment on Web filtering.

First off, the article serves as a nice simple tutorial in setting up a
transparent proxy in general, so you can be introduced to that
technique without necessarily setting it up as a content filter. In
this case, you're asking about web content filtering to remove
objectionable ideas.
 
> Does anybody see the real value in Web filtering?
 
An adult might do it to protect *himself* from the temptation. The
only problem is that if you set this yourself, you'll know exactly how
to disable it. Although the some methods of disabling it are more
complicated than others (eg. Transparent proxying is more complicated
than using your web-browser settings to set up proxying, which is more
difficult to beat than putting the common porn sites in your hosts
file mapped to 127.0.0.1), you might still find yourself going to
disable it, but it can help supplement the force of willpower to keep
you from visiting said sites.

(The Jewish sages said: the greater a man, the greater his evil
inclination)

> 1. Sure I can filter stuff at home, but I can't filter what my son sees at 
> a friend's house.  It would be nice to say I could have better control 
> over how responsible the other kid's parents were, but we know that's not 
> possible.  We're already dealing with this type of thing with cartoons. 
> We try not to let our son watch violent cartoons, but his friends parents 
> let their kids watch Power Rangers and Yugio and all that stuff.  I could 
> get all uptight about that and try to talk to the parents, or I could just 
> communicate with my son about violence and the potential effects of what 
> he watches, which is my preference.

In a place where there are agreed upon community standards (like a very
religious community), you would be much less likely to have this
problem. In many Orthodox Jewish communities for example, people don't
own TV's, so there's none of this problem about watching violent
cartoons at a friend's house.

> 2. My parent's couldn't stop me from stealing Playboy and Hustler from 
> Tower books when I was 13 (or wait, maybe that was last week!) :-)
> Honestly, the more you try to suppress, the more you flame their curiosity.

So their future wife should help satisfy that curiousity, once they're
married. :)

> 3. I expect my son to be pretty technically astute (he already is, and 
> we've never pushed it on him).  If my future teenage son hacks my content 
> filter to see some boobies, I'm gonna give him a high-five.

Remember that in general, congratulating your child for doing
something cute, but nevertheless ethically wrong, isn't going to teach
him any ethics. You decide whether viewing porn is ethically wrong,
but I think it is.

> 4. What about electronic freedom and all that?  Doesn't content filtering 
> (even for porn) seem to contrast a strong belief in OSS and organizations 
> like the FSF and EFF?

It may be significant whether one's doing it for himself/his family
versus when one does it to a whole organization that he controls,
versus doing it to random members of the public.

And false positives exacerbate this issue.

> 5. How about the whole violence vs. nudity thing.  I'm one of those 
> liberal type fellas who think that our society's acceptance of violence in 
> popular culture but shunning of nudity, sex, etc. is a bad thing.  That's 
> a whole different debate though, so I'll leave that one alone.

Too late to leave that one alone.

In Orthodox Judaism, we deplore both violence and sexual immorality.
You don't have to choose only one.

> 6. False positives?  I read something recently about a girl in junior high 
> who couldn't do research on breast cancer because she kept getting 
> blocked.  An extreme case maybe, but still a reality.  I had a friend who 
> worked in the governor's office (under Grey) and every other link I sent 
> her got blocked by their "appropriate use" filter.  I promise I wasn't 
> sending her porn.

DansGuardian has *tons* of tuneable parameters (probably too many to
keep track of) that you as a parent can play with until the false
positives are minimized.

> Anyway, I plan on being involved on my sons' use of the internet as much 
> as possible.  I don't plan on being too upset if they are curious about 
> sex, drugs, or anything else that I was curious about.  My parents were 
> available, but pretty laissez faire.  I turned out all right.

Remember that putting computers in common-areas of the house (so that
you can supervise that your children aren't doing anything
objectinable) only works to an extent. When it's late at night, or the
parents are out of the house doing errands, there's no longer any
supervision to keep kids from doing something that's objectionable.

> I'm curious to hear some comments from other parents (especially of older 
> kids).

I'm not a parent. I'm a college student.

> Dave M.

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