Saturday, February 12, 2005

Banned in BostonCity Hall

This blog has been banned at City Hall. Well, not exactly banned because it is me, although I am sure the anti-homosexual councilman Sam Malone might think otherwise, but all blogspot blogs are being filtered out of the City's computer system.

The computers used by elected officials should not be filtered on any level, unless the city adopts a law filtering all forms of communication into City Hall, including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, mail, and the telephone. For that matter they should create a sound dampening system to keep out people yelling from the street.

Why wouldn't city officials want to know what citizens are saying about local issues and local politicians? On this site and others we do just that. Now, do we also discuss national issues, sure, so does WLW and WDBZ. Are those radio stations being jammed inside the building?

Greg brought up one issue in the article that smells of censorship:
The city manager's office determines which categories of Web sites are "off limits" to city employees. Those categories include pornography, bandwidth-hogging streaming video or audio, gambling sites, alternative media, hobby sites and any site dubbed "tasteless" by the software.
Two points, who determines what is tasteless, the City Manager or the software company running the filter? Second, who the hell is deciding what is "Alternative media," and way would you ever ban it? Does that include sites like the Village Voice or IndyMedia? Locally could it mean my blog and the Independent Eye?

I also don't like it when Nate and I are on the same side of this issue. That alone gives me the creeps, not just censorship.

Nick Spencer comments, and believes his site is not banned.

UPDATE #2 (2:20PM):
The AP has the story, but so far all I have found is a Toledo TV station's short take story. It does mention "two blogs specific to Cincinnati news and issues." I would not mind a more specific mention of the blogs so the readers can judge for themselves if blogs like mine should be considered something beyond just a "message board" as we are considered now by the city's filtering software.

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