Friday, 3 December 2004

Online security and Online teacher's duty of care

I have commented before (here, here, here and here) that as we move to e-learning, the notion of "duty of care" and cyber security for learners are difficult issues. I shifted constantly between in favour of "education" to in favour of "filtering" and back. The spam emails (mostly inappropriate for minors) take up about 95% of my incoming email. Without filters, I just cannot work. However, the recent entry of MSN into the blogosphere is another demonstration of how bad filter may be (at least as an implementation by Microsoft). See this from Boing Boing.

... from a BoingBoing reader about the fact that MSN Spaces, Microsoft's new blogging tool, censors certain words you might try to include in a blog title or url. If you can't speak freely on a blog, what's the point of having one? This demanded a full investigation.


(1) BoingBoing's readers said the title "Corporate Whore" was censored. My attempt at "Corporate Whore Chronicles" met the same result, but "Corporate Prostitute Chronicles" worked fine. Hooray for synonyms with more syllables!


(4) Uh-oh. My attempt to create an MSN Spaces blog called "Pornography and The Law" is met with rude red text advising me to can the profanity. So, if I were a law student who wanted to start a blog about the history of obscenity law in the United States, I'd be shit out of luck.


The conclusion? A mixed bag of results that manages to do what most attempts to automate censorship do -- make fools of the censors. - Xeni Jardin

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