Library Juice 1:30 - August 26, 1998

1. Query for Readers - Alternate Sources of Consumer Information 
2. Backfired Censorship Attempt 
3. Terry Link's Site on Socially Responsible Investing 
4. Medical History sites, submitted by AJ Wright 
5. MSRRT NEWSLETTER v.11 #4 is out, clip-art-free edition on web 
6. New issue of Alternative Press Review out 
7. _Choice_  Web Reviews 
8. 'Esquire' magazine sez: Gary Webb Was Right! 
9. Chinese News Database - 
11. President's Information Technology Advisory Committee Interim Report 
12. TOC: Karen Venturella, ed., _Poor People and Library Services_ 
13. Open letter on bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan 
14. Quotes in the wake of the bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan 
15.  2+2=4 Intellectual Freedom Website 
16. Thread from alt.zines on Zines in libraries 
18. "Filtering Out the Filters" by Chris Oakes (clever writes PICS disabler) 
I can't start deleting David (Burt)'s messages until he answers my question: 
How could Playboy possibly harm someone, in a way that they wouldn't have been  
harmed if I had gone in and drawn bathing suits on the girls before the 
person got their hands on the magazine? 
-Bennett Hazelton, in a message to the listserv ALAOIF 
1. Query for Readers - Alternate Sources of Consumer Information 
At the public library where I am working as a temp, the bulk of the 
reference questions are consumer related, and the sources for answering 
them are Consumer Reports and Consumer Digest.  It strikes me that this is 
a small part of the collection for such a large proportion of the reference 
questions.  I wonder if any readers can suggest other sources for consumer 
information that can be of help in a reference collection? 
Please send your ideas back to me, at Rory[at]  Let me know if you don't  
wish your name included in any compilation of the responses.  Thanks! 
2. Backfired Censorship Attempt 
>From Chuck Shepard's "News of the Weird" 
"Earlier this year, Wichita Falls, TX, Baptist minister Robert Jeffress 
wrote a $54 check to the city library to purchase all the copies of the 
book "Heather Has Two Mommies" and another children's book on living with 
homosexual parents, with the goal of retiring them from circulation. 
However, subsequent publicity caused so many patrons to request the book 
that, according to the library's standard guidelines, it will have to order 
several new copies to satisfy demand. 
("News of the Weird" is real news collected from the mainstream press by 
Chuck Shepherd.  Send your clippings of weird news to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. 
Box 8306, St. Petersburg, FL 33738.) 
3. Terry Link's Site on Socially Responsible Investing 
ALA Council is following the lead of other large non-profits and has begun  
considering investing it's money in socially responsible investment funds.   
Many in the organization had never heard of the practice when the issue came to  
the table.  Maybe you or your patron's want to know about it, or maybe you're  
interested in the debate within ALA. 
Here is Terry Link's site on the subject, based on years of research: 
4. Medical History sites, submitted by AJ Wright 
*Medical History on the Internet 
*Anesthesia History Files 
AJ Wright, MLS 
Dept of Anesthesiology Library 
School of Medicine 
University of Alabama at Birmingham 
5. MSRRT NEWSLETTER v.11 #4 is out, clip-art-free edition on web 
Library Alternatives 
July/August 1998 v.11 #4 
In this Issue 
       "The Poor" and the General Public  
       What I Didn't Do at ALA  
       Infoshop Session  
       Reading Picture Books  
       Zine News/Info Watch  
       World Wide Web  
       Recommended Reading  
       Also Noted  
       Recommended Resources  
       Zines and Other Periodicals  
       Books Received  
MSRRT Newsletter's alternative news, views, and resource listings are sent via  
snail mail six times a year to members of the Minnesota Library Association  
Social Responsibilities Round Table (MSRRT). Others subscribe by making a  
donation ($15 suggested) payable to MLA/MSRRT. Direct review copies and  
editorial mail to: Chris Dodge/Jan DeSirey, 4645 Columbus Ave.S., Minneapolis,  
MN 55407 USA; 612-694-8572; email: 
6. New issue of Alternative Press Review out 
(From Chuck Munson) 
I thought I'd put in a plug for Alternative Press Review, which has just  
published its new issue. APR is a quarterly magazine which excerpts articles  
from the alternative press and reviews alternative magazines, zines, and books.  
I have joined the editorial collective and am working on the Fall issue. I'm  
looking for suggestions on institutional pricing, so email me if you have good  
Alternative Press Review 
volume 3, number 1  Spring/Summer 1998 
* Alternative Press Notes 
* News in Brief 
* Letters 
* Bits and Pieces 
* GANDALF 3 convicted, freed 
* Everyone Is Doing Outrageous Sex: An interview with Brenda Loew 
* A War at Pacifica by Jesse Walker 
* The Pacification of Public Radio by David Barsamian (Alternative Radio) 
* Power to the Pussy! Celebrate the Erotic by Miss Eona and Princess Noelle 
Pitter-Patter (Bust) 
* Codex & the FDA: Is the FDA trying to subvert our freedom? by Sam Gaines (Eye) 
* Same-Sex Marriage by Nikki Gershbain (Border/Lines) 
* Journalism and the CIA by Daniel Brandt (NameBase NewsLine) 
* A Revolution in American Policing by Christian Parenti (Z Magazine) 
* America's Sex Gulags by Bill Andriette (The Guide) 
* Reviews of alternative press magazines, zines, and books 
() denote magazine article excerpted from. 
Regular subscriptions are $16/year by third class mail and $32/two years. First  
class subscriptions are $22/year and $44/two years. International subscriptions  
are $24/year by surface mail and $32/year by International airmail. Sample  
copies are $6 each ($7 each by first class mail) 
C.A.L. Press, POB 1446, Columbia, MO 65205-1446 USA 
For the Fall issue, our address will change to: 
PO Box 4710, Arlington, VA  22204 
Send zines to be reviewed to this address. 
Subscriptions help us out more than bookstore sales! 
Available at some Borders and Barnes & Noble (we suggest you talk your independent 
bookstore into carrying it). 
7. _Choice_  Web Reviews 
 _Choice_ Web Reviews URLs 
_Choice_ Special Issue Purchasing Information 
The second annual edition of _Choice_ magazine's Web supplement is 
available, and this site contains links to 482 reviewed sites. Of these, 
390 are compiled from reviews in the magazine dating back to the August 
1997 Web supplement, and 93 are newly reviewed. Twenty-five major topics 
are covered in the areas of Reference, Humanities, Science & Technology, 
and Social & Behavioral Sciences. "Teaching faculty and librarians at 
academic institutions in the U.S. and Canada" choose and review sites 
relevant to undergraduate academic libraries. _Choice_ is a product of 
the Association of College & Research Libraries, part of the American 
Library Association. Note that this site contains URLs only. For the 
reviews, three special articles, and a listing of forthcoming Internet 
related books, magazine purchasing information is provided. [JS] 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1998. 
8. 'Esquire' magazine sez: Gary Webb Was Right! 
San Jose, CA residents might especially appreciate this: 
                    Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting 
               Media analysis, critiques and news reports 
'Esquire': Gary Webb Was Right! 
        "Two years ago, Gary Webb wrote a series of articles that said some bad  
things about the CIA and drug traffickers. The CIA denied the charges, and  
every major newspaper in the country took the agency's word for it. Gary Webb  
was ruined. Which is a shame, because he was right." 
        --From 'Pariah,' a profile of Gary Webb in Esquire's current issue 
If you've been wondering what's happened to former San Jose Mercury News 
reporter Gary Webb since his reporting on links between the contras and drug 
smuggling was savaged by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other 
major news media, check out the September issue of Esquire, which features a 
profile of Webb and his story that was too hot for mainstream journalism. The 
article, by contributing editor Charles Bowden paints a chilling portrait of  
the fate that awaits reporters who veer from the government line. 
The article also features a brief history of the CIA/drug story and an  
interview with a retired DEA agent who alleges CIA involvement with drug  
P.S. Gary Webb's book, 'Dark Alliance' is available from Seven Stories Press 
9. Chinese News Database - 
Dear Sir/Madam, 
The Sino21( has build up a new Chinese Database 
which included a large information in the Internet. This Database 
contain several past newspapers and magazines such as People's Daily 
(1946.6.15 - 1995.12.31), Central Daily News (1928-1949.3), the press 
release of America Sound, Kaogu(Archaeology) magazine(1995 till now), 
International Taxation in China magazine and so on. Taiwan 
Times(1919-1945) will be build up in the near future. In addition, 
Sino21 will build up other useful database for the parties to research 
the modern history. 
Otherwise, Sino21 provided a functional search engine for searching 
data. For example, plus condition by key word or time limitation. 
Sino21's Chinese database is suitable for academies, media, and 
commercial parties. If you are interested in this Database, please visit 
For further information, please contact Jonathan Lin(hnlin[at] 
Thank you for your attention. 
Sole Agency: 
China Education Publications Overseas Ltd 
Contact person: Jonathan Lin 
Indiana University Online Copyright Tutorial 
The Copyright Management Center of Indiana University Purdue University 
Indianapolis (IUPUI) offers this email tutorial for Fall Semester 1998. 
The tutorial is designed "to help educators move away from the fearful 
image of copyright as an annoying or threatening beast and to work with 
copyright while maintaining focus on academic pursuits." Subscribers 
will receive approximately three messages per week, beginning September 
2, 1998 and continuing throughout the semester. While the tutorial is 
aimed at educators, librarians, and staff at Indiana University, anyone 
is welcome to join the mailing list. Content is provided by the director 
of the CMC, Kenneth D. Crews, who is a Professor of Law and Library and 
Information Science, and John O'Donnell, a Library and Information 
Science graduate student. More information about the tutorial is 
available at the above URL. [JS] 
To subscribe send email to: 
In the body of the message type: 
   sub Copyright-Online-L [your real name] 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1998. 
11. President's Information Technology Advisory Committee Interim Report 
to the President, August 1998 
The US National Coordination Office for Computing, Information, and 
Communications has issued this report concerning "future directions for 
Federal support of research and development in high performance 
computing, communications, information technology, and the Next 
Generation Internet." PITAC has concluded that federal support of 
information technology is inadequate and generally short-sighted. Their 
60-page report is divided into five major sections that first overview 
information technology, and then discuss federal research priorities, 
potential focal points, and the implementation and management of new 
initiatives. The report is available in HTML and Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) 
format. [JS] 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1998. 
12. TOC: Karen Venturella, ed., _Poor People and Library Services_ 
Karen Venturella, ed., _Poor People and Library Services_ 
(Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1998)  ISBN: 0-7864-0563-5 
Table of Contents: 
Foreword, by Sandy Berman 
-Theory and Background: 
"History and Theory of Information Poverty," John Buschman 
"Libraries and Poverty," Karen M. Venturella 
-Poverty Programs for Children 
"Reading Can Give You a Dream," Pam Carlson 
"At Work in the Children's Room," Khafre K. Abif 
"Denver Public Library Reads Aloud to Young Children," Sharon Morris 
"The Beginning with Books - Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Connection," 
Elizabeth Segel 
-Access to Technology for Low-Income Groups 
"The Free Library of Philadelphia Technology Demonstration Project," 
Lillian Marrero and Sam Weinstein 
-Neighborhood Coalition and International Organization 
"Libraries in the Street," Denis Cretinon and Carl Egner 
"Hosmer Branch Library," Wizard Marks 
-Suggestions for Action 
"Ways to Make a Difference," Sherry Lampman 
"10 Reasons Why...," Joshua Cohen 
-Programs in Shelters and Public Housing 
"Libraries and the Poor: What's the Connection?" Mildred Dotson and Yolanda 
"One-Site Library Centers," Mary D. Teasley and Deloris Walker-Moses 
-Rural Poverty Programs 
"Library Services to Farm Workers in West Central Florida," Kathleen de la 
Peña McCook and Kate Lippincott 
A. Library Services for the Poor (ALA) 
B. Economic Barriers to Information Access (ALA) 
C. Poverty Related Organizations 
Notes on Contributors 
13. Open letter on bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan 
From: "M.C. Rosenzweig" <iskra[at]> 
Subject: additional re:bombings 
Reply-To: member-forum[at] 
Sender: owner-member-forum[at] 
If you agree with this letter (below) and want to sign on, please contact 
me (as above) or Elaine Harger at eharger[at] It will then be 
sent on early next week to the library press, other press, the President, 
Sec of Defense Madeleine Albright etc. 
Give your affiliation (for identification purpposes only). 
Mark Rosenzweig 
ALA Councilor at large 
  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  
>>The undersigned librarians, library workers, and information professionals 
>>deplore the bombing of Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for the 
>>terrorist attacks of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. 
>>While there is no doubt that the perpetrators of the cowardly and deadly 
>>embassy attacks should be apprehended and tried, and their co-conspirators 
>>brought before the international bar of justice, this kind of collective 
>>punishment carried out by US forces at the command of President Clinton 
>>only fuels the flames of hatred which underlay these conflicts. It is also 
>>irresponsible, unethical, a probable violation of international law 
>>itself, and of dubious value in defending the US against terrorism. 
>>We call on the president and Congress to stay the hand of further military 
>>response in the interests of justice, peace, and stability, and urge that 
>>the capture and punishment of those responsible for the American embassy 
>>bombings be conducted according to international law. 
  Mark C. Rosenzweig 
  Professor, Hofstra University, Axinn Library 
14. Quotes in the wake of the bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan 
"Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired 
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, 
those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending 
money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its 
scientists, the hopes of its children . . . We pay for a single fighter plane 
with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new 
homes that could have housed more than eight thousand people . . . This is 
not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening 
war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." 
                                   - Dwight David Eisenhower 
"We have never interfered in the internal government of a country 
and have no intention of doing so, never have had any thought of 
that kind." 
                -Ronald Reagan, 9-28-82 
How can the one indispensable nation turn so rapidly into the one, 
apparently, indisposable global empire and world policeman? What has 
gone wrong? Why are they blowing up our embassies? Who are they? Or as 
a lady asked me at a political meeting in Orange County, California, 
during the Cold War: "I have two questions. First, what can I do as an 
average American housewife to fight Communism and, second, what is 
-- Gore Vidal 
  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  
(an item from AGITPROP NEWS, from the Labor Art and Mural Project) 
Email: lamp[at]   -   Website: 
To subscribe to AGITPROP NEWS, 
the LAMP weekly digest of news for artists and activists: 
Send to: listserv[at] 
Message: subscribe agitprop_news (Your Name) your[at]address 
Spanning the Globe to: ORGANIZE  -  AGITATE  -  EDUCATE  -  INSPIRE 
15.  2+2=4 Intellectual Freedom Website 
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 17:15:42 -0700 (PDT) 
From: Steven Dunlap <sad[at]> 
To: ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom List <alaoif[at]> 
Subject: Overhaul of 2+2=4 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Reply-To: sad[at] 
Sender: owner-alaoif[at] 
I have just finished making major changes to my IF web site.  I have  
added a keyword search of the entire site.  This search program looks for  
files in the "John Gear Archive" (a project which proved difficult using  
the java applet search program I started with) along with all other files  
in the site, including the ALA-OIF archive. 
One of the reasons I have not done any work on either archive for so long   
has been anticipation of this keyword searching feature.  I got approval  
for putting 2+2=4 in a separate sub-directory (notice the slight change in  
the URL in my signature block) and just got the cgi-bin sub-directory  
properly configured today. 
As a result I will start to add files to both archives again, but will 
stop adding subject links I as I did before for the ala-oif archive (more  
work than I can do).  I have also started re-thinking the archiving of this  
list.  Unable to find a list owner to implement David Smith's  
suggestion that we use an outside service and faced with a huge number of  
posts to deal with, something has to change.  I decided to weed even more  
rigorously than before.  This means that anyone who wants to look up this  
or that gadfly's post to try to use his/her exact words in a stunningly 
urbane and witty reply will have to save the post in question themselves.   
I am trying to focus this site to make it a useful educational tool.   
Something's gotta go.  Sorry. 
Speaking of focus,  I would appreciate any suggestions, advice, etc for 
making 2+2=4 more useful to librarians and activists.  Anyone who wishes  
to play around with the keyword searching and report back any problems 
you encounter would also help me greatly. 
Steven Dunlap                          Golden Gate University 
Regional Campus                        University Library 
Services Librarian                     536 Mission Street 
sad[at]                            San Francisco, CA  94105 
Regional Campus Nomad's page: 
2+2=4 Intellectual Freedom page 
"If you accept his assumptions, even a madman sounds reasonable."  
                          ---Russian Proverb 
16. Thread from alt.zines on Zines in libraries 
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 11:34:32 -0500 (CDT) 
X-Sender: vharris[at] 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
To: librarians[at] 
From: Valerie Harris <vharris[at]> 
Subject: Re: Interesting thread from alt.zines 
Sender: owner-librarians[at] 
Precedence: bulk 
At 10:32 AM 8/19/98 -0700, you wrote: 
>chuck0[at] wrote: 
>> Basically the AIP SRRT is trying to get more of your zines into libraries. As 
>> most of you know, public libraries are pretty pathetic when it comes to 
>> carrying zines. 
chuck, this sounds like a great roundtable. I think my membership to ala has 
lapsed, only cuz i hadn't heard about librarians like you. 
i wrote a paper for a class on collecting zines, and found a number of 
reasons why so few are doing it. obviously, too many librarians don't even 
know what zines are. those who do, and have attempted acquiring them cite a 
number of difficulties such as the infrequency or irregularity of output, no 
subscription rates, too cheap! (costs anywhere from $20-$50 to cut a check 
through the budget office for a single issue, costing maybe a dollar); 
unusual payment specs such as "send 4 stamps" or "trades". 
I think this poses a real problem with current library trends of 
centralizing purchases or using subscription services such as Blackwell. 
Bibliographers and acquisition librarians are losing, or giving up, control 
of buying decisions. I fear the ultimate result will be increasingly 
homogeneous collections resembling chain bookstores. 
><snip> James wrote:  
 It is definitely a fact that most 
>libraries are pathetic when it comes to carrying zines.  Should it be 
>otherwise?   Like, I think it would be neat and all seeing some zines 
>around next time I went to my local library.. but is getting zines into 
>libraries really something worthy of an organization? 
>First we start trying to get zines into local libraries.. where next? 
>The local bookstores?  
>By trying to popularize zine culture, as getting zines recognized by 
>libraries would do,  
>part of the appeal, at least to me, is lost. 
wow, arguments like this strike me as particularly fucked up. libraries are 
free resources to people who don't have the funds to buy books and such. 
libraries are in theory about the most subversive kinds of institutions. why 
do fascist governments burn books? why do small minded people seek to coerce 
librarians into banning books?  
my boyfriend related a story of the importance of having a librarian able to 
make individual choice in building the collection, and the profound effects 
that can have on a person's life. when he was a kid growing up in boise he 
discovered the works of philip k. dick, j.g. ballard at the library. it made 
him feel not so isolated and alone. the same feeling he got from being part 
of the punk community there later on. 
i don't know, i think the library is the perfect place for zines.....  
>Most of the people I know don't even know what zines are, and the ones 
>that do... the last place they'd turn to read the new issue of one of 
>their favourites would be a library. 
what do you base this idea on? 
>I guess what I'm getting at with this is, do zines really need to be 
>everywhere?  People that want them, get them.   Why not leave it at 
this sounds tremendously elitist and masturbatory. 
>ICQ #1797326 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Don't be nervous"~~~~~ 
Valerie Harris 
Archives and Manuscripts Assistant 
The University of Chicago Library 
email:  vharris[at] 
phone:  773/702-2814 
To: NetInLib-Announce[at] 
From: John Walker <jwalker[at]> 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
>Date: Sat, 22 Aug 1998 10:34:00 
>To: lib-l[at] 
>From: John Walker <jwalker[at]> 
"The main issue of the transition from paper to electronic publishing 
comes down to a simple fact: scientific journals are most intensely 
read by young researchers, but decisions about how these journals 
communicate information are made by much older editors. Thus, changes 
are being made according to the perceptions of the producers rather 
than what the consumers need, expect, and are ready to use." In 
"Science and Communication: An Author/Editor/User's Perspective on the 
Transition from Paper to Electronic Publishing" (ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND 
TECHNOLOGY LIBRARIANSHIP, Summer 1998), Vincent H. Resh explores 
several commonly-held perceptions on copyright and licensing, budgetary 
issues, and implementation of technology in scholarly journal 
publishing. Resh writes from the dual perspectives of a scholar 
(Professor of Entomology in the Department of Environmental Science, 
Policy and Management at University of California, Berkeley) and an 
editor (The Annual Review of Entomology). His article is on the Web at 
Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship [ISSN 1092-1206] is a 
quarterly publication of the Science and Technology Section, 
Association of College and Research Libraries. Back issues are 
available on the Web at 
For more information contact: Andrea L. Duda, ISTL Editor, Davidson 
Library, University of California, Santa Barbara; CA 93106 USA; email: 
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of 
the American Library Association, is a professional association of 
academic librarians and other interested individuals. For more 
information link to 
The Science and Technology Section of the ACRL provides a forum for 
librarians in scientific and technical subject fields. For more 
information link to 
Other recent articles on electronic publishing: 
The theme for articles in the June 1998 issue of THE JOURNAL OF 
ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING (JEP) is "Reflections on the Revolution: Moving 
from Print to Electronic Publishing." JEP is published online by the 
University of Michigan Press. 
"Electronic Publishing Takes Journals into a New Realm: Publications 
Slip Off Restrictions of Print World and Carve Out a Unique Identity" 
by Sophie L. Wilkinson in CHEMICAL & ENGINEERING NEWS, May 18, 1998. 
"Educational Publishing and the WWW" by Ann Marion and Elizabeth L. 
includes video demonstrations and interactive links to reader comments. 
JIME is peer-reviewed and published online by the Knowledge Media 
Institute, The Open University, UK. Other articles are available at 
"Issues and Opportunities in 'E-Publishing'" by Edna Reid in THE STAR 
ONLINE, August 11, 1998. 
This column from a Malaysian newspaper provides a global perspective. 
Courtesy CIT Infobits 
On-line Learning Series of Courses 
Subscribe to the 'News to receive these and hundreds more resources. 
Join 'Our Net', A discussion list for Netizens. 
To subscribe, send an empty message to ournet-subscribe[at] 
Excerpt from CSS Internet News (tm)  ,-~~-.____ 
For subscription details email      / |  '     \ 
jwalker[at] with              (   )        0 
SUBINFO CSSINEWS in the             \_/-, ,----' 
subject line.                          ====           // 
                                       /  \-'~;    /~~~(O) 
"On the Internet no one               /  __/~|   /       | 
knows you're a dog"                 =(  _____| (_________| 
Subscribe to Lib-L 
List Site:  
To unsubscribe, send to lib-l-unsubscribe[at] 
FREE group e-mail lists at 
To unsubscribe from NetInLib-Announce,  
18. "Filtering Out the Filters" by Chris Oakes (clever writes PICS disabler) 
A 20-year-old college student took a stand against what he felt was Net 
censorship on Tuesday, and his protest took the form of code. 
University of Massachusetts student Brian Ristuccia posted software on his 
Web site designed to disable a Netscape browser feature that allows parents 
and others to block certain sites from view. 
"I think the only surefire way of not seeing content on the Net you don't 
want to see is by not going to [it]," he said. "No amount of technology 
is ever going to be the substitute for common sense." 
Ristuccia targeted the first implementation of a site-blocking feature in 
Netscape Communicator 4.06, called the Platform for Internet Content 
Selection, or PICS. 
Using PICS, a parent, librarian, teacher, or employer can deem Internet 
sites inappropriate on a particular browser. The feature uses a 
password system to prevent users from disabling PICS. 
After tinkering with his Unix version of Communicator, Ristuccia found he 
could edit the browser's preferences file and easily override the 
password scheme. Since making the modification is too tricky for some users 
or may not be technically feasible, Ristuccia posted a script to do 
the work automatically. The trick works on Unix, Windows NT, and Windows 95, 
but he said it had not been tested on either a Mac browser or Microsoft's 
Internet Explorer. 
Ristuccia had already created a proxy server that, if visited before the 
blocked sites, allowed users to view "censored" content. He posted the code 
for the server software so others could establish other filter-defeating 
proxy servers, he said. 
Netscape has not verified Ristuccia's claims, said product manager Edith 
Gong. If they are true, she said, the vulnerability doesn't necessarily 
amount to a flaw. If it is verified, she said, Netscape would address it by 
informing customers about preventing changes to preferences or by providing 
browser updates. 
Gong said that in supporting PICS, Netscape "is saying ... 'Look, it's an 
optional feature in the product. If you want to control sites, it's your 
Even optional filters don't sit right with Ristuccia.  PICS, and related 
software can be used to censor political and religious views, he said. "It's 
a full-fledged censorship tool." 
Barry Steinhardt, president of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and former 
associate director of the ACLU, agreed. Ristuccia's move spotlights 
an important freedom of speech issue in the Internet age. 
"I'm not saying individuals should be prohibited from using [PICS and 
filtering software] for personal use," said Steinhardt. "But its use in 
public institutions like libraries is inappropriate and, I think, 
"[Ristuccia] has identified our greatest fear, which is that these protocols 
will be used by libraries, by schools -- by government in general -- to 
censor information." 
       Wired Copyright Notice 
       Copyright © 1993-98 Wired Ventures, Inc. 
       Compilation copyright © 1998 HotWired, Inc. 
       All rights reserved. 
       This article is copyrighted by Wired Ventures, Inc. 
       and may be redistributed provided that the article 
       remains intact, with this copyright message clearly 
       visible. Under any circumstances, this article may 
       not be re-sold or re-distributed for compensation of 
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       Wired Ventures, Inc. 
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| publication edited by Rory Litwin.  Original senders     | 
| are credited wherever possible; opinions are theirs.     | 
| Your comments and suggestions are welcome.               | 
|                mailto:Juice[at]                     | 

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Date: Thursday, October 29, 1998 12:04 PM