David Burt of Filtering Facts is a librarian and pro- censorware activist. David is quoted frequently in the press on the installation of censorware in public libraries.
The following is intended for journalists and policy-makers who deal with David, and for anyone debating him on a mailing list or panel. It consists of excerpts from postings David has made to Declan McCullagh's Fight-Censorship mailing list since August, 1997. These excerpts may give some insight into David's knowledge, credibility and personality. I have included links to the Fight-Censorship archive so that the reader, if interested, may review the text of the entire message and of the thread in which it was included.
Italicized material is mine; normal fonts are David's except as otherwise identified; quoted material is indented.
Today's NY Times has an article entitled "ACLU Attacks Filter Software in Libraries" at http://www.nytimes.com/library/cyber/law/082197law.html
It contains some quotes from that noted constitutional law scholar, David Burt.....
(Vol. 2 No. 389)
( Vol. 2 n. 518)
Since you do not supply *how big a sample* you took of the CP list, we can only assume you looked at the entire list. So after exhaustively combing through the 57,000 entries on the CyberNot list you wre able to come up with about 60 bad blocks. That's about .1% In other words, you guys are asserting that CyberPatrol is 99.9% accurate. That's quite a ringing endorsement!
(Vol. 2 no. 589)
Like I said before, your own report shows that the CP stoplist is 99.9% accurate.
99.9% accurate + unblocked in 24 hours = a good product.
Better luck next time.
(Vol. 2 no. 593)
But there simply is no other way to calculate it. It is impossible to estimate the nubmer of pages or total byte of everything blocked, and everything not blocked, so the only meaningful way is total number of blocked URLs as a portion of the stoplists. Therefore, your results certify that the CyberNot list is 99.9% accurate.
(Vol. 2 no. 591)
I wrote to Susan Getgood of The Learning Company, asking if the company endorses David Burt's claims that the Cyberpatrol product is "99.9%" accurate (eg, contains one tenth of a percent bad blocks in its database).....
Her complete reply:
" As I believe he himself has stated, David Burt is a private individual who is not associated with The Learning Company. He is, of course, entitled to his opinions.
As I have said before, our public statements with regard to Cyber Patrol can be found on the website, www.cyberpatrol.com
(Vol. 3, no. 611)
As you well know, I don't claim CyberPatrol is "99.9% accurate", or don't make any specific claims about the degree of accuracy of the various filtering programs. What I said was, based on the number of "bad blocks" found in the CensorWare Project divided by the total number of blocks on the stoplist, 99.9% of the list is not found to be bad. As a joke, I repeatedly said "The CensorWare Project found CyberPatrol to be 99.9% accurate". Jonathan can make a joke, but he certainly can't take one, as we all know.
And, as you pointed out, I have also said repeatedly, including several times to Mr. Wallace, that I have no affiliation with The Learning Company.
One of Jonathan's hobbies is twisting and distorting the remarks of others in attempts to make mischief, as you are well aware. It's nice that you have the spare time on your hands to respond to this silly person.
Hope you had a nice three-day weekend!
BTW, I have it on fairly good authority that Loudoun will not be using X-Stop.
(Vol. 2 no. 516)
CP recently told me that WestHollywood and DejaNews will not be unblocked. WestHollywood continues to offer a parade of shifty porn sites.... WestHollywood is a notorious haven for quick buck, fly-by-night porn sites and click farms.
(Vol. 2 no. 562)
(humor) What a bunch of geeks! I almost fell of my chair laughing so hard! I figured you guys would mostly be pasty-skinned short-sleeved pilsbury doughboys. None of you guys look like you ever had any sex in your life you didn't pay for. No wonder you guys are all obsessed with preserving your rights to access pornography. (/humor)
(Vol. 3 No. 606)
The overweight and chronically ignorant Mr. Sims....
(Vol. 3 no. 626)
And Jamie sure is eager to get all those alt.sex groups, including alt.sex.pedophilia, into the hands of children. Including alt.bestiality? Well, you know, he does live with all those bunnies... ;->
(Vol. 4 no. 5)
Jonathan Wallace wrote:
A correction to David:
The Censorware Project was picked up in Netly, Wired News, Australian Financial Review, Computer underground Digest, and several other places (Jamie's got a couple of cites I don't....) Not to mention 30,000+ monthly readers of the Spectacle.
(humor) Let's see, that's two Internet news sites, one weird Aussie site, and two glorified Fanzines, one of which is the ego trip of a washed-up ambulance chaser turned porn pusher. Not real impressive. (/humor)
(Vol. 2, no. 594)
it accomplishes nothing to demonize people you disagree with, except to promote fear and misunderstanding.
Jonathan Wallace wrote:
When a site which freely discusses ideas, and contains no lascivious material, is blocked by so many products, don't you think there's something going on here?
Really? Mr. Wallace, perhaps you are not aware of what is going on at your site. You really should look at:
This is why the filtering vendors I talk to think that you are playing games with them, putting lurid articles like this full of foul language and reference to sex and drugs, then claiming that "your site is blocked when it is about the free discussion of ideas".
(Vol. 2 No. 483)
The following reminds me of the famous ending of Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space: "Can you prove it didn't happen?"
(He quoted his mail above)
Mr. Wallace called this a "smear", compared me to Joe McCarthy, and threatened a law suit (he later backed off this and claimed he was "only joking"). Note from the above post that I did not actually accuse Wallace of this, I only passed along a suggestion a filtering vendor had made to me. Perhaps the vendor made this assumption based on experience, as the below post proves other free speech sites opposed to filtering *admit* to doing exactly what was suggested:
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 1997 12:39:10 -0800 (PST)
From: Stanton McCandlish email@example.com
To: Declan McCullagh firstname.lastname@example.org
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Re: EFF and CyberPatrol
We know precisely why CyberPatrol, et al., block our censorship archive it contains the full text of the Sup.Ct. ruling in FCC v. Pacifica, "seven dirty words" and all. Not to mention an anonymized version of the Jake Baker story. We did that on purpose. We WANT filters to block us, because it serves as a good reminder that they are not very selective and that material that is probably not really objectionable to anyone will get blocked - as well as demonstrating to the courts in the CDA case that you don't have to be a pornographer to provide "indecent" material on a public web site, for damn good reasons.
In case you missed it, here it is again:
"We did that on purpose. We WANT filters to block us"
(Vol. 2 no. 496)
All I encountered here were a bunch of over grown adolescents (or maybe most of you are adolescents).
(Vol. 2 No. 393)
....my wife said yesterday, "You're sure spending a lot of time arguing with those geeks, dear."....
(Vol. 2 no. 599)
Where your page is going to bother me is if a friend or relative sees it. And frankly, I think that's your intent, to try to cause me emotional discomfort. Oh well, I *did* think about that before I said all those all those things. If I didn't want my mother to read something, I probably shouldn't have wrote it.
(Vol. 4 no. 90)