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June 26, 2006

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Dan Farsaci

Interesting post! It is amazing to me that we are going to block sites from individuals that have obviously been determined to be old enough to rent a room for the evening! I understand the concept of taking a moral high ground but can't help but wonder if that same hotel offers porn on the pay per view channels!

Joshua Marshall

I suggest you take a look at my comment on Sreenby's blog. We don't block Myspace at this hotel because of "moral cleanliness", we block it because the hotel requested it.

Yes, it's true that we also block MySpace by default for anyone that signs up for Clean Internet service, but they can contact us to take that particular block off. Most of our customers, however, appreciate MySpace being blocked. We are talking about St. George, Utah, after all. This city is about 70% Mormon. (I'm not, BTW.)

Re: Dan's comment: Heh, I assure you that there is no porn on the pay-per-view channels at this hotel.

Bryan Alexander

Joshua, thank you for your comment.

I did read your comment on Sreebny's blog, but I'm not sure much of a correction is required at this end. Your company does in fact block certain parts of the internet for moral cleanliness (no need for scare quotes, since the term is used prominently by InfoWest; cf the Clean Internet page or its terms and conditions). The definition of what is clean and what is blocked isn't your firm's, I now see, but the result of your interaction with a third party (8e6)* to fulfill a client's request. Moreover, that result is shaped by your local cultural climate, as you say. I appreciate the fuller, more nuanced description of this filtering instance.

Yet as someone studying culture and rhetoric, I'm fascinated by the language around such policies and services. Your comment on Oren Sreebny's blog, Joshua, mentions the linking of MySpace to dating services, which offers one way of viewing MySpace and other platforms (as social software, in a specific sense). 8e6, in contrast, emphasizes a mix of threats and distractions, offering a very different view, albeit a social one. InfoWest's site presents a third way of looking at MySpace, if we consider that to be one part of the internet to block, viewing such services as a problem for the family, as well as for people in positions of authority ("a responsible, concerned parent, employer or administrator").

*From the 8e6 homepage:"Originally founded in 1995 as X-Stop, 8e6 Technologies was the original internet filtered URL list pioneer."

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