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> Date:         Sat, 12 Jun 1993 02:46:17 -1000
> From: "Bernard D. Aboba" <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:      Re: Mommy!  Daddy!  Look what I found on the net!
>
...
> 1. Two of the more secure conferencing systems, namely FrEdMail, and
> RIME, have good control over the software. In the case of FrEdMail,
> you don't get the package unless you're a school. For RIME, every
> node comes with a key; you can't impersonate another node without
> that node's key, so the authentication problem is solved.
>
> Seems to me that software control and authentication let you make
> sure that you don't have any bogus sites out there.
 
I take it that the assumption here is that anything that comes from a
school must be safe for minors.  Doesn't this overlook the possibility
that *minors* will post objectionable material?  I've seen some BBSes
populated primarily by the 12-to-16-year-old set which offered abundant
foul language, sexual material, mock satanism, recipes for homemade
explosives -- anything and everything that would upset parents.  Kids
are at least as fascinated with that sort of thing as adults are,
probably more so.
 
Of course, these were private BBSes, not school systems, so there were
no teachers around to monitor content.  However, unless all the schools
on a segregated educational conference have equally vigilant monitoring
of content, coupled with authentication mechanisms to prevent forgery
of messages *within* a school, kids are likely to post their own
objectionable material.  School systems will be a magnet to adolescent
crackers, probably in direct proportion to the school's zeal at trying
to control content.  If kids are given any electronic privacy
whatsoever, meaning access to mail and not just news, you can count on
them using it to exchange material which some people will find
objectionable.
 
I don't think that this is a problem with a strictly technical
solution.  Personally, I think that if segregation of the networks has
to happen it shouldn't be K-12 vs. the adults, but rather K-6 or K-8
vs. the older kids and the adults.  I say this because (1) I'm not
convinced that older kids are really harmed by "objectionable" material
in the same way that very young kids are (although I know many would
disagree with me), and (2) a network of younger kids will be much more
manageable than the older kids if only because fewer of the younger
ones will have the technical chops to circumvent the system.
 
-- Prentiss Riddle ("aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada") [log in to unmask]
-- Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of my employer.