cr> The [CENSORED] web site


Richard Moore

Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996
Sender: •••@••.••• (Sandra Bernstein)
Subject: EFC:  Freedom to Read in Cyberspace

Please forward freely.

(For immediate release --- February 27, 1996)

      ``Freedom to Read'' in Cyberspace

    A few members of Electronic Frontier Canada have developed an amusing and
    interactive Web page to celebrate `Freedom to Read Week'.

The Internet, some people say, is out of control and in need of strict
government regulation.  But just what might a censored Internet look like?

One possible answer to that question is given by the ``Black Thursday
Machine'', an interactive Web page that was the brainchild of three
multimedia designers: Brian Hall, Andrew Chak, and Rob Stanley. Stanley is
also a member of the online civil-liberties organization Electronic
Frontier Canada.


The ``Black Thursday Machine'' invites Internet surfers who visit the site
to type in the address of their favourite Web page, to see what it might
look like if a Canadian version of the new and controversial American
``Communications Decency Act'' were put into effect.

The ``Black Thursday Machine'' will fetch any page you request, but it
presents you with a censored version. The algorithm it uses is simple and
unsophisticated -- but these are the same kinds of rules recently used by
America Online and CompuServe when they blocked access to discussions
including the words `gay', `sex', or `breasts'.

``Any naughty word is replaced by the word `CENSORED' in bright red,'' says Rob
Stanley, who was the chief programmer. Which words are on the forbidden
list? ``It works just like government censorship,'' says Stanley, ``you
don't get to choose.  It's an arbitrary process.''


    * Why `Black Thursday' ?

New and harsh restrictions on what can be communicated through American computer
networks were signed into law on Thursday, February 8th, 1996 -- `Black
Thursday'.  ``This sent a shock wave through the Internet, where concerned
individuals around the world `Painted the Web Black' for 48 hours as a sign
of protest,'' says David Jones, EFC president.

    * About `Freedom to Read Week' in Canada (February 26 to March 3)

``The purpose of `Freedom to Read Week','' says Sandra Bernstein, ``is to
encourage Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual
freedom, as guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.'' Sandra
Bernstein, also a member of Electronic Frontier Canada, represents the
Periodical Writers Association of Canada on the Book and Periodical
Council's Freedom of Expression Committee, which sponsors `Freedom to Read
Week' each year.

Bernstein also maintains an online `Chronicle' which documents challenges to
Freedom of Expression in Canada:


EFC Contact Information:

Electronic Frontier Canada

    Dr. David Jones, •••@••.•••
        phone: (905) 525-9140 x24689, fax: (905) 546-9995
    Dr. Jeffrey Shallit, •••@••.•••
        phone: (519) 888-4804, fax: (519) 885-1208
    Dr. Richard Rosenberg, •••@••.•••
        phone: (604) 822-4142, fax: (604) 822-5485

    Electronic Frontier Canada's, online archives:

Other Contact Information:

Multimedia designers who dreamed up the "Black Thursday Machine":

  -- programming, engine development.
Rob Stanley,            phone: (416) 928-9503 (home), (416) 960-8400 (work)
        email:  •••@••.•••

  -- graphical look, interface, design, and copy
Andrew Chak,            phone: (416) 469-4154 (home), (416) 448-2403 (work)
        email:  •••@••.•••                   fax: (416) 469-0914

  -- concept development, design
Brian Hall,             phone: (416) 504-0908 (home), (416) 351-1040 (work)
        email:   •••@••.•••,         pager: (416) 337-3377

These fellows also dreamed up the award-winning "Canadianizer"
at the following URL:

- - - - -

Additional sponsors of the `Black Thursday Machine':

 HyperActive NetMedia
 Passport Online

- - - - -
Further Contact Information for `Freedom to Read Week' in general

Freedom to Read Week -- Web page URL:

Freedom to Read Week  -- Publicist, Sarah Thring
phone:  (416) 480-2533,  fax:  (416) 480-2434.

Sandra Bernstein,       phone:  (416) 465-0798
email: •••@••.•••,  URL:

Book and Periodical Council, 35 Spadina Road Toronto, ON Canada M5R 2S9
email:  •••@••.•••
phone:  (416) 975 9366,  fax:  (416) 975 1839

Sandra Bernstein


 Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
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