Monday, June 2, 2003

ACLU DMCA case against N2H2 is a loss for freedom

This is a very disturbing development and more reason why the DMCA has a chilling effect on speech and freedom to do legitimate research.


N2H2 Inc. can use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to stop a researcher from attempting to reverse engineer its Web filtering product, a judge ruled last week.

Harvard Law student Benjamin Edelman says he wants to crack the filtering tools to test them. Edelman planned to hack into N2H2�s cryptography-protected list of filter parameters, but, fearing prosecution, sought court protection. Edelman and the ACLU believe filters, used at libraries and schools, limit free speech.

In a written decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns found "no plausibly protected constitutional interest� that would overcome �N2H2's right to protect its copyrighted property from invasive and destructive trespass."

N2H2 didn�t respond to requests for comment. Edelman says no decision has been made on appealing, but adds that N2H2�s public list of filtered sites isn�t enough for rigorous testing.

�Suppose you wanted to know which .gov sites are classified as pornography. Or to see what sites N2H2 calls pornography this week, that last week were not,� he says. �N2H2's online database site would not allow any of these kinds of research, but you can see why it would be important.�"

Bid to Expose Porn Filters Loses

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