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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Web Nanny for Disease Researchers
2 May 2000 7:00 pm
Government agencies are joining corporations in cracking down on so-called "cyberslackers" by installing software that limits employee access to the Internet--with annoying consequences for some researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
CDC installed filtering software in late March after monitoring revealed "inappropriate use," with peeks at pornography sites among "the more acute abuses," says spokesperson James Seligman. The filter, called Websense, bounces employees to an internal CDC page if they request a site included in a proprietary database of Web addresses that CDC says agency and federal policies place off limits. Sites featuring porn, weapons, racist rants, gambling, and militant screeds are among the 12 categories the agency has judged beyond the pale.
The new restrictions chagrined researchers studying topics that involve the Net's seamy side, such as AIDS. "When we saw [the e-mail memo], we kind of went: 'Arghh!' " says a researcher in a CDC division that studies whether the Internet encourages risky sexual behavior. Under a waiver policy, however, that group--along with another studying the use of explosives in mines--were granted access to forbidden territory.
CDC scientists told Science they can live with the filter. But at least one outside group is upset. "It raises very troubling [free speech] issues," fumes Chris Hansen of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed lawsuits against Web filters in libraries. "If this becomes a widespread practice in government, there's a fair chance we would challenge it."