Feeds

Texas moves against public Wi-Fi porn

Rest stop prudery will hit truckers hard

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

An illuminating posting on Slashdot today reveals that Texas is moving to prevent the dissemination of net porn via public Wi-Fi networks. The act "relating to prohibiting wireless Internet access to obscene materials on public property" declares: "A state agency that provides wireless Internet access on state property may not allow access to obscene materials through the use of that wireless access."

It adds: "The department shall assist a state agency that requests assistance in prohibiting access under this section, including prohibiting access by using a filter or other software."

In 2004, Texas became "the first state in the nation to provide free wireless Internet access at its safety rest areas". The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) kicked off with Wi-Fi "at twin rest areas on US 287 in Donley County" and "free wireless service at two rest areas on the same highway in Hardeman County."

The whole thing was heralded as a roaring success. Andy Keith, Safety Rest Area Program Manager for TxDOT’s Maintenance Division, said: “The feedback we’ve received so far has been very positive. Texas’ highways are seeing an increasing number of business travelers, truckers and RVers and access to email is important to them. They have really responded favorably to our four ‘hot spots’ on US 287.”

Sadly, though, Texas' hotspots will from 1 September be considerably less "hot" than at present. This will doubtless enrage "business travelers", and especially truckers. The latter will certainly view the right to surf Wi-Fi porn at rest stops as a fundamental tenet of the US constitution.

They can, however, take some solace from the fact that the legislation also states: "Wireless Internet access to obscene materials is prohibited at a correctional facility that is owned by, or operated by or for, the state." It's good to see that hardened Texan lags will also be deprived of net smut when they should be breaking rocks or something equally correctional.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. The legislation doesn't apply to "a university system or institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code." Quite right too. The very nature of education means unrestricted access to the broadest spectrum of research material - even if it's dressed like a cheerleader entertaining a couple of enthusiastic and butt-naked quarterbacks.

And yes, we are going to address the fundamental question here - how is this filtering actually going to work in practice? Well, it almost certainly won't, unless travellers on US 287 are restricted to accessing a simple holding page stating: "Nudity is sinful. Go read the Bible. Have a nice day." ®

Related stories

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.