It is very common to see a ‘404 page not found error’ appear on your screen. It could be that the page you are looking for no longer exists, but if you are accessing the Internet through a public library or a public school, it is equally likely that a content filter is blocking you.
Public schools and libraries attract federal funding if they comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), by applying content filters to block websites or pages which are considered harmful to minors or containing obscene material.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to raise awareness of the over-aggressive use of Internet filters by such institutions. It is quite common for websites with crucial health information or educational and artistic material to be blocked. In previous years 404 awareness day has seen EFF hold on line teach-ins and offering to post experiences of page blocking, on to their site.
Currently, various states are trying to pass legislation to have obscenity filters pre-fitted to all computers, cell phones, tablets and other devices with Internet connectivity. They also want a payment of $20 to remove the filter for each individual device. EFF see this as a direct attack on U.S. citizens freedom to use the Internet.
404 awareness day is also about defending your first amendment rights to privacy and free speech. The innocuous 404 error message can have a hidden agenda, censorship. Get involved raise awareness and participate, April 4th, The U.S. 404 awareness day.