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404 Day – April 4, 2023

404 Day is celebrated on April 4. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (E.F.F.) activists created 404 Day as a campaign to warn everyone that the internet, long dubbed “the information superhighway.” is full of bottlenecks and rotting infrastructure, especially in public schools and libraries where children have access. To comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), public libraries and public schools have been censoring the internet for over a decade by banning and blacklisting websites. In exchange, for government funds, the law was established to urge public libraries and schools to filter child pornography and obscene or “harmful to children” pictures from their internet connections.

History of 404 Day

April 4 is 404 Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about Internet filtering in public schools and libraries across the United States. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (C.I.P.A.), a well-intentioned but flawed regulation, connects federal money for public schools and libraries to obligations to screen child pornography and anything obscene or damaging to kids. Unfortunately, among other issues, poor and converted filtering technologies and too aggressive filtering implementations result in the filtering of constitutionally protected speech.

Unfortunately, extreme interpretations of C.I.P.A. have resulted in excessive and unwarranted censorship in public libraries, frequently because libraries go beyond the legal limits of C.I.P.A. when establishing content filters for fear of breaching the law. As a result, students and library customers across the country are frequently and unnecessarily denied access to constitutionally protected websites, such as art museum websites or health-related websites.

According to Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.) and other internet freedom supporters, part of the problem is that web filters intended to protect young people from obscene information, such as pornography, accidentally block all kinds of useful, instructive, and non-porn websites. This includes genuine keyword conflations that ban pages on chicken “breasts” or breast cancer, as well as Shakespeare. It also goes after other content that is deemed “inappropriate” by authorities, such as non-mainstream faiths like Wicca or Native American spirituality, L.G.B.T.Q. information, underage tobacco use, and sexual health. According to the E.F.F., this is a violation of the First Amendment. This is why the E.F.F. is encouraging librarians, students, and concerned library users around the country to participate in 404 Day to raise awareness of prohibited websites and internet censorship in libraries. So, mark your calendars for 404 Day, to encourage your friends to blog about it, share it on social media, and help E.F.F. bring censorship in libraries and schools to light. Even though C.I.P.A. is nearly a decade old, library internet filtering is not permanent. We can raise awareness and draw attention to this essential problem if we work together.

404 Day timeline

1990
Introduced H.T.T.P. Status Codes

H.T.T.P.S. status codes, which had previously been devised in 1990, are introduced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

1992
404 is First Created

Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, defines the 404 codes in 1992, based on those used for the File Transfer Protocol, in which codes begin with four effective mistakes.

2000s
New Bill, Next Level

In exchange for continuous government support, the regulation is supposed to urge public libraries and schools to filter child pornography and obscene or harmful to children from their internet connections.

2005
404 Throughout the United States

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (C.I.P.A.) is approved by the United States Congress and reserves the use of filtering in libraries and schools across the country.

404 Day FAQs

Where did the 404 error originate from?

The idea circulated in the early 2000s, that the 404 was derived from, well, room 404 that this room housed the web’s first servers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. That World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee had an office there and was frequently unavailable.

What should I do if there is filtering software in libraries and schools?

If you happened to find these filters, you might request your librarian to turn them off or better yet, share your story on social media and let people know about this.

How can I resolve the 404 error?

The quickest and most straightforward solution to resolve your 404 error code is to redirect the page to another.

404 Day Activities

  1. Find out about your neighborhood

    First and foremost, figure out whether your local libraries or public schools have excessive screening. Raise this with the authorities.

  2. Spread the word about 404

    If your local libraries and public schools have excessive filtering, be sure to raise awareness about it. Inform your relatives and acquainted. Use the hashtag #404Day on social media. The more people that are aware of this, the better.

  3. Others should be educated on rules

    The Children's Internet Protection Act (C.I.P.A.), for example, mandates schools and libraries to limit access to specific websites—those with indecent and pornographic images—to obtain government money. Educate those around you on this and rally them to the cause.

5 Interesting Facts About 404

  1. 404 means not found

    The response status code 404 Not Found indicates that the server was unable to locate the requested resource.

  2. Named after a room

    According to legend, 404 was called after a room at CERN, where the first web servers were housed.

  3. It’s both a joke and a meme

    The 404 should have broad appeal, aside from serving as a reminder of technology and the web.

  4. Immortalized in comic books or t-shirts

    The blunder has been immortalized in comic books and T-shirts, making it a more accessible and relevant aspect of what was formerly considered nerd comedy but is now a part of everyday life.

  5. Spark the creativity with 404 pages

    There are a lot of websites that use creativity for their 404 pages these days.

Why We Love 404 Day

  1. It raises awareness of over-aggressive use of Internet filter

    Websites offering critical health information, as well as educational and creative content, are frequently restricted. Raise awareness among family members and friends.

  2. Protecting your right to privacy and free speech

    The seemingly benign 404 error message may be concealing censorship. So, on 404 Day get engaged, promote awareness, and participate.

  3. It provides users with a good user experience

    The futility of filtering and how youngsters learned to avoid filters at a young age is a viable argument against 404. At the same time, it is scary how the filters disproportionately harm low-income populations or those who rely on public internet access.

404 Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 4Tuesday
2024April 4Thursday
2025April 4Friday
2026April 4Saturday
2027April 4Sunday

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