Maclean's Magazine
vol.109, no.15, p.18
April 8, 1996
Opening Notes

A Lesson in Reading

by Joe Chidley

As president of Electronic Frontier Canada, an organization devoted to preserving free speech, David Jones of Hamilton is skeptical of the V-chip, the technology that screens pre-rated TV shows according to violence content. So Jones wrote a phoney news release announcing a new V-chip application - for library books. Sent out via Internet mailing lists on March 20, it claimed that the "V-barcode" would be placed on every library book, to be checked against every child's library card. Jones was swamped with e-mail responses. Most got the joke. But a few took it seriously, expressing either outrage at censorship or support for the idea. Apparently, those readers overlooked the release's date: April 1, 1996. Happy April Fool's Day.

Copyright © 1996 by Maclean's Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.