Less than a week before the divisive 2000 National Election, the Silha Center's 15th Annual Lecture hosted Chip Bok, award-winning political cartoonist for the Akron Beacon Journal. Bok's work has appeared in Reason magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time and Newsweek. For the first time, the Lecture moved off the University of Minnesota campus to the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, for an evening program on November 2, 2000.
On May 3, 2000, the controversial issue of mandatory filtering software on publicly-accessible computers took a novel twist when seven librarians from the Minneapolis Public Library filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They contend that they have been repeatedly exposed to sexually explicit images since the library installed computers with Internet access more than three years ago. They claim that some patrons have used the computers to surf the Internet for pornography, leaving the images on the screens and on printouts. According to the librarians, the pictures are highly offensive, some depicting child pornography and bestiality.
A popular British tabloid's decision to publish the names, photographs and addresses of individuals previously convicted of sex offenses created a stir in the United Kingdom during the summer of 2000. An eruption of vigilantism followed the publication, arguably destroying several lives, leaving a newspaper with a tarnished reputation and - possibly - some lawsuits to deal with as well. However, no noteworthy change was made in Britain's laws on the "outing" of sex offenders.
After more than two years of negotiation, the European Commission approved a set of "Safe Harbor" principles proposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on July 27, 2000. Stringent data protection legislation in Europe prohibits transfer of personal information concerning its citizens to countries, such as the United States, that do not meet the privacy standards applied within the European Union. This would have been an economic disaster for American airlines, hotel chains, human resource agencies, credit card companies or other businesses that rely on transborder flow of personal data from Europe for their day-to-day practices. The agreement may avert this economic disaster, by allowing U.S. companies wanting to transfer data across the Atlantic to comply with European standards by voluntarily signing on to the Safe Harbor principles.
In the autumn of 2000, both the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors and the Radio Television News Directors Association adopted new codes of ethics at their respective annual meetings. Efforts by George Lucas to control timing of reviews and stories surrounding the release of his 1999 Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace, helped spur the AASFE to adopt guidelines on editorial independence and ethics. The RTNDA updated and elaborated its previous code, dating from 1987.