Snapshot: Making phones smart enough to follow Torah values
By David J. Glenn
It's really hard nowadays to find anyone above the age of 18 who does not have a cell phone. And even harder to find any home or business without at least one computer or tablet.
All of them, even flip phones, offer access to the Internet; this is a problem for Torah Jews. The Internet is replete with pictures, videos, and descriptions of things that are quite opposite halacha and Torah values.
What to do?
Geder Filtering at 5015 13th Ave. offers a simple, low-cost solution. For about $16 a month, Geder technicians can install a filter on any device.
"We use AI [artificial intelligence] to block any inappropriate material," said Mordechai Landau, who opened the store in Boro Park three years ago.
For example, the AI is programmed to catch pictures, words and sentences that are inappropriate and block the text. "The AI follows guidelines set by the store's rabbinical panel," Landau said.
The filter also blocks most social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, and former President Trump's new venture, Truth Social.
"We have many businesses that install network filters company-wide for all their devices," Landau said. Families also are frequent users of Geder filters — "We can customize a device for children," he said.
As for email, Landau said that all devices can be programmed to send and receive emails only between designated users.
Geder technicians are able to install the filters remotely. "You don't even have to bring in the device," Landau said.
Geder also has Monroe, Monsey, Williamsburg, and Montreal stores.
Are there plans for opening any more stores? "We're not there yet," said Landau.
The main focus now is on the existing sites, he said. "We want to be sure our customers are comfortable with their devices."