echoes sentinel

few libraries use court-approved anti-pornography filters

23 october 2003

by george borkowsky - © recorder newspapers 2003


"court upholds library - computer obscenity filters."  when the u.s. supreme court decided in late june to uphold a law requiring public libraries to install pornography filters on their computer terminals, the justices did affirm legislation supported by the majority of americans.

so far, libraries have been reluctant to use filters, in past because they were waiting for the court's decision but also because the american library association (ala) opposes filtering and sued to overturn the law.  only 15 per cent of libraries use blocking technology on at least some of their terminals.  yet the need for filters is urgent and growing.

two years ago our long hill township police arrested a pervert trading child pornography and using library computers to lure children into sexual encounters.

now, more then 19,000 public libraries will be required to install the filters if they hope to receive the federal funding most depend upon.

even though the filters can be shut off for any adult who asks, the ala argued in court that most adults would be too embarrassed to do so.

in that case, "they should really be too embarrassed to ask taxpayers to pay for their pornography access."

the argument boiled down to whether you have the right to ask the government to pay for the stuff you want to look at, and in this case, the supreme court said no.

to report noncompliance with the children's internet protection act (cipa) [particularly "instances where e-rate funds are being misapplied or where potential program rule violations may exist"], contact the schools and libraries help line at (888) 203-8100.  this help line is operated by the universal service administrative co.  callers should mention they're making a "code 9" report and need not give their name.  all calls are confidential, and you will not lose your library card.

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