Filtering

Backers of library filters win in Michigan

MLive.com Reports A group of Ypsilanti residents who want to install Internet filters on the Ypsilanti District Library's computers scored a victory Tuesday, ousting two incumbents and signaling a possible change in the board's views on filters.

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Phoenix not Getting Support from Nearby Town

More reaction to the Phoenix city council's decision to mandate filtering for all library computers comes from the nearby city of Wickenberg (AZ) where the city council was asked to send a letter of support.

The issue of sending a letter supporting the Phoenix City Council on its decision to censor material at its libraries died after 3-3 vote last week.

What makes this story a little more interesting is what I assume is a poorly worded statement from Wickenberg Library board Vice President Helen Dudley (emphasis mine)

It's our opinion that we have no problem in the Wickenburg library with persons using our computers to secure pornography.... Furthermore, it is our opinion that the Wickenburg library staff is very capable of monitoring the computer room.
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Wickenburg AZ Won't Accept Filtering

Despite the edict that Phoenix public libraries will now filter all computers, the town of Wickenburg (50 miles north of Phoenix) is refusing to go along with it. Story from the Wickenburg Sun located in a retirement community in the Sonoran desert.

The library board voted last week against giving the Town Council its support on the issue. Library board Vice President Helen Dudley moved "that the library board take no action now regarding a request for support of the censorship action taken by the Phoenix City Council. "It's our opinion that we have no problem in the Wickenburg library with persons using our computers to secure pornography," she added. "Furthermore, it is our opinion that the Wickenburg library staff is very capable of monitoring the computer room."

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Patrons Weigh in On Phoenix Filters

Several patrons of the Phoenix Public Library were recently asked their opinion of the new filter system installed after the city passed legislation that supercedes CIPA. With this law, patrons, adult or otherwise are not allowed to request disabling of the filter. While not a random sample, nearly all those interviewed for this Arizona Republic article think the mandatory filtering is just fine.

Brittany Jones, 19, who applies for clerical jobs online, was surprised when she logged on recently and the computer asked her to select "basic filtering," which bans sex but not violence, or "additional filtering," which blocks sites dealing with either topic.

"I had no idea what it meant," she said.

But she agrees with the restrictions.

"The filters are no violation of rights because pornography causes violence," she said.

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ACLU to Challenge Phoenix's City-Mandated Filtering

After the Phoenix city council passed a resolution to have all public library internet terminals filtered, the ACLU has filed a challenge.

"The (U.S.) Supreme Court ruling reaffirmed that porn is protected speech under the First Amendment, but it didn't rule that city libraries must provide access to porn," [Phoenix Mayor Phil] Gordon said. "You don't see pornographic books and magazines on library shelves. We're confident we'll win any court challenge to the new policy. It's the right thing to do and our attorneys agree, so we'll prevail in court."

More here from Townhall.com.

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Filters Working and a compromise

An Anonymous Patron writes "Here's one from The Daily Herald (Suburban Chicago's Information Source) that takes a good look at filters. They say as libraries wrestle with the decision of whether to filter computers, administrators must deal with colliding issues such as upholding a community standard, honoring the right to privacy and protecting someone's right to access anything that isn't illegal on a public computer."

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Pennsylvania child porn-blocking law tossed

Fang-Face writes "The First Amendment Center has an AP article about the Pennsylvanian filtering law being struck down.

No one challenged the state's right to stop the distribution of child porn, but lawyers for the Center for Democracy & Technology and the American Civil Liberties Union had argued that the technology used to filter out those Web sites was clumsy and produced unintended consequences.

The court agreed that those consequences were not constitutionally reasonable. I'm sure censors will ignore the fact that filtering is sloppy work and focus instead on complaining about liberal judges, wrong-wing conspiracies, etc, etc, etc."

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Censored Internet Access at Phoenix Public Libraries

An Anonymous Patron sends "this from KPHO Phoenix The internet at Phoenix libraries is officially censored. Phoenix City Council unanimously voted to block all on-line pornographic material, going a step beyond CIPA which allows for patrons 17 and older to request that filters or blocking software be turned off.
Opponents say the decision goes against the U-S supreme court. Proponents of the law say hallelujah and feel like the library will be a safer place."

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If you want a peep show, use your own quarters

Anonymous Patron writes "If you want a peep show, use your own quarters says First Amendment jurisprudence has become screwed up. Robert Robb says the logical reasoning that gets from the First Amendment's "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech" to "cities shall provide taxpayer-funded pornography" is, not to make too fine a point of it, nuts."

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Phoenix Looks for Porn Solution

Even though the Arizona state legislature is looking at legislation that would mandate filtering, the Phoenix is looking to make it illegal for patrons to request filter disabling at the city level. While there are tons of "libraries looking at filtering options" stories this one about Phoenix's library system is interesting for this statement from the Arizona Republic:

Other cities, such as San Francisco and Salt Lake City, have opted to forgo federal funding to keep computers filter-free. Officials in Des Plaines, Ill., recently enacted what some say is a very creative solution: Their filters stay on all the time, but block only pornographic images, not text.

It's my understanding that CIPA requires that ONLY graphic images be blocked in the first place, but that such filtering technology is not widely available or on the market. Anyone have any clues about this, or is it a misrepresentation? If there is such a filter, I'd like to buy stock.

Also, the way this story, and many are written, the average reader would believe that it's perfectly okay to access obscene materials in libraries and elsewhere. Obscenity and child porn are illegal. Period.

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