San Jose rejects porn filters in libraries

A year and a half of debate over filtering pornography out of San Jose public library computers came to a head late Tuesday when the City Council rejected spending money on the technology.

"The fear is not based on fact," said Tina Morrill. "We can use this money to keep our library hours longer."

Budget May Affect SJ Library Porn Filter Debate

The hot-button issue of pornography filters in city libraries went before the San Jose City Council again Tuesday. Members of the council remained divided over questions of cost and censorship.
The porn filters could cost as much as $100,000.
Councilman Ash Kalra said, "We all are in favor of keeping pornography out of the eyes of our children. However, we have to understand, especially in these budget times, that we should prioritize where we're spending our money and how effectively we're spending our money."


SCOTUS Won't Save the Child Online Protection Act of 1998

scotusblog says The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused the federal government’s request to salvage a six-year-old law seeking to ban minors’ access to sexually explicit material on the World Wide Web. Acting on that law for the third time, the Justices simply declined to review a Third Circuit Court decision last July striking down the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. The Justices’ action came without comment and with no noted dissents in Mukasey v. American Civil Liberties Union, et al. (08-565).

Viewing Filtering From The Outside

When library professionals get together and talk internet filtering, we often forget something vitally important. Sure we talk about freedom of access, how filtering supposedly coincides with collection development policies, and how to protect our patrons and such like.

One thing that seldom gets brought up, at least in conversations I've been privy to is "So, what do our patrons actually think about our filtering?" And it's kind of rare to see any input from the outside, you know, from the people we're actually supposed to be serving.

Twanna Hines is not a librarian. She's a Funky Brown Chick. She's a writer, an occupation I think we can all say we know something about. She lives in New York City and writes about dating, sex, and relationships. And as a patron, she was appalled to find out that the New York Public Library filters her site.

I have to wonder, how many of us can access the above links at work? And does it say anything about filtering when some of us might have to go home to read about what people think about filtering?

Australian Web filter plan extends further

THE Federal Government's controversial internet censorship plan may extend to filter more web activity than first thought, Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy revealed today.

In a post on his department's blog, Senator Conroy today said technology that could filter data sent directly between computers would be tested as part of the upcoming live filtering trial.

"Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial," Senator Conroy said.

Robocall warns about porn in Pima County AZ libraries

Robocall warns about porn in Pima County libraries: The medium: robocall
The message: The call features Republican Supervisor Ray Carroll reading a message about Bronson.
“This is county Supervisor Ray Carroll with a call about protecting our kids. Our libraries have become places where adult men watch X-rated video pornography with our kids nearby. We need to put an end to this,” Carroll says.

Australian Labor's web gag 'worse than Iran'

The Australian Federal Government is attempting to silence critics of its controversial plan to censor the internet, which experts say will break the internet while doing little to stop people from accessing illegal material such as child pornography.

Internet providers and the government's own tests have found that presently available filters are not capable of adequately distinguishing between legal and illegal content and can degrade internet speeds by up to 86 per cent.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media show the office of the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, tried to bully ISP staff into suppressing their criticisms of the plan.


Schools soon required to teach web safety

Schools receiving e-Rate discounts on their telecommunications services and internet access soon will have to educate their students about online safety, sexual predators, and cyber bullying, thanks to federal legislation passed in both the Senate and the House.

"However, we recognize that students need to learn how to avoid inappropriate content and unwanted contacts from strangers while online. ... Educating students on how to keep themselves safe while online is the best line of defense, because no technological silver bullet has yet been devised that will guarantee that students are effectively protected. Therefore, we embrace wholeheartedly the thoughtful approach that S.1492 takes, particularly the flexibility that it affords districts on determining how best to educate students about staying safe online."

Despite porn, libraries should keep Internet open

Julie Muhlstein Says Despite porn, libraries should keep Internet open. "There's a technical answer and a philosophical answer," said Mary Kelly, the Sno-Isle Regional Library System's community relations director. "Technically, filters are getting better, but no filter is 100 percent perfect," said Kelly. Sno-Isle libraries use privacy screens and desks with hoods covering computer monitors, she said.

"Philosophically, libraries are historically places where people can go and access a variety of information," Kelly said. "You know how difficult it is for courts to determine what is pornographic, what is obscene. We have a compromise that gives parents some controls but doesn't take away the rights of adults."


Access Denied

Book: Access Denied
The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering

Many countries around the world block or filter Internet content, denying access to information—often about politics, but also relating to sexuality, culture, or religion—that they deem too sensitive for ordinary citizens. Access Denied documents and analyzes Internet filtering practices in over three dozen countries, offering the first rigorously conducted study of this accelerating trend.

More at MIT Press


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