Filters on in TX

The Houston Chronicle reports that the library in Montogomery County went against advice from the library advisory board, librarian and county attorney, and installed filters. Now that\'s a committment to censorship!

\"If we make an error, we need to make it on the side of the children,\" said County Judge Alan Sadler.

\"If a lawsuit is filed, we are going to come out on the short end of the stick\" said County Attorney Frank Bass on any challenges that will come up over the filters.


Library Cops?

An interesting response from a librarian in Michigan over
proposed legislation that would require libraries that use
the Internet to have one or more computer terminals that are
\"restricted from receiving obscene matter or sexually
explicit mater that is harmful to minors.\"

\"Does this
mean if the Venus de Milo is shown we throw the person out
of the library?\" pondered Ron Loyd, co-director of the
Northfield Township Library. \"It leaves the librarian as the
library cop.\"

Read the full story at MI Li


Censorware Exposed Again

Wired has a very interesting story on\'s report on the problems with I-Gear, Internet-filtering software from software firm Symantec. It pokes holes in the software and the sites it blocks.

\"It shows how far people are willing to go in censoring people under 18 without applying critical examination of the tools,\" said Bennett Haselton, 21, who founded Peacefire in 1996 to promote \"free access for the Net generation.\"


Good Uses for filtering

Did you know that filters can do cool things like speed up your network, block cookies, and stop those annoying ads? This article from Forbes outlines these points.

Web-filtering software has been available for nearly five years, but much of it has been either too consumer-oriented--designed simply to screen pornography, for example--or too technical for even moderately savvy PC users.

That\'s starting to change, and several new offerings could be useful to small businesses looking to boost productivity.

While there are some much debated privacy issues surrounding Web filters, a practical reason for using them is they accelerate the speed at which information is downloaded by blocking advertisements, animation, pop-up screens and background music. The less time computers take to sort through this kind of material, the more work employees can accomplish.


Ways to circumvent filters

An interesting Story from on how cheating filters is getting one man in trouble.

Since age 17, Haselton has been publishing ways to circumvent filters and has exposed companies\' secret lists of blocked Web sites to show that many are neither pornographic nor offensive.

His latest target, Symantec subsidiary iGear, is a filtering program widely used in New York public schools. Haselton gained access to iGear\'s system and claims he found that many of the sites it bars are not, in fact, pornographic. But when he posted a link on his Web site to iGear\'s list of blocked sites, the company\'s lawyers sent a letter to his Internet service provider, saying that the link was infringing the company\'s copyrights.

\"I\'m not intimidated because I know what I did was legal,\" Haselton said yesterday. \"But I\'m a little surprised at their reaction.\"


Internet filters legally stump libraries has a nice story on the legal troubles filtering has
brought to libraries across the U.S.

What can libraries legally do to protect children and
adults against objectionable Web sites without infringing on
the constitutional rights of others?
Before the Internet, librarians were always able to separate
\"age appropriate\" materials, said Mary Haney, director of
the Hennessey Public Library.
\"With the Internet, you don\'t have that luxury,\" she said.
\"It\'s created a really difficult ethical issue for


Libraries face new privacy issues over Web use

Read this article Here. From the Rutland Herald.

While access to the World Wide Web comes unfiltered to the public library here, most children must have a parent or guardian looking over their shoulder if they want to surf the Net.

\"The supervision of a child\'s selection of books is up to
the parents,\" Poultney town librarian Daphne Bartholomew said. \"It seemed to us it should be the same with the Internet.\"

No one under 14 years old can access the Internet
without adult supervision, she said. That policy, set
several years ago, mirrors checkout guidelines for
written materials. Library cards are only issued to
residents 15 years and older.


Wayne NJ debates limits for Internet

This Story from NJ.

The Township Council and the Library Board are at odds over installing software that would block sexually explicit Web sites on computers in public libraries.
\"If a person decides to walk into the library and expose themselves, they would be arrested, and we have [minors] accessing\" adult sites, said Orson.

Other council members were more hard-lined.

\"I never thought I would see libraries become porn shops,\" said Councilman Joseph DiDonato. \"We have the power of the purse strings. We could cut off their funds if we want.\"

\"The [library] board should consider the use of our technology in light of what\'s going on there now,\"


Utah State Senate approves filtering

USA Today reported yesterday that the Utah State Senate unanimously voted to withhold state funding from libraries that did not shield childeren under 18 from Web sites featuring obscene material.

The senate also approved a measure to ban from prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers magazines and other materials that \"features nudity\".

The bills now go to Governor Mike Leavitt.


battlegrounds for Internet filter fights

The Citizen Times has a story on how filtering is become as issue in NC.

At issue is whether government-funded public library systems should install Internet \"filters\" designed to stop computer users from visiting sites deemed obscene or offensive, and if so, whether such filters unconstitutionally censor material.

For some library users, such as Art Joseph of Asheville, the question has a clear-cut answer. \"You need some type of filter. You can access anything on the Internet and I don\'t think the library is the place for that.\"



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