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.


Comments like that sadden me, on multiple levels. Let's ignore for the moment that the statement is inherently false. Is it just me or is the american public on the whole more and more complacent and willing to have their rights abused? Sure, say porn is bad, or violent games are bad, censor those. Eventually someone will get the bright idea to say "Hey! let's filter the entire internet, just like China does! We'll do it so 'terrorists' can't communicate!" Just so long as people can drive SUVs bigger than a small island while drinking pepsi and eating mc donalds, watching survivor on the included back seat home theater while talking on their cell phones, everyone is ok. Eventually the regulations will stop being about what I can hear or see, and start being about what I can say or write.

And what the hell kind of excuse is this about protecting the children? It is -not- like handing a child a porno mag, it's like handing a child a full library. Would you let a child wander around a library unattended? I wouldn't be to keen on them wandering by the magazine racks and grabbing a copy of hustler, but I certainly wouldn't let a robot guide them around the library either. I'll watch the children myself, I'm not too damned lazy to put down the damn hamburger and pay attention to the kids.

Sorry about the rant, I -just- woke up and this is the first thing I saw. I'll just leave the soapbox over here in the corner just in case someone else wants to use it, too.

Is CIPA badly done? Yes. But there is a 5th option there and that's librarians being more responsible with what goes on in a *public building*. ALA is taking an all-or-nothing stance that is bad for our profession. CIPA is simply a response to it. Both CIPA and ALA need to be changed to better reflect free access for adults and monitored access for minors.

You are correct.

My understanding about the "harmful to minors" thing (and the whole of CIPA) is that it only pertains to graphic images, thus leaving chat out. Am I wrong on that? I should go over to LLRX and look it up, but I'm trying to finish a final proof of a book project tonight.

"It's really a huge, effing, nonsensical mess."yup...The only legal way out with respect to adults is to:1. allow everything and do not take the subsidy2. filter with a "click through" feature3. white site the net4. disconnect the computers from the netpick one...they each contain their own special"enigma".Your point about the kids is correct (and colorful). However, kids are not entitled to unfettered access. You can block anything you want there.My "personal" opinion is choose filter with a "click through" feature for the adults and "white site" the children's library.In the end the decision makers will have to "pick one" and "get over it".

Unfettered except for material that is obscene or child pornography. But, librarians are told that they cannot determine what is obscene or child pornography, only a judge can. (I'm thinking about my first exposure to public nastiness when I walked past a public terminal and saw an image of a fish inserted in a vagina. I'm sure it was wrong to boot the guy's ass off the computer. It was probably a clinical study or an art installation.). And how can you prove who looked at what when you're not supposed to keep logs? And what about kids who use chat, the venue of choice for sexual predators, which is not limited by CIPA because there are no pictures of nipples or oily erections? It's really a huge, effing, nonsensical mess.

"Give people the option of turning off the filter and I'm happy."

That is the only condition that will work. Also it is the only condition that will prove to be "trouble free" with respect to legal issues.

I'm not advocating the complete removal of filtering, indeed, I personally prefer a default of having it on. I simply can't stand the idea of enforcing a set of morals on anyone. Give people the option of turning off the filter and I'm happy.

This makes a great deal of sense for "just waking up"...However, the bad news is you will have to put down your hamburger to reach into your pocket to pay for your computer expenses, You will not receive federal funding because you are not CIPA compliant.The good news is no one will sue you.

"Today we can go to a public place and have the parade of belly buttons, low slung pants, and the like. There are still people who are offended by these things."Tough luck!Because you don't like it, doesn't mean it's no good. I'm offended by things you'd probably encourage, and vice-verse. Except in a few cases, things that are offensive shouldn't be illegal, like I said, because you don't like it, doesn't mean it's no good for everyone. I for one don't equate a belly button with good taste, respect, and consideration of others or pornography (if you are).You're right, our profession (the curator of information and its distribution) should consider the rights of all Americans. In doing so they are guaranteeing they will offend someone. It's simply impossible to make everyone happy.As for the slippery slope argument in defense of, I've always wondered about that too, but I think that's the best/safest argument there is. It's the same one your side uses for gun control.

What you are advocating is illegal.CIPA act requires unfettered access for adults.

I hardly think placing controls on pornography is equated with massive censorship. Its distribution can be a contributory factor in the eventual committing of a violent crime. Our society has removed many of those mores that defined good taste, respect, and consideration of others. Today we can go to a public place and have the parade of belly buttons, low slung pants, and the like. There are still people who are offended by these things. What about their rights and the right to raise their families in a society with boundaries. Pornography depicts women in depraved ways. Some depict the demeaning, abusing, and even murdering of women. Why are people so quick to protect this material. There seems to be an assumption that society must accept boundless sexual mores. That happened in the decline of the Roman Empire. Why hasn't the women's movement protested the demeaning of women and their use as props. Filtering pornography is defensible on many levels. I don't believe that these controls are the beginning of the slippery slope leading to the removal of free speech. As I have said many times, our profession, the curator of information and its distribution should consider the rights of all Americans not just some. If one seems to favor an opinion and uses traditional institutions to promote it that is more of a threat to our free speech.

"....there is a 5th option there and that's librarians being more responsible with what goes on in a *public building*hhmmmnnnn...a 5 th option ...OK more options are good...but it is not clear to me...What are librarians not doing now that they could be more responsible for ?
  How would that impact on providing legal access (CIPA) for adult patrons in a public library ?

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