Multnomah Considers Filtering

An article in USA Today focuses on a decision that Multnomah Cty Library Director Molly Raphael will soon be making regarding the filtering of ALL internet searches for children twelve and under (unless parental permission is given).

FOL President Stephanie Vardavas points out the problems with this kind of all-inclusive filtering: “One filter even blocked a search for the site for the 30th Super Bowl because it was listed as Super Bowl XXX, she said.

“What it comes down to is that filters aren’t good at assessing content,” Vardavas said. “They’re good at applying rules.”

Library officials say there are scores of Internet filters on the market but their uses can vary.

The filter currently used by the county uses a “low threshold” that weeds out pornography, Raphael said, but also sites dealing with breast cancer and other subjects.

“It’s not a perfect system, no matter what kind of filter you have,” she said. “We’re trying to provide some flexibility so parents can make a choice.”