Internet in New Zealand Libraries Should Not Be Free

Submitted by Steven on Sun, 11/26/2000 - 23:08

New Zealand taxpayers were mighty upset when they found out that tourists are able to check their e-mail at the national library for free. Computer User has the full story.\"New Zealand Member of Parliament (MP) Winston Peters lashed out at Wellington\'s National Library of New Zealand, painting its provision of free Internet access as an invitation for unrestricted surfing of porn sites and a free Net cafe for foreigners to check e-mail at taxpayers\' expense.\"

\"Travellers can\'t believe their luck when they are given the word from the street network that the National Library facilities are there for the taking, no charges are levied and no restrictions are applied, in very comfortable surroundings,\" said Peters.\"

\"He says there is no effective security or supervision of the Net-connected computers in the National Library public reading room and that the library should \"clean up its act and ensure the services they provide are not able to continue to be abused in this manner.\"

\"Responding to Peters\' attack, the National Library rejected the claims saying that the vast majority of users are online for reference and research purposes.\"

\"The Library provides free Internet access in the reference area for the purposes of reference and research only. The Internet access is supervised by reference staff. This is standard practice in libraries around the world,\" said Alison Elliott, director of collection services at the Library.\"

\"She said that abuse was minimal and not tolerated, with users warned and then ejected from the premises if they continue to access \"inappropriate\" sites.\"

\"Elliott added that the National Library had made an academic decision not to install Net filtering products on its public Internet access terminals.\"