“A federal judge has ordered a small library in southern Missouri to stop blocking access to websites related to Wicca and other minority religions, calling it a violation of patrons’ First Amendment rights. U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber issued the ruling Tuesday in St. Louis in a case involving the Salem Public Library. “Even libraries that are required by federal law to install filtering software to block certain sexually explicit content should never use software to prevent patrons from learning about different cultures,” Tony Rothert, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, said in a statement Wednesday.” (via AP)
“The ACLU on Wednesday accused an eastern Pennsylvania school district of blocking Internet content about gays.
The American Civil Liberties Union said that Governor Mifflin School District’s Internet filtering software blocked sites that a student tried to access for research. The Berks County district’s “sexuality” filter blocks sites expressing support for the gay-rights movement, while an “intolerance” filter blocks a range of political advocacy sites, including ones that oppose legal protections for gays, the group said.”
“A bill aimed at preventing children from seeing obscene or harmful images while using the Internet in schools and public libraries is coming up for debate in the Kansas Senate. Senators planned to discuss the measure Tuesday, only a day after their Education Committee endorsed it. The bill initially would have required schools and libraries to have technology installed on computers, such as filters or content blockers, to prevent children from viewing child pornography or other obscene or harmful material.”
“School and public libraries in Arizona have been filtering online content for years to protect minors from accessing obscene materials on their computers.
A new state law, which goes into effect Aug. 1, establishes significant consequences for those entities that don’t have a strict policy against such materials. House Bill 2712 specifies the types of material the schools and libraries must block and includes a tough penalty — the state can withhold 10 percent of its funding if the school or library doesn’t comply.”
via Arizona Republic
The Portland Press Herald – “Over the next two weeks, Portland’s school district will install filtering software on laptops issued to high school students, in order to block access to pornography, social networking sites and video streaming sites when the laptops are at home.Access to those sites is blocked now only at school, through the school network. The current filter doesn’t work when laptops are off school property.”
Courthouse News Service – “Three library patrons who claimed their rural library’s Internet filter prevented them from researching issues such as teen smoking and gun rights lost their challenge to the library district, when a federal judge found the Internet policy did not violate the First Amendment. The ACLU represented three rural Washingtonians in a 2006 federal lawsuit that claimed the North Central Regional Library District unconstitutionally blocked access to certain websites with a systemwide Internet filter.”
NYT – “Students using the computers at Camdenton High School here in central Missouri have been able to access the Web sites for Exodus International, as well as People Can Change, antigay organizations that counsel men and women on how to become heterosexual. But the students have not been able to access the Web sites of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.”
Courthouse News – “A federal judge ordered a central Missouri school district to stop using Internet filtering software that blocks access to gay, lesbian and transgender issue-related websites. U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey issued a preliminary injunction against the Camdenton R-III School District. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the district in August 2011 on behalf of several gay rights organizations, including the Matthew Shepard Foundation; Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Dignity Inc.”
TriCity Herald – “Central Washington’s library system will head back to federal court Oct. 25 to further argue its filtering of public internet access. The hearing in Richland before U.S. District Court Judge Edward F. Shea will consider motions left dangling after the Washington Supreme Court last year upheld the North Central Regional Library district practice of narrowly filtering internet pages related to pornography and gambling.”
CT Post – “Many school districts in Fairfield County have strict limits on which Web pages can be viewed by students during school hours, effectively outlawing the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. New Canaan High School’s Library Department Chair Michelle Luhtala takes issue with these restrictions, which she likens to the practice of banning books in school libraries. In an effort to raise awareness around the importance of freedom of information for students, Luhtala plans to launch Banned Sites Day on Sept. 28, piggybacking off the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week the last week in September.”