“Schools and libraries nationwide are routinely filtering internet content far more than what the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires, according to “Fencing Out Knowledge: Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later (pdf),” a report released today by the American Library Association (ALA). CIPA requires public libraries and K-12 schools to employ internet filtering software to receive certain federal funding. “Over-filtering blocks access to legitimate educational resources, and consequently reduces access to information and learning opportunities for students,” said Barbara Stripling, ALA president. For example, some school districts block access to websites containing information about foreign countries, such as China and Iran, even as those websites are required online reading for the Advanced Placement curriculum.” (via ALA)
“Five years after San Jose officials rejected calls to block pornographic imagery from the city libraries’ computers citing the slippery slope of censorship, the city’s new chief librarian has quietly been revisiting the idea.City librarian Jill Bourne said she generally does not favor censorship of the Internet on public computers, except when it comes to complying with state laws that protect children from pornography.”To me this is not a political issue,” she said. “It’s an operational issue.” (via ContraCostaTimes.com)
“Whether filters should be installed on some computers at the Orland Park Public Library to restrict access to pornographic or other objectionable websites was the subject of heated debate at Monday’s library board meeting. Shouting and verbal sparring among audience members punctuated the meeting. Some residents asked board members to tread cautiously in considering such filters. Other library patrons argued that stronger safeguards are necessary.” (via Chicago Sun-Times)
“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.”