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Re: City of Phoenix, Arizona bans Internet porn at libraries

Sep 09, 2004 11:35 AM
by kpauljohnson

We've long had an Acceptable Use Policy that people have to sign 
before using the Net, which explicitly forbids accessing porn. Then 
when CIPA was upheld we filtered in order to keep our 10k/yr. in e-
rate reimbursement-- big money for us. But we simply use IE Content 
Advisor which satisfies the requirement but doesn't cost money (or 
work very well).

My objection to filtering isn't that people have a right to look at 
porn, but that these products filter out non-porn and don't 
successfully filter porn. A neighboring library has a very 
restrictive filter they share with the school system, and once I 
googled Edgar Cayce and tried to click on a link, only to be told 
ACCESS DENIED-- OCCULT. Pretty shocking.

What does Tucson do?


--- In, "Daniel H. Caldwell" 
<danielhcaldwell@y...> wrote:
> Some readers on this forum may find this of some interest.
> I know Paul Johnson will.
> Daniel
> --------------------------------------------
> Phoenix bans Internet porn at libraries
> Council vote may lead to court battle for city
> Ginger D. Richardson
> The Arizona Republic
> Sept. 9, 2004 12:00 AM
> Permanent filters OKd on library computers
> A determined City Council declared Wednesday that pornography will 
> longer be 
> available at Phoenix libraries, an action that could lead to a 
> courtroom showdown
> with First Amendment advocates.
> Phoenix's new policy, which will filter all Internet sessions for 
> adult users, is
> unusually stringent and appears to be the first of its kind among 
> nation's largest
> cities, a number of First Amendment advocates say.
> The new regulations, which take away library patrons' ability to 
> the Web without
> restrictions, took effect immediately and could be implemented 
> The City Council's unanimous vote disappointed many, including a 
> visibly upset Toni
> Garvey, Phoenix's public library director, and prompted the local 
> leader of the 
> American Civil Liberties Union to say, "This will end up in the 
> Supreme Court."
> Eleanor Eisenberg, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, 
> short of saying
> that her organization would take the city to court in the near 
> but did say,
> "We've heard from people who are concerned about this. We have 
> several possible
> plaintiffs."
> The threat did little to sway Mayor Phil Gordon and Vice Mayor 
> Bilsten, who
> said they are fully prepared for a legal battle.
> "I am willing to take this to court," Bilsten said. "Too many times,
> we stop short of what we want to do because we are afraid of it 
> to court.
> "I think this is a great case."
> Gordon agreed.
> "I don't believe that in our library, which is designed to be 
> friendly,
> we should be obliged to provide access to these materials," Gordon 
> said. "If
> we are to be sued, then let the courts decide this case."
> The city moved quickly to adopt the policy, which was prompted by 
> last month's arrest
> of a child molester who told police that he had downloaded child 
> pornography at 
> the Phoenix Public Library.
> The arrest "shook the very foundation of what I believe we are here 
> to do, 
> and that is protect families," Bilsten said.
> The city's plan has received support from Maricopa County Attorney 
> Rick Romley, 
> dozens of residents who called and e-mailed the city, and Glendale 
> Mayor Elaine 
> Scruggs, who told Gordon she intends to bring a similar proposal 
> before her own 
> council.
> Previous Phoenix city regulations mandated that filters, which are 
> designed to block
> obscene materials and Web pages by targeting key words, phrases or 
> graphical images,
> remain turned on at all times in the libraries' children's areas 
> for patrons
> under the age of 17.
> But those rules, like those in most other municipalities 
> allowed adult
> residents the option of disabling the filters.
> The council's action Wednesday changes all that. Some opponents 
> that the city
> has had a knee-jerk reaction to one particular incident and, in 
> adopting the new
> policy, has gone too far.
> The ACLU, the American Library Association and other staunch First 
> Amendment advocates
> say the filters the council is installing are overly broad and 
> imprecise at best.
> Eisenberg and others say that the filters might mistakenly, for 
> example, block Internet
> sites that deal with breast cancer, AIDS research or sexual 
> They also argue that installing such software puts the city at the 
> mercy of software
> providers' personal biases and prejudices.
> For that reason, members of the city's Library Advisory Board 
> Gordon last
> week not to adopt the policy.
> Garvey, the city's librarian, did not attend that meeting but she 
> present for
> Wednesday's vote. She did not speak and left the meeting quickly, 
> blinking back 
> tears.
> Later, she issued a statement saying that she "will of course 
> the direction
> of (the) City Council to make Internet use at the Phoenix Public 
> Library safe and
> enjoyable for all of our families and citizens."
> Board member Robert Villaseņor Jr., however, told council members 
> that he didn't
> think they "could prevail on this."
> "I am here as a citizen, but I am also a member of the library 
> Villaseņor said. " . . . And I am telling you that you will be 
> removing a great
> wealth of information that ought to be available and is protected 
> under the First
> Amendment."
> But resident Marti Winkler urged the council to proceed with the 
> filtering, saying
> the idea that pornographic material was available at the 
library "has 
> greatly
> alarmed me and disturbed me."
> City Councilman Tom Simplot and other officials said they would 
> support the library
> board in any efforts it made to find the most up-to-date technology.
> Simplot added that he hoped a filter would soon be available that 
> would "block
> only pornographic material."

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