Who's To Blame For Library Patron Accessing Porn?

from the playing-the-blame-game dept

It's been over two years since the Supreme Court said that it was fine for the federal government to require libraries that receive federal funding to install internet filters on their computers. This was despite the fact that many libraries found the filters ineffective (both in letting through plenty of porn and being overly aggressive in blocking perfectly fine sites) and expensive. So, it shouldn't come as any surprise that such filters don't work well. Yet, when evidence of that was presented in one case in Florida, local officials immediately started playing the blame game and have suspended, and may fire, the head librarian. Apparently, a registered sex offender, as well as three under age boys, used the computers in the library to view pornographic sites. It's hard to see how the librarian could be blamed for such things, but it seems like the local city council wants someone's head for this -- and the librarian is the easy target.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Michael Clark, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 5:16am

    Whose? Try Who's

    I think you meant to use "Who's" instead of "Whose" in the title?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Bill, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 5:37am

    How about ratings

    The simple solution would seem to be to have ratings for webpages, like the one build into microsoft explorer.

    you get a rating of 1-5 for each of sex, violence, language, and more.

    to get it being used, you would just need to get microsoft so ship Ie with the default of not viewing sites without any ratings.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Mousky, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 7:26am

    Re: How about ratings

    You mean like this:
    www.icra.org

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    rightnumberone, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 8:08am

    No Subject Given

    Librarians, through the American Library Association, as a group oppose any filtering on free speech and association grounds.

    http://www.ala.org/

    Thats fine. As long as they understand that the people who write their paychecks DO want filtering; and are prepared to relieve the librarians of their jobs on this principle.

    Allowing convicted sex offenders and little boys to access porn on taxpayer purchased computers is guaranteed to get a Librarian fired (or should.)

    And there is nothing wrong with the politicians, who are representing their constituents, to demand that Librarians not allow it.

    The Librarians, of course, are perfectly within their rights to refuse to butt in to people's privacy.

    But we don't have to pay for the Librarian who takes such a stance.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    IanT, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 8:26am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Librarians have no earthly business monitoring what anyone over the age of eightteen is doing at library computers. However, a log of their comptuer usage should be available for their parents.

    (First comment on Techdirt, love the site)

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    angloafro, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 8:29am

    Re: Whose? Try Who's

    ironically, the librarian's last name is "Whose", so the title remains correct.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    aries, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 9:04am

    Who's to blame?

    Who's to blame?

    Was this even a real question? Of course it was the person that looked at it. The librarian did not force him to.

     

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  8.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 15th, 2005 @ 9:23am

    Re: Whose? Try Who's

    I think you meant to use "Who's" instead of "Whose" in the title?

    Whoops. That was a bad mistake. You're right. Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Bobby V, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 11:45am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Librarians don't keep records on purpose. They don't want to have anything to give to the feds if the feds are trying to catch a terrorist. The ALA is on the opposite side from most Americans. Another copy of this wire story says the library has filtering software but chooses not to use it so maybe the library is in violation of the law if they're receiving federal funds. Do librarians get to make up their own rules? Or should the taxpayers paying their salaries make the rules?

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Pussy, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 12:48pm

    Re: No Subject Given


    Geee Bobby, that depends, by “the tax payers paying their salaries” do you mean, each and every tax payer who walks in with an absurd religious perspective gets to clamp shit down and start banning books?

    Do you mean the type of moron who threatens the cop who pulled him over with “I pay your salary!!!”

    Just because you A) Pay taxes and B) are stupid, does not mean that any one should listen to you.

    Librarians are for free speech, free expression of ideas, and free access to information for a reason. A very good reason - specifically so that the politicians, and tax payers who “hire” them cannot control the thoughts of the constituents.

    Is it bad that a sex offended looked at porn? Not really.

    Is it bad that a few young boys looked at porn? Not really. (Try to find one who hasn’t)

    Is it bad that Americans get all flustered about porn? BIG TIME.

    Is it bad that Americans are getting excited about censoring and blocking access to information and ideas, even porn? BIG FUCKING TIME.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Ivan Sick, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 1:04pm

    Re: How about ratings

    Have you ever tried using that filter? It's the worst. You set just one parameter to low-level filtering and most sites are blocked. Why? Most sites don't have filters, and Content Advisor won't allow that. Open Internet Explorer 6, Service Pack 1. Turn on content advisor with the settings very high (so that the filter basically would not be effective at all even though it's on.) You can't see the following sites: techdirt, google, pbs, or my local school district.
    Who does have ratings? Microsoft. Disney. It's a perfect system, right?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 5:34pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Alright, I'm a taxpayer and I say libraries should be required to HAVE porn on all their computers.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Block Sheep, Aug 15th, 2005 @ 6:15pm

    No Subject Given

    The most effective way to make it so that people don't look at porn on library computers is to make it so that the screens are visible to as many people as possible in the library.

    Sure, there's no privacy that way, but it also means no need for a software filter because the social/human filter will be far more effective.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Bob, Aug 16th, 2005 @ 9:13am

    Responsible

    Since a librarian only assists in providing the access, they should qualify for the same "safe harbor" rule that ISP's enjoy. So no librarian should be directly responsible, as ISP's are not, as both act merely as access providers.

    The fault and blame lies with the municipality, namely the city council itself. If that council must punish someone, then they should punish themselves, for failure and negligence to provide an environment to prevent this type occurence from happening.

     

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