Library Turns Off All Internet Access To Avoid Porn
from the what-to-do dept
Three and a half years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the administration's requirement that any public libraries who wish to keep receiving federal funds must install internet filters on their computers to keep people from viewing porn. This was despite evidence presented that such filters don't do a very good job of preventing porn and often block perfectly legitimate content (often the type of content people want to be able to access in a library, such as information about breast cancer). Of course, some of us wondered whether porn in libraries was really that big an issue. Apparently, it is. Regina Lynn points us to a story about a library that has decided to (at least temporarily) disable all internet access from the library, after one too many incidents of people surfing porn on the machines. The library is looking for a solution (which is better than the situation at a different library, where a similar situation resulted in the librarian getting fired), but it raises questions about what is the best solution. Originally, many people suggested that if you just put the computers in very public places, it would reduce the problems with people viewing porn -- but there are those who actually find that an even better reason to surf porn in a public place. Also, it's possible that some people may not want others to know what they're looking up -- and that seems like a legitimate concern. Of course, you could go in the opposite direction and simply put computers somewhere where people can't see what's on the screen. But, then, of course, people would get worried that there was no real supervision when children were using the computers. So why not do a combination of the two? There are enough programs out there these days that let you get a screen capture of what a computer desktop is displaying. Why not put the computers in semi-private spaces, but allow a librarian to monitor what's being looked at on the desktop in order to remove patrons who surf porn?