Librarians Are Continuing To Defend Open Access To The Web As A Public Service

from the not-all-porn-is-porn dept

Librarians have built up quite a reputation for activism in all the right ways. Whether taking a stand against DRM, expanding libraries' catalogs to include new digital media and art, or embracing indie authors, librarians come off as much more of a hip crowd than you might expect. These stances occasionally put them at odds with some in the community that they serve, perhaps most notably with parents who have pushed for restrictions on internet access within libraries. It gets all the more unfortunate when a subsection of the citizenry sees fit to ramp up the rhetoric against an institution simply attempting to serve the greatest public good. This typically, unfortunately, devolves into the supposed accusation of librarians "defending" the right for visitors to view "pornography."
Take the Orland Park Public Library, a community library in a suburb southwest of Chicago. Last year, self-identified conservative homeschooling mom Megan Fox launched a campaign to get the library to install filters on its computers after she claims to have seen a man looking at pornography in the library’s adult-only computer lab (the library has a separate, filtered computer lab for children). The library board voted on the issue and decided not to install filters, but to require identification for anyone logging on.

Not satisfied, Fox and her supporters continued to hound the board, often resulting in police being called to heated meetings. She filed so many FOIA requests that the library has had to dedicate two full-time employees to respond to them. She accused the library of covering up an incident of someone looking at child pornography, and she forced a re-vote on the issue by having the Public Access Bureau declare a board meeting illegal because it was held on Lincoln’s birthday.
If all of that sounds to you like a big bucket of crazy, you're not alone. Fortunately, the librarians in this case are steadfastly refusing to back down. That isn't always what happens. And, look, there's nothing wrong with being conservative, having a specific set of values, and all the rest. What you can't do, however, is insist that public institutions follow your personal views just because. That isn't how secular government works.

And, of course, the entire point of the stance by librarians in cases like this is that all of this comes down to definitions and scope. Define, they challenge, "pornography," and "I know it when I see it" doesn't work as an answer. Define what should be filtered. Outline a scope of internet filtering on adult only computers that will filter out what we all universally accept to be pornography, but won't block any educational information, keeping in mind that free and open access to information and literature is the entire point of libraries. When you think of it like that, all this porn-blocking doesn't sound so simple. What's porn to a nun may not be to a commercial banker. Whose definition do you use? And why? And what do you tell the person who isn't getting their way? Too bad, but some lady named Megan Fox agrees with us?

We have to be more grown up than that, something librarians have been pushing for a long, long time.
Libraries have been advocates for a right to access information long before the digital age. Book banning and burning has been a national pastime for various sections of the population for decades, and libraries have always stood in the face of that, advocating in the belief that people have a right to read, learn, and access everything the world has to offer.

“There have always been disputes over whether we should have sex manuals or books about creating bombs. There have always been those kinds of conflicts and librarians have tried to put out guidelines to have the most open access possible,” said Michael Zimmer, a privacy and internet ethics expert who runs the Center for Information Policy Rese​arch at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Add to that the burden that a more restrictive blocking policy puts on the less-well-off in this country and we're beginning, again, to lose sight of the entire point of libraries. Let's give an example. Let's say that we have a very poor young woman who has recently found out she's pregnant. Perhaps due to a lack of education, she is unsure of what to expect during her pregnancy and what giving birth will be like, what she should and should not be eating, etc. So she goes to the library computer section, but finds that the pages she's trying to look up have been blocked because they contain medical pictures of naughty-bits or keywords that trigger the filter. So what does she do? I'm not sure, but she may not be able to do what a suburbanite housewife can do and look this stuff up on her own high-speed internet service at home. See the problem?

And it isn't just medically relevant information that can be unfairly blocked.
The ALA published a rep​ort investigating the use of filters and found they were disproportionately blocking out left-leaning views on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. LGBT community websites were often blocked and identified as “sexual” sites.
And whatever your feelings on LGBT issues and communities, you simply can't endorse a system in which a public commodity locks out access to sites of interest to sections of the public based on the sensibilities of other members of that public. That just isn't how this works. So, when somebody cries about seeing someone viewing pornography at a local library, a different image pops up into each one of our minds, and none of them may be remotely close to what she saw.

That's why librarians stand against filtering internet access in this manner. It's for all of us and we really should be standing with them.

Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 18 Dec 2014 @ 8:57pm

    Thank you.

    Thank you for your support. We fight hard against censorship, for government transparency, against overbearing copyright, &c., so you can understand why I like Techdirt. (I'd love to see one of the Techdirt regulars on a panel at ALA Annual some year, but that sort of programming isn't my strong suit.) And we're usually pointing out these problems years before anyone else gets on board; during what was being called "the Summer of Snowden," ALA Annual hosted a well-attended panel titled "WE TOLD YOU SO." (We did one on filtering the same year: "Access denied!")

    Of course, librarianship's dirty secret is that we didn't really get this liberal and libertarian until circa the '60s. For example, we spent the early part of the 20th century fighting with teachers and the newly-minted child psychologists over which profession was best suited to decide which books were appropriate for children, and not in a good way. But today? Libraries are the most anti-government government agencies around.

    I'm proud to call myself a Radical Militant Librarian (to quote the FBI and many, many librarians thereafter). Allies are always welcome.

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

    • icon
      S. T. Stone (profile), 18 Dec 2014 @ 9:12pm

      Re: Thank you.

      You have my support.

      God bless the librarians of the world.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 1:02am

      Re: Thank you.

      But where have you hidden the Spear of Destiny?

      /silly

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

    • identicon
      Rich Kulawiec, 19 Dec 2014 @ 2:18am

      Re: Thank you.

      Librarians are some of the front-line troops in the war to preserve and provide not only information, but literature, art, music and the rest of our planetary culture. And it is a "war", I think: there are always those who want to suppress that with which they don't agree, that which they deem "subversive", that which makes them uncomfortable -- and they're willing to do anything to further that goal. (As we see with this full-blown batshit crazy moron in the Chicago 'burbs.)

      It's easy to classify incidents like this as one-off aberrations, to suggest giving in simply to make the problem go away. But it's important not to. The reasons why are numerous, but I think the best one was given nearly two centuries ago:

      "Dort, wo man Bucher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen."

      ("Where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people." Heinrich Heine in his play "Almansor", 1820-1821)

      Rock on, librarians. Rock on.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 4:33am

      Re: Thank you.

      God bless you and may humanity someday actually attribute to librarians and libraries the importance they have. We need more of you.

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

    • icon
      BernardoVerda (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 3:58pm

      Re: Thank you.

      Hey, I just checked.

      There's "Radical Militant Librarian" t-shirts and buttons
      (and there's ones to "Support Radical Militant Librarians", too)

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

  • icon
    MDT (profile), 18 Dec 2014 @ 9:19pm

    Agreed, thanks to those who stand against censorship

    Thanks!

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

    • icon
      Frok (profile), 18 Dec 2014 @ 11:47pm

      slim shady

      Even to promote moralphobia?

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 22 Dec 2014 @ 3:08am

        Re: slim shady

        Whut? I can't imagine anything more immoral than imposing one's views onto other people. Anyone who cries "Moralphobia!" doesn't understand the meaning of the terms "Free will" or "Freedom."

        And dressing up authoritarianism as morality explains lynching, pogroms, and a host of other evils.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Dec 2014 @ 9:57pm

    I have many things to thank librarians for. Maybe not today because the little town I live in has one but it's not much of one.

    But I remember as a kid, I learned mainly to read in comic books. After that I sort of graduated into novels. My source was the local library. I don't believe what I read as a boy would have been much interest to book burners or those hollering sex in some manner. At the time for me it was the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and things like learning how to tie various knots, among others. Not exactly the fare of some budding young terrorist or the like.

    My point is without access to a public library I feel I would have had a much poorer education. Not in the formal sense but rather in learning as a young man how some of the world outside worked.

    All I can do is say thank you and those of your profession for doing what is the right thing. I hate what we've become today that even what we chose to read could be of interest to some government agency.

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

    • identicon
      Captive Audience, 20 Dec 2014 @ 1:23am

      Re: Censoring Children's Books

      Books written by Judy Blume have been removed from libraries. Imo they are age appropriate so they cover topics that are relevant to young people such as bullying, menstruation and sometimes sex. Parents would like to believe that their children will not think about sex until the day they say "I do" but unfortunately they way you wish things were and reality are often not the same. No need to worry about banning age-appropriate books by Judy Blume. Kids would never consider taking those questions to yahoo answers where questions like that recieve plenty of answers. Too bad most of those answers are completely inaccurate.

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

  • identicon
    Andyroo, 18 Dec 2014 @ 10:12pm

    ffs

    If this fo bitch gets away with what she is trying to do then i should be allowed with one request to ban everything she has ever written and anything that is conservative that call for blocking me from accessing what i want.

    i thought conservatism was about not allowing anyone to stop you doing what you want, and this woman if you can call her that is trying to stop me accessing what i want, therefore i should have the right to stop her accession anything i do not like , The internet should not be accessible by anyone that dislikes free speech and free access to content, something conservatives are supposed to support.

    Sorry ranting but i am sick to death of these supposedly do gooders that are doing nothing other than trying to force their views onto me, and that is a basic concept of communisum.

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

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 22 Dec 2014 @ 3:10am

      Re: ffs

      The conservative movement has been hijacked by authoritarians using their notions of morality as an excuse to boss us around.

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

  • icon
    Frok (profile), 18 Dec 2014 @ 11:44pm

    Parents are ultimately responsible.

    Please stop delegating your responsibilities to the state. Or be prepared to show your papers and retina scans.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 2:37am

      Re:

      But that takes work, and, you know, parenting, much easier to throw a phone, maybe a tablet or game console at the kid, ignore them, and then throw a fit and threaten legal actions if the rest of the world doesn't want to step up and do your parenting for you. /s

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 18 Dec 2014 @ 11:51pm

    Our heroes

    In retrospect, it should have been obvious that the librarians would become champions of free ideas, since they've always lead out in resistance to censorship.

    Go, librarians!

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

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:41am

    Maybe you didn't notice but conservatives have been pushing to change history books to downplay the secular part of the countries ethos.

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

  • identicon
    KRA, 19 Dec 2014 @ 2:42am

    Go librarians

    The words freedom fighters and patriots have been warped so much over the last decade or so that I'm not sure they're taken as compliments anymore, but that's how they're meant here.

    I LOVE librarians.

    If you need donations for legal bills, please put up a link. I'd be honored to be a small part of your cause.

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

    • icon
      M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 7:55pm

      Re: Go librarians

      In addition to supporting the excellent work done by the ACLU and EFF, you should consider donating to the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), which is a nonprofit litigation-and-education organization run out of the ALA's offices but legally a separate entity for various reasons. Anyone can give/join.

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

      • icon
        M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 8:16pm

        Re: Re: Go librarians

        At the risk of seeming like a self-absorbed ass for hogging First Word, first comment, and Last Word, I'm going to Last Word my own comment here so people have somewhere to direct more than just words of thanks.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 2:56am

    This Megan Fox?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32mxZxv3dYM
    [Warning: Just... warning.]

    Quelle surprise.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 5:18am

      Re: This Megan Fox?

      unlikely, it's a common name, and the one in this article is almost certainly black.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 5:52am

        Re: Re: This Megan Fox?

        As a volunteer at the field museum and someone who grew up in Orland Park. That is in fact the same Megan Fox.

        Not sure what in the article give you an impression of her race. But she's white.

        There are also videos on youtube she has posted doing similar rants in front of the Orland Park Library.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 6:36am

          Re: Re: Re: This Megan Fox?

          woah, I don't know... guess I hadn't had my coffee, and there was broadcast news blaring on the tv....

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

      • identicon
        lofilover, 30 Dec 2014 @ 7:22am

        Re: Re: This Megan Fox?

        yeah, no, she's white- if you google "orland park megan fox", you will see many helpful pictures. I really have no idea where your weird assumption came from, but let this serve as a reminder not to automatically conflate race with other demographic qualifiers. are there many black people who identify as conservative christians? yes. does that mean it is worth assuming that most conservative christians are black? no.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2014 @ 4:02am

    behaviors in the library

    One problem that has been covered in articles in the past is the "patron" behaviors associated with "fine art." The behaviors created problems for librarians as well as other patrons.

    Think of the pets on Lampoons Christmas vacation.

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

  • identicon
    God, 19 Dec 2014 @ 7:03am

    megan fox is a smelly douchebag

    megan fox is a creationist. That alone should tell you she's an ignorant fuck with her head up her ass. Imagine waking up to this annoying cunt everyday I think I'd rather be in Dick Cheneys torture camp. She's incapable of understanding science due to having a pea brain and probably has a vagina that smells like rotting fish left outside for a week in the hot sun.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 19 Dec 2014 @ 7:44am

      Re: megan fox is a smelly douchebag

      Even my spellchecker knows: Whenever it finds 'creationism', it recommends 'cretinism'.

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

  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 7:33am

    Imagine sitting in a full public Library computer room next to a frequent visitor who rarely bathes or who bathes in cologne.
    Patrons are having difficulty tuning out his odor. Maybe you wish the library had a rule against overly aromatic visitors.

    Look there's nothing wrong if you're hygienic and have a specific set of cleaning rituals.
    What you can't do, however, is insist that public institutions follow your personal views just because.

    Our guy may be offensive smelling to a germaphobe but not to a construction worker.
    Whose definition of acceptable odor do you use? And why?
    And what do you tell the person who isn't getting their way? Too bad, but some fragrance-free, regular bather agrees with us?

    We have to be more grown up than that.

    summary:
    The cleverly concealed point of my post is that public porners and filter queens are both examples of nitwits who lack empathy and consideration for the folks around them.

    We tend to keep quiet about inappropriate behavior until it becomes safely outrageous.
    Maybe if we interacted with nitwits earlier, the folks running things would have fewer impossible situations to deal with.

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

    • icon
      M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 8:05pm

      Re:

      There are some libraries with odor policies. Some of those are blatant attempts to make it impossible for the homeless to use the library, which is absurd, because how else are they going to get job training and apply for jobs online? But most places the line is drawn at "the smell is making it hard for other patrons to use the library." It takes a serious odor to cross that line, and it will always be a judgement call, but the point is that we can't let one patron interfere with another's right to use the library . . . even if that sometimes sets up impossible double-binds.

      Of course, not letting one patron interfere with another goes for all the "moral guardians," too, which is why we fight them. Even the porn people can be a problem if they insist on doing it at a workstation that others can't avoid viewing as they pass by, especially if there's no good way of keeping kids out of the area; that's why porn is often restricted* to a few computers that are in a position where no-one can accidentally see what's on the screens.

      *Preferably by policy, not filters.

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

      • identicon
        Rudyard Holmbast, 20 Dec 2014 @ 2:37am

        Re: Re:

        So, it's impossible for people to apply for jobs online or get job training anywhere but the library? Enough with the self-important bullshit about how librarians and librarians are the only things standing between free society and fascist totalitarianism.

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

        • icon
          M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 6:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          For many people, yes, there are very limited options. I can't say with certainty exactly how many people are limited to exactly 1 "option," but I think that helping other people is important and we should make it as available as possible, not dismiss all but a single service. Library usage statistics show a spike in both general demand and employment-related requests every time there's a recession, so we have hard evidence that libraries are a place that people turn to for help.

          Of course, you're right that libraries aren't the only things standing between free society and totalitarianism, between democracy and autocracy. That doesn't mean that they're entire irrelevant, though. For example, John Adams wrote on libraries and democracy in A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law. FDR talked about it, too, although he's obviously more divisive. Still, it does say something about our nation's belief in libraries and democracy that, during the occupation of Japan, we sent a contingent of the nation's top librarians to Japan to create a modern, Western public library system there on the grounds that we couldn't give them democracy without public libraries; it just can't exist.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2014 @ 11:44pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          horse with no name just hates it when due process is enforced.

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

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 7:36am

    Slipperly slope

    As the risk of "defending pornagraphy"- I think it's a slippery slope to ban anything that someone doesn't like.

    Once you accept the idea that certain things can be banned, then other things can also be banned. Let's start with "pornography", then "pirate" sites, then political protest sites, then anything else that someone decides is "bad".

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

  • icon
    JoeCool (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:23am

    My first reaction

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

  • icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 1:51pm

    The Library of Alexandria

    Fortunately, the librarians in this case are steadfastly refusing to back down. That isn't always what happens. And, look, there's nothing wrong with being conservative, having a specific set of values, and all the rest. What you can't do, however, is insist that public institutions follow your personal views just because. That isn't how secular government works. [...] We have to be more grown up than that, something librarians have been pushing for a long, long time.

    A very long time...

    The Library of Alexandria was known to contain every work they could get their hands on...sometimes stealing the work off of ships parked in the harbor, transcribed onto papyrus scrolls, and then the copies were usually returned to the owner, instead of the originals, once the copy was made.

    The Library of Alexandria was destroyed, likely by conservative religious zealots (Coptic Pope Theophilus or the Muslim army of Amr ibn al `Aas), who disliked or despised the knowledge contained within the library or its availability to commoners.

    I wish conservatives (though, full disclosure, I consider myself one,) would worry more about themselves than what other people are doing.... There is also an awful lot in the Bible about not judging others and treating others as you would wish them to treat you (which usually are ignored by the conservative Christian population in favor of the fire and brimstone, everyone else is going to hell attitude.)

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 19 Dec 2014 @ 4:10pm

    She protests that people can view porn at the library and wants them to install filters, then she probably goes home, pulls out her tattered copy of 50 Shades of Grey and locks herself in the bathroom for an hour.

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

  • identicon
    Bea Jones, 19 Dec 2014 @ 10:28pm

    Do any of you realize that this library had someone watching CHILD PORN at it? And they DID NOT call police? You have an awful lot of bad things to say about that woman but you don't seem to care that some assbag was watching child porn and got away with it until that woman you hate found out about it. She's asking them to stop allowing child porn. The filters these days are much better and can stop illegal searches. My God! What is wrong with you people? Have you never heard of sex trafficking? Do you know how much illegal and sick shit is out there? Does that really need to be going on in a public library with tax dollars? You all think you're standing up for free speech when what you are doing is protecting criminals. Is there even one of you here who would stand up and say "I want to watch porn at a public library!"? I bet not.

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

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 20 Dec 2014 @ 12:18pm

      Re:

      Do any of you realize that this library had someone watching CHILD PORN at it? And they DID NOT call police? You have an awful lot of bad things to say about that woman but you don't seem to care that some assbag was watching child porn and got away with it until that woman you hate found out about it. She's asking them to stop allowing child porn.

      And what is your source for this claim? The linked article doesn't mention child porn. Megan Fox's own YouTube video where she rants about someone looking at porn on the library computers, doesn't once mention child porn.

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

      • icon
        Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 2:23pm

        Re: Re:

        I provided evidence of allowing and covering up child porn in another comment here.

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 2:50pm

        Re: Re:

        Do any of you realize that this library had someone watching CHILD PORN at it?

        The linked article doesn't mention child porn. Megan Fox's own YouTube video where she rants about someone looking at porn on the library computers, doesn't once mention child porn.

        She accused the library of covering up an incident of someone looking at child pornography, and she forced a re-vote on the issue by having the Public Access Bureau declare a board meeting illegal because it was held on Lincoln’s birthday.

        No sticks in this fire. Just trying to un-muddy waters.

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

  • identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 20 Dec 2014 @ 2:32am

    " And, look, there's nothing wrong with being conservative..."

    Wow, how magnanimous of you.

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

  • identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 20 Dec 2014 @ 2:33am

    To the serial-posting librarian, spare us the bullshit about the ACLU.

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

    • icon
      M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 6:30pm

      Re:

      I'm not a member personally, and I wouldn't support them unreservedly, but within the confines of certain issues, yes, I think they do good work. My point was largely to explain that the various groups with overlapping interests frequently coordinate who takes the lead on any specific case, so I can't say that librarians do it all.

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

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 8:33am

    Decades?

    Book banning and burning has been a national pastime for various sections of the population for decades ...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria

    Centuries at least; coming soon, millennia.

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

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 8:37am

    NOAA.

    My local library's filter blocked NOAA's entire domain. Since fixed. It lets the raunchiest of Onion stories through though.

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

  • icon
    Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 9:59am

    TechDirt perpetuates child porn and sexual trafficking

    This TechDirt story is substantially false. It perpetuates lawlessness including child pornography in public libraries. It further harms trafficked victims of sex crimes displayed on public library computers as alleged "free speech" as if the rights of the victims not to have the worst days of their lives broadcast for all to see don't matter.

    "If all of that sounds to you like a big bucket of crazy, you're not alone." It is a "big bucket of crazy" as TechDirt reported it. As TechDirt reported it, it is crazy, I'll admit that. But what TechDirt has reported is materially false.

    I am directly involved in this story. What TechDirt has written is the false view put forth by the people promoting child porn in public libraries and facilitating further harm to sexually trafficked women and men. There is no balance that is not presented in a unfair, inaccurate manner. If anyone wants truthful information, instead of the propaganda TechDirt repeats, please contact me.

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

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 20 Dec 2014 @ 12:15pm

      Re: TechDirt perpetuates child porn and sexual trafficking

      I am directly involved in this story. What TechDirt has written is the false view put forth by the people promoting child porn in public libraries and facilitating further harm to sexually trafficked women and men. There is no balance that is not presented in a unfair, inaccurate manner. If anyone wants truthful information, instead of the propaganda TechDirt repeats, please contact me.

      Neither the story that TechDirt links to, nor the video on YouTube, made by Megan Fox herself, makes any mention of child porn being viewed on library computers. You're going to have to post some links to credible sources for your claims if you want to be taken seriously.

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

      • icon
        Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 2:21pm

        Re: Re: TechDirt perpetuates child porn and sexual trafficking

        Thanks, Rekrul. For a credible source, I provide the library itself finally admitting to the crime and the cover up, but only after almost a year of effort by Megan Fox and Kevin DuJan, an effort that was not at all accurately characterized by TechDirt:

        "2014-8-18 Diane Jennings Admits Child Porn and LIES about Staff Action," by Megan Fox, YouTube, 11 November 2014

        http://youtu.be/8bNhrQ2LPWc

        And the library has done nothing to stop the problem. Instead it has devoted around $200K to legal services needed to enshrine its ability to continue to facilitate the harm I previously described.

        TechDirt said nothing about this.

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

  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 7:29pm

    Ah, the child porn strawman–ad hominem. Also Dan Kleinman a.k.a. Safe Libraries, who seems to live to be a one-man vocal minority on this issue. (I wonder if he's still advocating domain-level blocking with OpenDNS when challenged on overblocking/underblocking....)

    Assuming that they're serious (and not intentionally pushing an emotional button in order to achieve an ulterior goal), the people raising a child porn argument are focusing on one specific issue on which they only imagine anyone disagrees with them while implicitly or explicitly advocating solutions that are overbroad because they're not considering the impact of their solutions on any factor besides that one issue. Which narrow focus resulting in collateral damage is kinda the objection raised in the article and elsewhere.

    Child pornography—the legal-defined category—is illegal. When a patron is encountered accessing it, as with any unambiguously illegal activity (e.g., on with absolute liability), reporting them to the police is proper practice. I will happily argue that any specific individual who has argued or done otherwise is wrong on that specific issue. I am confident from my own experience and reading that few, if any, librarians would disagree with me. There certainly aren't any ALA statements that I'm aware of that say that child pornography should be legal or not reported; there are merely statements that certain methods of handling the problem are ineffective and/or will have unintended consequences that will routinely outweigh the rare cases in which some nominal benefit is obtained.

    We agree on the problem; we differ as to what is an appropriate solution because we are not narrowly focused on a single issue. Representing our position purely in terms of how it might theoretically affect your single issue is to make a strawman out of our argument. Attempting to extrapolate our values from a strawman in order to then discredit our morals and values in order to discredit our other arguments is an ad hominem predicated on a strawman, which is hardly a logical argument.

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

    • icon
      Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries (profile), 20 Dec 2014 @ 9:17pm

      ALA Facilitates Child Porn, Here's a Quote

      "M. Alan Thomas II" is using ad hominem argument to target me and draw attention away from this TechDirt story being poorly reported and filled with false misinformation. My showing the library finally admitting to the child porn coverup has no effect on such people as they continue to attack the target.

      Be that as it may, for the fair minded people here, read this diktat directly from American Library Association telling librarians they are not judges and are in no position to decide what is child pornography. Therefore, they are not to report it, and that is exactly what Orland Park Public Library did and other libraries do as well.

      The person attacking me as the "one-man vocal minority" and the false OpenDNS claim said, "There certainly aren't any ALA statements that I'm aware of that say that child pornography should be legal or not reported...." As you will see, that too is false. Here's the quote from the ALA in guidance given to all libraries nationwide in USA (and now being taught by ALA in Canada):

      "Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy," by Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 26 March 2013, emphasis in original:

      Libraries and librarians are _not_ in a position to make those decisions for library users or for citizens generally. Only courts have constitutional authority to determine, in accordance with due process, what materials are obscenity, child pornography, or “harmful to minors.”
      ....
      As for obscenity and child pornography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws. Libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts naturally directed toward the source, i.e., the publishers, of such material.

      http://www.ala.org/bbooks/challengedmaterials/preparation/guidelines-internet-use-policy

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.