Use of filters on public library computers

Discussion in 'Cleveland, OH' started by skyedancer, Jun 26, 2003.

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  1. skyedancer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 2
    The Supreme Court recently made a ruling that allows Congress to withhold federal funds from public libraries that do not install filters on their public access computers. It's a huge topic of discussion at the Jedi Archives. Is it censorship or protection of minors? Anyone here want to put in their two cents? I will comment later. Go here for a summary of this decision: www.cnn.com
  2. GrnJalera Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2001
    star 3
    I've never used a public computer before, so I can't say much.

    I would be more in favor of a couple of "adult" computers where trusted people could surf the net without hassle instead of all of them having filters.

    It's protecting the kids with a side order of censorship.
  3. Malo-ha Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2003
    star 2
    Unfortunately filtering software just doesn't work. At least not the way people think it does. You can block the obvious stuff but there are so many many ways to get around the software that it can be worse than useless. Not just breast cancer sites are blocked, but sites like Planned Parenthood or any site that offers birth control advice, sites that track human rights violations, sites that offer help or counseling to rape and sexual abuse victims are all blocked.

    Not to mention the fact that the software companies consider the list of blocked sites to be proprietory property and you the buyer are not allowed to know what's being blocked or what the specific criteria for blocking is. Thats the real censorship part. Can you imagine the reaction of a fanboy if when he gets his latest game home and goes to find all that hidden info on playing it and he can't get it because that info is considered proprietory? But libraries are just supposed to accept the situation?

    Plus the software is expensive. You're talking tens of thousands of dollars and where is the money for that to come from? Most libraries are struggling to stay open right now as it is. They just don't have the money to do it. Some may have to decide to lose Federal funds and close or buy the software but cut hours because there is no money left to keep the library open.

    I guess you can tell I don't agree with the decision.

    skyedance where is this discussion on the Jedi Archives?
  4. DonC Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2001
    star 4
    My thoughts.


    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping kids from viewing adult material, but I'm against censorship. Sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad.
  5. JediKnightPasJoDacle Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 16, 2002
    star 4
    Down with filters, just another way for the government to control WHAT we see.



    Big brother IS watching.
  6. TheRandomMenace Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 4
    I think I have to resort to Rage Against The Machine, "Killing In The Name Of":

    Killing in the name of

    And now you do what they told you
    Now you're under control

    Frell you I won't do what you tell me.


    I believe we need regulations (speed limit, pay your taxes or we'll come and reposses things, if your guilty we'll imprison you) to make this country a safe and equal opportunity place, but to try and force this down our throats... just ridiculous. All you need to do is put a disclaimer on each comp saying "Warning: This computer may experience random pop-up ads with adult content" and you're covered, and it'd prolly be a lot cheaper too. Some people have to make things so much harder than they need to be.
  7. skyedancer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 2
    I agree that forcing public libraries to put filters on all public access computers seems like censorship to me. A better solution is to have some computers filtered (especially those in areas designed for children) and some not filtered. As Malo-ha pointed out, a lot of libraries are experiencing budget problems right now anyway and the last thing they need is more funds being cut.
    BTW, Malo-ha, I refer to the place I work at as the Jedi Archives. I didn't mean TheForce.Net. [face_blush] Sorry about the confusion.
    One other point: Some adults could use a little personal discretion on public library computers when kids are around. We had one chucklehead where I work that thought it was hilarious that he was viewing one of "those" websites while a group of homeschooling parents were touring the building! :mad:
  8. TheRandomMenace Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 4
    Why not just call your place of occupation a library?
  9. Tuebor Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2001
    I realize that I'm often the most conservative voice among my friends, but...

    If I heard correctly anyone wishing to access blocked material would simply have the filter temporarily turned off by a library employee. I know this would add some headaches for them, but wouldn't it eliminate Mr. "Old guy watching whatever as the kiddies go by?"

    What I don't like is the all-too-common strongarm tactics of our government 'witholding funds'. Just like the federal gov't and the lowering of Ohio's DUI law. Maybe both ideas or countless like them have merit, but the way they are implemented seems frighteningly close to extortion.
  10. Krash RSA Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2000
    star 5
    all-too-common strongarm tactics of our government 'witholding funds'
    It's no secret that those who control the funding, control the way things get done. Or as they said in The Right Stuff

    "No bucks...no Buck Rogers!"

    Why not just call your place of occupation a library?
    Why do you call your brother...EDIT:"Random's youngling?" It's just a fun way to explain that she works in a library. And let's face it, she would have a 1st hand perspective on what this will do to the people working at libraries. While we want access to all the information available, the problem is much of the internet is devoted to crap...and they have no problem advertising it to anyone out there.

    I agree the internet should not be a marketing "free for all"...and yet, find problems with government drifting into more censorship of our daily lives.

    here's my take on some of the common internet problems:
    Porn: don't call us...we'll call you (if legal)
    Pop-ups: stop it, just frelling stop it
    Spam e-mail: Who are you people? (i don't know ya)...I've blocked more people then the entire Cleveland Browns!
    IM: Next b#### that sends me a invite to her web-cam is gonna get b####-slapped!

    And for those "Pee-Wee Herman" types that use the public library as a private viewing location...skydancer, does the Archives need a bouncer? I'd love to throw some of those guys on the street ;)
  11. TheRandomMenace Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2002
    star 4
    I don't refer to my brother as my Padawan... he's not 13. And I don't say I work on a battle droid Naboo deforestation crew or serve customers at Dex's Diner just because I cut down plants while landscaping or cook at the grill.

    I wonder if the Matrix has pop-up ads? I can just see it now...

    Agent Smith: Mr. Anderson... *voice changes to infomercial voice-over* would you like to join date.com and meet plenty of lovely singles your age?
  12. skyedancer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2002
    star 2
    Why not just call your place of occupation a library?
    Well, as Geoff said, I am sort of role-playing but it's also because when I tell people I work in a library, they start to treat me differently. Sometimes, they start to make all sorts of excuses for any library books they've kept too long or "mislaid." I am not the library police--honestly! ;) Or they start acting intimidated around me like I'm some sort of Albert Einstein and know everything. I wish because then I'd be on and win "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Geoff, I really do wish we had bouncers sometimes and not just for Pee-Wee Herman types but we do have this little thing called free access.
    One problems with putting filters on all of the computers is that I thinks it's a little more complicated than flipping a switch to turn them on and off.
  13. Malo-ha Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2003
    star 2
    Not to mention the Shhh! jokes. :p

    Free access, thats the tricky part isn't it. How to balance the right of a person to view what they want with the rights of others not to have to look at a screen with pornography. Although in Ohio we have that little Harmful to Minors law that prohibits people looking at anything in a public place that could be considered harmful. The problem starts with who makes the decision as to whats harmful. Naked pictures and graphic text are the easy things to decide to filter out but whats offensive to one is not to another. How many of us have been mocked or worse because we're SW fans. Don't you think there are people out there who think science fiction should be blocked because it carries ideas that some consider harmful to minors? (ie: might make them question the status quo) Look at the Harry Potter books. These books have some of the best arguments on the evils of predjudice and closed mindedness that I've ever read. Yet what are people focusing on? Witchcraft, Satanism, I wonder if they've even really read the books.

    As for bouncers, the last library I worked at hired off duty police officers in uniform to work as security. And it was because of the behavior of teenagers not the adults. Not that the officers weren't handy when the adults started to misbehave.

    Sorry skyedancer, I forgot you refer to your library as the Jedi Archives. :) We've been talking about it here too. Almost all of our computers are Gates Computers. Our contract with them calls for free and unfettered access for all patrons. We don't know what impact filters would have on that contract. Its one of those wait and see things right now.
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