EAGLE FORUM ALASKA TEMPLATE Eagle Forum Alaska: Testimony for HB353, Public Library Porn Filters

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Testimony for HB353, Public Library Porn Filters

The following testimony was given by Debbie Joslin, President of Eagle Forum Alaska to the House Finance Committee, Alaska State Legislature, on Tuesday, April 1, 2008:

My name is Debbie Joslin, I am President, of EFA, a pro-family group with over 1,000 members, and I live in Delta Junction. I am here to support passing HB353 with an amendment to restore the original language of the bill prior to the amendment of 3-25.

First and foremost, my concern is for our children. Allowing our public libraries to become the go-to place for those wishing to view porn, at best puts a thin shellac over a very sleazy industry – the porn industry.

Purveyors of porn specialize in trying to lure our children into their sordid sites and as a parent I want to know that my children are safe when they log onto a public library computer. Children don’t always have the best judgment and we guard them from the sinister motives of online dangers at home but we want porn filters installed in our public library computers. Even when our children don’t mean to go to a porn site, there are those who specialize in childish misspellings to trap our children. Another component to consider where our children are concerned is that the adult who may be viewing porn at the library could be alternately looking at the screen and then at our children, not something this mother of three girls relishes.

Librarians and others have testified that they can police the use of computers without filters, or even better than filters. I don’t think library patrons would be comfortable having the librarian look over their shoulder constantly and I really don’t think they have the time or the logistics to make monitoring by library employees feasible.

Not only that, but the American Library Association has spent millions of dollars fighting porn filters at the national level. They are on record as saying that porn filters are an infringement on first amendment rights. On their website they stated “The ALA today expressed disappointment in today’s very narrow decision (6-3) from the US Supreme Court upholding the Children’s Internet Protection Act.” After a statement like that, do we really want them to tell us, “Honest, you can trust us to monitor these computers ourselves?”

As far as the cost for filters goes, 60% of the state’s libraries already use porn filters, somehow they were able to afford the cost. Certainly the other 40% can.

Filters are used successfully in many places. Many employers use filters, including the state of Alaska. We need to decide what kind of places we want our libraries to become. A safe place where people of all ages can get information or a good book or do we want them to become places where those wishing to view hard porn or even child pornography can come knowing that their sordid trail leads not to a computer registered to their name but to a public computer. This is not an issue of free speech; patrons can easily ask the librarian to turn off the filter if they wish.

Monitoring by librarians is not enough. HB353 needs to be restored to the original language to require filters to be put in place and passed immediately.

1 Comments:

At April 02, 2008 9:08 AM, Blogger SafeLibraries.org said...

I have been collecting links to resources on HB353 that I just hyperlinked.

Generally, you may be interested in my page on State & City CIPA Laws.

 

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