Friday, May 23, 2008

Refusing To Protect Children

I recall reading that before the Internet came into existence, access to p()rn had been greatly reduced. Good citizens rose up and fought to get the p()rn shops out of their communities. However, once the Internet boom happened, p()rn availability and access exploded. Ever since, sexual crimes against children have risen exponentially.

I know the arguments of the other side. Free speech and all of that. However, there ARE STILL p()rn laws that should, and must be observed and enforced.

I could not believe this next story. Now, I have heard of the battle against Internet p()rn access at libraries before. However, when CCF President, Randy Thomasson met with the Sacramento Library board and told them the following:


Thomasson told the board that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decision (PDF) upholding the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) means the Sacramento library can institute a zero-tolerance p()rnography policy without violating the First Amendment. “You don’t need battling attorneys to tell you what the law says,” he told the library board. “Just read the U.S. Supreme Court decision which says a library is not a public forum and that libraries don’t have to provide any p()rnography unless they want to.”


I could not believe that the 14 member board deadlocked in a 7 to 7 vote!! Because of the deadlock, Sacramento libraries are still operating like p()rn parlors!

What is wrong with these seven adults who refused to vote to protect children from p()rn and the predators that often result from viewing such disgusting material? It is just unfathomable to me that anyone would side with that despicable organization called the ACLU against the decision given by the U.S. Supreme Court to give libraries the ability to block sexually-explicit web sites in libraries.

What about the children?? That's my question!! Perverts can go get their own computers and access such filth at home. This is astoundingly ridiculous!! And very dangerous...especially for children and women!! They are usually the victims of p()rn addicts who act out their revolting fantasies when just watching it no longer satisfies.

CCF:

There's more evidence that government's lack of moral standards are making public schools, public colleges, and public libraries increasingly unsafe for children and young adults. The news from the past week should convince us all that pro-family persons of faith should be in charge of schools and libraries to guard and protect children and adults alike.

Home-made bomb explodes a Chico junior high school
Four teens arrested for exploding pipe bomb at Hanford high school
Gang warfare erupts and police squad called in at L.A. high school
Third graders in Pennsylvania trained to see transsexuality as natural
76 San Diego college students arrested for illegal drugs
Homosexual sex offender rapes boy in Massachusetts library


There are far more reasons to block such awful material than just the few examples in the links above.

CCF:

Thomasson provided the 14 board members with the no-p()rn policy and procedures of the Monroe County Library System in Rochester, New York. “Libraries should adopt this model policy that uses the latest technology to block sexually-explicit web sites, but still allows for bona fide research,” he said.

Reference librarian Gerald Ward, who has worked the last 18 years for the Sacramento Public Library, told the board that all the pornography and sexual behavior he has seen at the library is sickening. “I have images locked in my head that I can’t get rid of,” said Ward, “because the current policy allows any adult to view any kind of p()rnography. The library cannot allow p()rnography on its premises and continue to present itself as a safe and healthy place. The board has a legal and moral responsibility to prohibit people from using library computers to view p()rnographic images.”


If you have the means and are able to donate to CCF (Campaign for Children and Families), please go to the website and donate all that you can. ANY amount will help this worthy organization to continue their much needed work here in California for the sake of our children and grandchildren!

Donate to CCF

CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (CCF) is a leading West Coast pro-family organization empowering citizens to live out their values.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a librarian, I am STRONGLY opposed to internet filtering in our public libraries. This requirement forces librarians to become censors and determine what constitutes pornography, and what does not. Even more troubling, CIPA endangers the ability of adolescents to seek out health information -- including mental health, safer sex, and teen pregnancy resources. The current filtering products are horribly insufficient, they will typically block access to everything from breast cancer information to the Democratic National Party (I'm NOT making this up!!).

If you believe in the first amendment and liberty, you need to oppose CIPA and other internet filtering. Force parents to supervise their children and allow librarians to work as librarians.

SafeLibraries.org said...

More pure propaganda from another "anonymous" person. I mean totally false 100%. See what I mean by reading US v. ALA and also ACLU v. Gonzales.

These people won't give up until everyone believes the law and the courts are wrong and unlimited p()rn in public libraries is available everywhere to everyone. Quoting now, "(I'm NOT making this up!!)" Yes, you are. Or you are only aware of outdated information. Either way, your authority is seriously degraded by your false or outdated statements.

I fail to understand why people like you cannot attempt to argue for p()rn based on anything other than false or outdated information. I suspect it is because the US Supreme Court and other courts have already addressed the issues and have proven them to be legally and factually wrong. So I guess false and old information is your only method of trying to force your "moral world-view" on others:

"The ... elites have convinced themselves that they are taking a stand against cultural tyranny. .... [T]he reality is that it is those who cry 'Censorship!' the loudest who are the ones trying to stifle speech and force their moral world-view on others."

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm a director of a major public library system and have published a number of articles on this very issue. I've worked with programmers who work for the filtering companies, spoke with youth groups, and continue to work with our professional organizations such as the ALA. I've testified before the California Legislature as an expert witness of the effects of filtering on public libraries.

I'm sure you are quite familiar with the effectiveness of commercial filtering products. As such, you realize that these products significantly "overblock" access to materials ranging from health information to safer sex materials. This significantly impacts the ability of young people to access vital health information.

Regarding the Supreme Court, the ruling on USA v. CIPA (http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/02pdf/02-361.pdf) had a number of caveats for filtering to remain constitutional. The Court found that filtering products may not "overblock" and that access to non-obscene materials must be permitted as quickly, and easily, as possible. The Court also expressed serious concern about the chilling effect these products have on the intellectual freedom of adults.

Now that you know that I am a practicing librarian who works with this issue, may I ask about your expertise on this?

Thanks!

SafeLibraries.org said...

This is sweet. Anonymous's response to me is to put out the chest, show me all the medals on it, then ask me to show my medals. The reliance on ad hominem argument is a sure sign someone knows his arguments are weak.

That gets confirmed when this "director of a major library system" claims to have done a whole pile of wonderful things including being an expert witness, only to get the name of the case wrong. It's not US v. CIPA.

Then the "expert" goes on to mischaracterize the case further, although this time some information was generally accurate -- likely as a result of my initial post that anonymous's first comment was totally false.

And, ACLU v. Gonzales is never addressed. Likely because the same false information in the first comment is repeated here in the second comment, only in different wording. It would be hard to discuss that case and still claim the false information, so I understand why anonymous left it out.

I would love to know who you are. I think your community would like to know how beholden you are to ALA propaganda and the technique of ad hominem argument.

Anonymous said...

Oooops, there is a typo in the party names there. My apologies. For the record, I testified not on the CIPA case, but on internet filtering in California libraries.

I noticed you didn't answer my question. Are you a librarian? Constitutional lawyer? What is your expertise on this issue?

In another striking irony, I tried to visit this blog while here at work in my library. Our commercial internet filtering product blocks it has it contains the words "homosexual" and "lesbian" -- both of which are on the keyword blocking list. So, just so you know, this entire conversation is being blocked to many users of our nation's public libraries. Certainly a number of adults who would like to access this blog at a public library are not going to bother asking a librarian to turn the software off.

Regarding ad hominem attacks, I merely asked for your background on this issue. I have supreme confidence in my arguments and utter faith in the ability of our first amendment to withstand challenges posed by groups such as safelibraries.org who advocate censorship in our country's libraries.

Anne Turner
Santa Cruz Public Library System

SafeLibraries.org said...

Okay, now that we know who you are, let's try to have a conversation based on the issues, not on our personalities.

I find that a significant percentage of the work I do is blocked by one filter or another and that is quite ironic given what I do. However, and I'll discuss it, as the ACLU expert in ACLU v. Gonzales determined, and as the court agreed, filters no longer block out health-related information. So our blogging and using the words we have should not result in blocking. If they do then 1) I can understand why you are opposed to filtering, 2) I agree with your opposition to that kind of filtering, 3) your filtering sounds old fashioned and not up to current standards or is not being applied up to current standards, and 4) consideration should be given to scrapping your current filtering and replacing it with one that is essentially ACLU-approved.

You see, I am not for censorship. It is easy for people like you to cast me in that light in an effort to minimize my statements and cast me in a bad light. So your ad hominem remarks have continued unabated. You are so clever in your ad hominem arguments that while in one sentence you imply you did not use such an argument, in the next sentence you say I "advocate censorship in our country's libraries."

The truth is that I oppose censorship. The truth is that the use of filters as described in US v. ALA and ACLU v. Gonzales is, by law, not censorship, and I am suggesting communities follow those cases. The truth is that I assist communities in learning that modern filtering solutions and the laws and legal cases that support them provide filtering solutions that do not censor. The truth is that if communities could see past the misinformation library directors such as yourself provide, if they can see past the mud you are slinging, they might demand that legal, constitutionally approved filters be used to keep the library free of the very material the law that created the library precludes from the library in the first place. And the local government should be enforcing that law instead of allowing libraries to run afoul of the law.

People like you are radicals, not people interested in stopping you from defying local law, court cases, community standards, and just plain old common sense in a manner that results in community after community in harm to children, patrons generally, and even the librarians themselves. Shouting censorship is a cute trick that works here and there, but it is used so often that people are starting to see through it, and I'm helping them wherever I can. The ALA's de facto leader even called one community racist because the public school material containing bestiality, among other things, that they opposed happened to have been written by a person with a darker skin.

You see, it is people like you who, knowingly or unknowingly, follow ALA diktat and defy local library law to allow anything, absolutely anything, using absolutely any excuse, and screaming censorship if someone is aware of your tactics and speaks up. Indeed that is exactly what you have done here, repeatedly drawing attention to me personally instead of to the issues.

I don't want filters in your library or any library. Indeed nobody cares what I want, nor should they. But I do have every right to get out a message, and that message is that the one-sided "information" people like you provide is totally without factual or legal support. In community after community, when people realize that, they demand an end to the lies. And when that misinformation is flat out in defiance of the law, it becomes propaganda.

Hartford, CT, is the latest case. The police chief had to use the media to go over the heads of the library to tell the people to call the police when library crime occurs. The librarians themselves had to go public with the crimes because library management refused to respect local law. You see the library convinced people that library crimes are acceptable in exchange for protecting the First Amendment. Eleven year old raped? Oh well, at least the rights of the criminal to view p()rn on an unfiltered computer were protected, if that's the actual cause. You see so much crime occurs there that crimes are just par for the course.

So, Anne Turner, the summary of this is that you have exposed to the Santa Cruz community that 1) your filtering system or method of its operation is not the latest and the greatest and consideration should be given to its replacement, 2) you use propaganda to get people to think what you want them to think, and you do so cleverly, 3) you use ad hominem argument to bully people into looking askance at anyone who opposes your rule over local law and more, all the while implying you do not, and 4) Santa Cruz residents are not being fully protected by the law when someone who opposes the law is the director of that library and acts accordingly.

In short, if I were a Santa Cruz resident, I would see to it that either you are required to follow the law or that you are replaced with someone who keeps the public trust instead of the ALA's agenda.

But, to further illustrate what I have said here, please publish here the citation to and full text of the library enabling document for the Santa Cruz Public Library System. Whether by statute or ordinance or charter or other means, the library was created by an act of law. Please publish the citation to that law, perhaps even a URL, and the relevant sections of that law that explain exactly what the library is created to do and not to do. The people of Santa Cruz can then compare that wording to what is the current situation in their own public library. It is a public library after all, not an ALA library. That wording will settle the issues raised here and may result in improved library services for Santa Cruz.

Anonymous said...

If you are familiar with these filtering products you know how poorly they function. The rate of "overblocking" (and "underblocking") is still substantial. As you admitted, this blog, and many others, will be blocked by commercial filtering software because of words here that appear on a keyword blocking list.

To have both adolescents, and adults, ask a librarian to turn off the software when it is blocking a non-pornographic website has a clear chilling effect. Patrons who are looking for safer sex information, mental health resources, or local teen pregnancy resources will NOT ask a librarian to turn off the filter.

Even apart from "overblocking" these filtering products do not even live up to their expectations. Users can still view explicit content and many sites are permitted which shouldn't be. As you know, this is called "underblocking" and is yet another reason why filters do not live up to their promises.

Ultimately, the solution to this issue is to require parents to supervise their children. Librarians are NOT babysitters and should not be expected to supervise children at all times. This expectation is not reasonable, nor feasible. If you want to protect your children from materials you find objectionable SUPERVISE THEM. I instruct our librarians to call the police when parents drop their young children off unattended at the library.

Simply stated, filtering does not work. I don't deny that problems exist (indeed how can we have information access and NOT have problems) but this "solution" does not even come close to addressing the problem. In fact, it simply makes thing worse.

SafeLibraries.org said...

You say, "To have both adolescents, and adults, ask a librarian to turn off the software when it is blocking a non-pornographic website has a clear chilling effect." That simply does not square with the experiences of libraries that have filters. So factually you are incorrect. Further, the US Supreme Court already addressed that very issue in US v. ALA. The Court said embarrassment is no reason not to have filters. So legally you are wrong.

Specifically, the Court said, "The District Court viewed unblocking and disabling as inadequate because some patrons may be too embarrassed to request them. 201 F. Supp. 2d, at 411. But the Constitution does not guarantee the right to acquire information at a public library without any risk of embarrassment."

So despite my pointing out in past posts how you are misleading people factually and legally, you charge ahead with additional propaganda. You claimed to be the expert here. You are the expert witness. You claimed specific knowledge of US v. ALA. How you can conveniently forget what the Court said and talk in public as if US v. ALA doesn't exist is beyond me. This is a perfect example of the pure propaganda you transmit. It keeps Santa Cruz dumb about the law and the facts and gets the community to accede to your wishes thinking it was their own wishes. This propaganda technique called "conversion."

To ensure your propaganda takes root, you begin to yell at me, "SUPERVISE THEM." Capital letters signifies yelling in the online world--naturally you have not raised your actual voice. You yell about something totally separate and apart from the law or what we have been discussing.

Of course parents should supervise their children. That does not free the library from the requirement of adhering to the library's enabling statute that you have not posted here as I requested. I ask again, post it. Parents supervising children does not mean US v. ALA and ACLU v. Gonzales need not guide a public library, and it does not mean Internet filters are not needed.

Ah filters. That's your goal. Go after the filters. If dancing elephants were the best and legal method of compliance with the law blocking access to p()rn in public libraries, you would go after them. But it is filters you go after because, are you sitting down? They work! You, however, say, "Simply stated, filtering does not work." That's nice to hear from the very person who claims to be an expert then misleads people as to the law and the facts. Are we supposed to believe you now?

You say filters "simply makes thing worse." Right, worse for you and other ALA acolytes.

Christinewjc said...

I have been reading this ongoing dialogue and have learned a great deal. Thank you for sharing your expertise, safelibraries.org.

I was hopeful when I learned that the court sided with protection for children by deeming that the "embarrassment" of p()rn viewers re: the filtering isn't a legitimate excuse not to filter.

And, Anonymous's argument about "supervising children" at the library is weak. I heard of a case where a child was sexually abused by a predator in a library, just a few feet away from the child's mother!

What is wrong with our culture today? Why is licentious, immoral, and downright disgusting behavior being "protected" by groups like the A CLUeless at the expense of our precious children? What is especially egregious about all of this is that libraries USED to be considered a safe place for children to visit. Not anymore! It's awful and absolutely shameful!

These disgusting p()rn addicts should just go to the sleezy internet cafes and indulge themselves to their black hearts' content...

BUT LEAVE OUR CHILDREN IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES ALONE!!

If p()rn addicts have more difficulty (and...embarrassment? That's truly comical!) accessing their filthy material at libraries...so be it!

GOOD!

Go someplace else!!

Our libraries and our children will be safer for it!

Christinewjc said...

Safelibraries -

Thanks for the tip to use ellipses when spelling that offensive word. I am going to remember that technique. In the past, when I have created posts on h()mosexual egregious behavior at their ()rgies in S.F., h()mosexual p()rn links to my site came up at technorati.

Anonymous said...

Christine,

This will be my last post on this topic. You rejected my response yesterday so I don't expect you to allow this one either.

That ellipses can circumvent filtering software should be make it utterly clear that filtering software does not do what is expected. If a punctuation mark can get around the software what do you expect from tech-savvy adolescents? I have decades of experience in public libraries and I can assure you that if you want to know the best way to get around internet filters (or other censorship) is to ask a typical teenager. They know how to do it.

It's a pity that most commercial filters are blocking your blog. I'm sure there are library patrons who would like to read this discussion but they are prevented from doing so (unless, as safelibraries.org advocates, they ask the library director in writing to view this website).

Also, you post above seems to be confused as to what CIPA requires. Adults can freely ask the library staff to turn off filtering. CIPA only applies to adolescents. Adult men can continue using a public library with internet filters to view pornography. CIPA does nothing to address that. Of course, the best way to deal with the issue of adults looking at porn in the library is to have them arrested for their sex crimes, registered as sex offenders, and then banned from the library. That is MUCH more effective than internet filters. ;)

Christinewjc said...

Anonymous,

I didn't reject any comments from you yesterday. Are you sure that you published it?

I'm sure that you are correct about teenagers knowing how to get around filters. My main concern is for younger children.

Personally, I think that access to any kind of porn should be banned from the libraries...period. It has absolutely no redeeming value. There has got to be ways to do this. However, I think that the will to get it done is weaker than the way it can be done.

Since there are virus protections that work very well (of course, nothing is 100%), then there should be porn site protection capabilities as well. I'm not that tech savvy. But hopefully, there is an inventor out there that could do it.

If hotels have the freedom to choose to eliminate access to porn, then so should the libraries. I vote for permanent filtering. Of course, that is just my own opinion on the matter.

BTW, there are books in the library that can give info on sexual health matters, too. So I think that is a weak argument. Reliable sites (like Web MD) would most likely keep the sexual health matters in check and away from the porn industry filth, so I don't see the connection that you seem to make about all sexual health information being filtered.

Anonymous said...

Christine,

I strongly recommend that you visit a public library with internet filtering and experiment with what is blocked. I'm confident you will be surprised with the results.

When we last experimented with the latest products last year we found that filtering software was continuing to block access to websites which discussed teen puberty, breast cancer, safer sex, teen pregnancy, and mental health resources. If the word "breast" appears on a WebMD page, it is quite likely that the filtering product will block it.

I think you may be slightly confused about the motivation among librarians on this issue. Librarians do not want to provide access to porn to their patrons. Quite the contrary, we want libraries to be places where patrons can find relevant information without hindrance or censorship. Librarians do not want to take on the roles of parents, or censors, deciding what is best for their patrons. We strongly believe that parents, and adult patrons, should be making those decisions themselves.

Comparing internet filtering products with anti-virus software is a poor analogy. ALL viruses are destructive. Not all images or text on the Internet are objectionable, and the standards used are subjective. Some people may feel that nudity in Greek sculptures are objectionable, while others view them as art. The responsibility of libraries is to ensure that all members of a community have access to information and that their diverse perspectives and opinions are reflected in collection development decisions.

SafeLibraries.org said...

Christinewjc:

Anonymous's propaganda does not stop even when I quote directly from US v. ALA. She says, "That ellipses can circumvent filtering software should be make it utterly clear that filtering software does not do what is expected. If a punctuation mark can get around the software what do you expect from tech-savvy adolescents?" The filters in blog posts are totally different than filters in libraries. She knows it, but she also knows she can fool a lot of people.

Then she slips in the doozey: "CIPA only applies to adolescents. Adult men can continue using a public library with internet filters to view p()rnography." False! This is like the big lie told often enough. In the very next sentence she compounds her propaganda. "CIPA does nothing to address that." And like all really good propaganda, this is true but it is not the whole truth. The whole truth is in what the Court said on this very issue in US v. ALA, and it is the exact opposite of what this propagandist is saying! Are we supposed to believe this agenda-driving woman shown here to be blatantly lying, or are we to believe the US Supreme Court?

She even makes statements that contradict her previous statements--and this is supposed to be an expert witness? "Of course, the best way to deal with the issue of adults looking at p()rn in the library is to have them arrested for their s()x crimes, registered as s()x offenders, and then banned from the library." So first she says men can view p()rn in public libraries, then she says those same men should be arrested! This is truly shocking to me--her false assertions then her own contradictions of her own false assertions.

Speaking of false assertions, an expert witness is supposed to measure the evidence then provide an accurate assessment. Not Anonymous, she goes right after you for blocking her comments. Well two of my comments never made it to the light of day either, and it was right about the same time. Her nasty comments to you are totally without any basis in fact, but that does not seem to stop her.

Her followup comment to your response is so filled with pure baloney that I don't want to respond out of exhaustion, and it still ignores ACLU v. Gonzales and US v. ALA. See why repeating the big lie loud enough and often enough works?

Now you said, "However, I think that the will to get it done is weaker than the way it can be done." You are correct and you hit the propaganda nail on the head. The whole purpose of the propaganda is to destroy the will to do what's right. That propaganda technique is called "jamming." That is what this Santa Cruz library director is doing by repeatedly ignoring the law (ACLU v. Gonzales & US v. ALA for starters) despite direct requests for her to republish here some of the law, then cruising straight ahead with the same and new false information again and again and again.

Someone should contact Santa Cruz. This lady's actions and whether they comport with the communities wishes after the community has been deprogrammed need to considered. If it is decided she is acting on behalf of herself or the ALA and not the community, she should be shown the door, and any recommendation for future work should include where her allegiance lies.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Safelibraries,

I really appreciate your comments here, alerting me to the lies, propaganda and jamming techiques being used by opponents of filtering out filth at libraries.

I am sorry to learn that two of your comments didn't get posted. I have not seen them. They did not even appear in the moderation bin. Therefore, they were not deleted. I wonder why that is happening?

You wrote:

"The whole purpose of the propaganda is to destroy the will to do what's right."

Yep...precisely as I had surmised when I first posted about this issue!

Thanks again. You are doing a marvelous job standing up for the truth!