dear jeff payne,|
hopefully these 475 words are on time:
royal oak needs accurate information to make decisions about public library policy, particularly internet filtering. unfortunately, the american library association [ala] has brought one its it big guns to bear on the community, and the information she provides is inaccurate and misleading, as reported in "library p*rn incident prompts call for filters."
"'filters are not perfect. they all over-block or under-block,' said deborah caldwell-stone, deputy director of the ala's office for intellectual freedom." right, but it is misleading because the us supreme court has already asked and answered that in the 2003 case of us v. ala. the court recognized filters will never be perfect and allowed a simple means to get around this, namely, disabling the filter or unblocking the single web site.
"'with filters you think you're doing something good, but you hand off part of your library collection to a private company that often has an agenda,' caldwell-stone said." here's a third party, the ala, complaining about the "agenda" of another third party, the filtering companies, all the while exerting its own agenda. i think new york's mayor koch would call this "chutzpah." further, this is another issue already asked and answered by the us supreme court in us v. ala.
the ala representative then cites a six year old study that filters are not good. that ignores aclu v. gonzales from 2007 where even the aclu found filters over 95% effective without blocking health-related sites.
"filters give a false dichotomy. ..... it's a false sense of protection.'" everybody in the whole world knows, and the us supreme court acknowledged, that filters will never be perfect. since filters are known not to be perfect, how is it possible people will get a "false sense of protection"? it's a reason to ignore us v. ala and the protections it provides because someone might get a "false sense"?
the real issue us one not disclosed by the media or the librarians. yes, libraries are often given autonomy from governmental intervention and can do anything that falls within the bounds of a library's enabling instrument. but what if the library acts outside the law or "ultra vires"? if that is the case, then the government may legally intervene to ensure the library acts within the bounds of the library's enabling instrument. in fact it has a duty to intervene in such an instance. depending on the library's enabling instrument, that duty applies in royal oak and internet filtering may be used to enforce compliance.
the royal oak government may have the means to act on its citizens behalf to prevent a library board and director from acting outside the law. given the state of the law and the facts as they exist now, i urge royal oak citizens to support their government in seeking to filter all public library computers.
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