or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Filters on Library Computers
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Filters on Library Computers

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
The Supreme Court has approved the use of "Porn Fiters" on Library computers. The argument was that this limited First Amendment Rights (Freedom of Speech/Expression), so no filters should be allowed.

How do you all of you see this?

I'm a bit torn, honestly. Although I certainly agree that porn should not be viewed at a public library (I don't see anyone screaming that libraries don't carry Hustler in their periodicals!), and certainly should not be accessed by children in a library or anywhere else for that matter, the filters concern me. Unless something has drastically changed, many of the filters are very inclusive. One of my friends has kids, and when they put a filter on their daughter's computer (after Kirsten had accidentally pulled up a very nasty website trying to go to a very innocent addy (she immediately called Mom in and told her)), they found that she couldn't even get into the Disney site, or Kirsten's favorite bands' websites (like Backstreet Boys, *Nsynch, Avril Lavine - typical 10 year old girl stuff ). I've also heard that when trying to do research for school projects on legitimate subjects, like breast cancer, they are unable to access sites because of medical terms (in that case "breast"). Is there a happy medium? Or are porn sites just so darn inclusive that you have to block everything? What about the legitimate sites that are blocked because of the filters? Will adults be able to access legitimate research sites?
post #2 of 37
One thing I have heard about porn sites is that some of them can be easily accessed by mistake, and then the person is unable to get back out of the site. Here's one example, if a child doing research for a homework assignment accidently types www. xxxxxxxxxx.com they will get a porn site. If the child types www. xxxxxxxxxx.gov they will get the actual government website.

I haven't had any personal experience with filters, but maybe putting them on library computers will help keep that type of mistake from happening.

Made changes to make sure post will be "family friendly."
post #3 of 37
I saw on the local news tonight that the library filters are supposed to still allow you to get to medical sites, such as those regarding breast cancer, etc. I don't know how the software works exactly with being able to decipher between breast for medical research versus porn material, but that's what it said. The lady from the library that was on the news showed how she could access the medical site, but when she tried to get to a Britney Spears site (through a link with breast..) she couldn't.

She also said that if an adult were to go to the librarian and ask that the filters be shut off while they surf, they would do that for them. She said it was only put on the machines to protect those underage.
post #4 of 37
The Tucson libraries have filtered and unfiltered computers. The unfiltered ones have to be reserved and you only get 1/2 hour. Filtered ones can be used for an hour. The filtered ones won't even let you access e-mail.
post #5 of 37
Sounds like a good solution, Cindy. That was what I was going to post... most libraries have more than one computer, so why not make some accessible only to over 18-year olds?
post #6 of 37
There have been a few incidences of children and women being accosted in the library. While investigating these sexual crimes, it was found out that the accoster had been viewing porn from the library's computer. Why take a chance? Our librarys need to be a safe place.
post #7 of 37
We also need to live by the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. And I speak as a woman who has been raped. I feel for those women and children, but I believe the deterrent should be the criminal code, not denial of our rights.
post #8 of 37
Laurie, I will face that we will never agree on anything political. We are obviously at oposite sides of the specter. I find it interesting that you think people's rights are being infringed on if they can't have their porn at the local library. I will agree to disagree.
post #9 of 37
Nora, I agree, we obviously don't agree on things politically. But I did want to clarify. It's not that I'm "pro-porn" - though I don't think there would be anything wrong with it if I were. It would be my right as a citizen of the US.

But I am pro-constitution. And if porn were illegal, it wouldn't be as widely available on the Internet or on the newstands and bars and clubs of this country as it is. Fortunately or unfortunately, those who wish to participate in the porn industry whether as entertainers or viewers are guaranteed their right to do so by the Constitution under which we, thankfully, live as US Citizens.

So from my perspective, it isn't a moral discussion so much as a legal discussion - and that's the way our country's founders planned it. That was the very heart and sole of the constitution and the way in which our country's government and laws were structured to begin with: To guarantee rights to US citizens regardless of the moral opinions or religious beliefs of some members of the country.
post #10 of 37
We have filtering on all of our computers at school. I can't even access my home email via my ISP's website. It's frustrating, but I understand the need for it. It is so easy to stumble on inappropriate material. When I ran an after school computer club a couple of years ago, it was amazing how many sites the kids couldn't get to.
post #11 of 37
Filters in schools make sense. It isn't a place frequented by the public and 99.5% of kids (if it's a high school) will be under the age of 18. I wonder if they have filters in Colleges?
post #12 of 37
Oh -BTW - I can't access my home e-mail, many websites because of filters, or use Instant Messengers from the office. (...and I wasn't looking for porn, LOL!)
post #13 of 37
Tucson Library policy informs parents that the library does not monitor patrons' web surfing. It is the parents' responsibility to monitor their own children.

Most kids don't use the unfiltered computers, as they are usually doing homework. Fifteen to thirty minutes unfiltered isn't enough time for that.
post #14 of 37
As far as filtered computers in college... I can answer that... Our computers at my college are so locked down, you can't even right-click on the taskbar to close a window, much less in IE or on the desktop. IE is limited pretty much to google search (although I can get to TCS as well) and things like that. We couldn't even access the Disney site the other day.
post #15 of 37
I'm for porn filters on library computers. Once I was in a library last year, and as I was walking through I caught a glimpse of someone on a porn site. It was disgusting and offensive. And I'd like to see our children remain innocent as long as possible.

I've heard the problem of not being able to access other sites isn't as prevelant as thought. And if you do run accross a site you can't access the librarian can assist you and get it going.
post #16 of 37
I don't think people have the "right" to view porn. And especially not in a public place. Even if it is an adult viewing it, there may be an underage individual walking by in a public library. Filter the libraries...and I see nothing wrong with firms placing filters on their computers and keeping their employees from surfing or checking their mail. They don't pay people to send personal emails.

And I do not think that the founding fathers OR mothers, who based so much of our law on morality and Christian ethics, would consider viewing porn at a public library an "inalienable right." I think they would be appalled.
post #17 of 37
kikim - I really don't know if viewing porn in a public library is an "inalienable right" or not. Personally, I think it would be better for our children and "public safety" if porn weren't available in libraries. But my personal beliefs don't take precedence, IMO, over our constitutional rights. Whether access to porn should be made available or not in a government run institution is probably not protected by the Constitution, and in that case, I say ban access to it.

You're right... the first U.S. settlers came to be free of religious persecution. My mother's father's AND mother's ancestors came here because of that. But I beg to differ that our founding fathers and mothers based so much of our law on Christian morality. Yes, our founding fathers wanted to protect the rights of everyone to practice whatever religion they wanted, but for the most part our founding fathers were contraband runners, and the revolution in large part started because of the British taxation of contraband... (liquor & tea). They were fed up of the British breaking into their homes and storehouses, and it was the right to privacy except for REASONABLE suspicion required for search & seizure that was the primary driver of the fight for independence. Not moral imperatives. IMO.
post #18 of 37
I just read that John Adams (one of the signers of the constitution) said he and the others based the consitution on basis that they wanted a Christain nation.

Of course they are no longer with us, so we can't poll each one. However, I do believe we can deem from their writings (such as the John Adams quote) what was intended.
post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 
But if they wanted a Christian nation, why was it so important to separate church and state? (I know the historical answer, with the Crown of England determining what religion the nation had to believe, as well as that denomination determining the laws of the land...)

The Constitution is a living document, that is broad enough to encompass the changes in society and technology and can evolve with us as a nation. Perhaps the Founding Fathers wanted it to be a Christian nation. Pretty easy assumption even without any quotes since all of the colonies were founded by various Christian churches avoiding persecution in England and elsewhere. Does that mean that Freedom of Religion should only be granted to Christians since that is what the Founding Fathers intended? Should Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, etc. have no religious rights?

Most all of the Founding Fathers also kept slaves - should that right have been protected, since that is how they intended it? Should blacks and women never have been allowed to vote because that is indeed what they intended.

This may seem off-topic, but it's the same logic as saying that there should be no access to porn on library computers because they intended it to be a Christian nation.
post #20 of 37
The "founding fathers" DID happen to be Christian... that doesn't mean that they did not want other religions to have freedom, too. But face it, this WAS founded as a Christian nation... have you not noticed that most of our laws are based on the Ten Commandments... That's one of the reasons they are posted on so many courthouses!

We're getting into a lot of moral questions here. haha. About the slavery, I believe many of the founders did have a problem with it, but didn't know how to resolve it.... Some of Jefferson's writings indicate this.

However, this about porn--it is just disgusting anyway, and anyone who wants to see it should do it on their own in the privacy of their home, not in a public place, and not with computers and bandwidth the rest of us pay for. The majority of people do NOT want that out there.
post #21 of 37
Originally posted by kikim@chartertn
However, this about porn--it is just disgusting anyway, and anyone who wants to see it should do it on their own in the privacy of their home, not in a public place, and not with computers and bandwidth the rest of us pay for. The majority of people do NOT want that out there.
I agree that our children should not have easy access to porn, and they should not be exposed to porn in a public place like a library. After all, we control it in our bookstores and convenience stores by selling it to people over a certain age.

The problem I have with the laws that approve "porn filters" is that once the precedent is established in the courts, it may be applied to a broad range of websites. What about a teenager who is just realizing that they are gay and who wants to find a site for support and education? Or a teenaged girl who may be pregnant and who may want to explore all of her options? Or even a young couple who want to become sexually active but want to make sure they are protected? These are the reasons, among many, why I have problems with the government mandating that filters must be put on library computers.
post #22 of 37
There is nothing wrong with medical sites-- and access to information concerning pregnancy or gay support. That has nothing to do with pornography. If those sites are showing things of a salacious nature, they should be filtered too! Pornography has been proven to increase the incidence of rape and other acts of violence. It is a degrading thing, and inherently unhealthy, especially for an immature mind.
post #23 of 37
Originally posted by kikim@chartertn
There is nothing wrong with medical sites-- and access to information concerning pregnancy or gay support. That has nothing to do with pornography. If those sites are showing things of a salacious nature, they should be filtered too! Pornography has been proven to increase the incidence of rape and other acts of violence. It is a degrading thing, and inherently unhealthy, especially for an immature mind.
First off, no one has PROVEN that pornography increases sexual violence. FBI profiler John Douglas has repeatedly said in interviews and his books, that while sexual predators surround themselves with pornography, those who haven't access to it, for example, an underage boy who has thoughts and feelings that may one day prompt him to become a rapist, create their own pornographic stories and drawings. He and other clearly say that a normal man looking for naked boobies is not likely to go out and rape someone the next day just because they were looking at pornographic materials.

Is pornography degrading? That's another discussion, really. Should young children have access to it? Clearly not! However, filters on computers often block the websites that people need, such as their email servers, homework help sites, medical education sites... as it stands, computers aren't "smart" enough to differentiate between an ok site, and one that contains pornography. And then there's the civil issue of adults looking at porn in libraries. I would like to note that if the founding fathers had their way, I as a woman, would be stuck in the kitchen raising a pack of kids. So what they intended isn't necessarily the best thing. They did, however, leave us this nice document that gives us certain freedoms. The question is, how far does that extend? I would say that my personal opinion is that no one should be able to access pornographic materials where a child could stand behind them and look over their shoulder. The only problem is how to police that, as merely leaning on the filters has proven to be heavily flawed.
post #24 of 37
There is nothing wrong, IMO with admiring a nude figure. I only object to degrading poses and anything that represents child porn. I choose not to view any, but that is my choice
post #25 of 37
I have a question, and I'm not asking this to start an arguement, but because I want to know what everyone here thinks.

What do you consider pornography? There is a famous quote which goes something like this "I can't describe it, but I know it when I see it."

Do you consider pornography all sexually explicit material? Nude photographs? Suggestive photographs?

I consider all of these acceptable, but I draw the line at works that humiliate women or that involve children.
post #26 of 37
Christy, it is easier for me to describe what I don't think is pornography. Nudity is fine, and pictures and artwork of nude people can be very beautiful. I love all aspects of the human form. The only things that bother me are pictures depicting graphic or violent acts, acts degrading to the person in the pic, or suggestive child pics. There is nothing wrong showing a pic of your kid playing in the bathtub, as long as you are careful who you show it to.
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
Christy, I think that pornography is really in the eye of the beholder, although I'm sure we can all agree that explicit images of a sex act involving genitalia is most definitely pornography. Case in point: in this current Administration, someone was offended by statues in the capital that depicted nude or partially nude figures in a classic Roman style. They had the statues' "private parts" covered with a cloth drape. (Sorry, I don't remember offhand who did this.)

Point is, to the most conservative any and all depictions of a nude human body could be considered pornography. To a pedophile, the very innocent picture of a child playing in the bath is pornography. To a sadist (such as the ones that Lola is talking about that John Douglas is referencing), even what most would consider "hard core" porn is nothing to them - it doesn't have a sexual affect unless it involves forcible submission and degradation.

Christy, you and Ady bring up a good point....even if the filter were smart enough to pick and choose which websites are in fact porn, whose definition do we use? Would the classic artists like Michelangelo and Botticelli be banned because of their nude depictions? (Trust me, someone would find those a turn on and/or offensive to children)
post #28 of 37
The constitution does not provide for a seperation between church and state. The first amendment to the constitution reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

This is the amendment that people make the argument for separation of church and state. The intent of this law was to protect the people from the government telling them how they must worship, which is why the pilgrims moved from England in the first place. The English government was telling them how they had to worship and were presecuting them because of the way they worshiped. The Constitution authors wanted to make sure that did not happen in America. It was never meant to protect the government from religion.
post #29 of 37
Nora wrote on 07-03-2003 04:02 PM
I just read that John Adams (one of the signers of the constitution) said he and the others based the consitution on basis that they wanted a Christain nation.

Of course they are no longer with us, so we can't poll each one. However, I do believe we can deem from their writings (such as the John Adams quote) what was intended.
Nora, I don't see where you quote John Adams. You're right - they're no longer alive. But they ALL left a very, very large amount of documentation in published works, private letters, etc. Your arguments have challenged me to read some of these.

Whoever you heard was right - John Adams was a very religious man. He was a Unitarian. He was also one of our most important founding fathers. Richard Stockton, the New Jersey delegate to the Second Continental Congress said about him, "The man to whom the country is most indebted for the great measure of independence is John Adams... I call him the Atlas of American independence. He it was who sustained the debate, and by force of his reasoning demonstrated no only the justice, but the expediency of the measure."

He studied law (as did most of our forefathers), graduated from Harvard, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1758. As one of his biographers says (Bradley Thompson)

" ...Despite his extraordinary achievements, Adams has always posed a genuine problem for historians. From the moment he entered public life, he always seemed to travel the road not taken. Americans have rarely seen a political leader of such fierce independence and unyilding integrity...When Adams spoke of moral goodness and right conduct, he most often had in mind the ordinary virtues associated with self-rule. Mastery of oneself for Adams was the indispensible foundation of a worthy life and the end to which virtues like moderation, frugality, fortitude, and industry are directed....A 21-year-old Adams resolved:
to rise with the Sun and to study the Scriptures, on Thursday, Fryday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, and to study some Latin author the other 3 mornings. Noons and Nights I intend to read English Authors. This is my fast Determination, and I will set down every neglect and every compliance iwth this Resolution. May I blush whenever I suffer one hour to pass unimproved.

According to Bradley, "The goal of self-knowledge and self-rule for Adams was rational independence in the fullest sense. He was always demanding of himself that he return to his study to tackle the great treatises and casebooks of the law:

Adams: "Labour to get Ideas of Law, Right, Wrong, Justice, Equity. Search for them in your own mind, in Roman, grecian, french, English Treatises of natural, civil, common, Statute Law. Aim at an exact Knowledge of the Nature, End and Means of Government. Compare the different forms of it with each other and each of them with their Effects on Pulblic and private Happiness. Seneca, and all other good moral Writers. Study Montesquieu, Bolingbroke &c. and all other good, civil Writers."
According to Adams, his revolution-principles "are guided by the principles of justice and virtue learned from Aristotle and Plato, Livy and Cicery, and Sydney and Harrington and Locke. They are the Principles of Nature and Eternal Reason."

He was deeply religious and virtuous.
He wrote (on August 28, 1811)
Religion and virtue are the only foundations, not of republicanism and of all free government, but of social felicity under all government and in all the combinations of human society.
However - we should not make the mistake of confusing his beliefs in religion and virtue with wanting, as you put it, "a Christain nation." That is very, very dangerous thinking.

In 1765, in his Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, John Adams also wrote:

Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man's nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God... Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments.
He also wrote in Thoughts on Government, 1776
It is the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the SUPREME BEING, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping GOD in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.
(My hightlight)

Our other forefathers spoke to this as well.

James Madison said in a speech in the House of Representatives in 1789:

The civil rights of none, shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.
Yes, many of our founding fathers were religious. Yes, the Constitution needed some "definition," and the original 10 amendments were that number because that is the number of commandments. (Just for the record, I'm Jewish, and those same 10 commandments are in my religious texts, so the issue isn't by definition one of "christianity.")

However, James Madison also wrote in his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (Circa June 20, 1785)

It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.
...and this (in the Thomas Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 171782
The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
You may be a Christian, but you do not live in a "Christian Country." One of the most basic principles of our constitution was founded on the works of John Locke, who said

"... freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it. A liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not, not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man ..."
...and that is just what the constitution protects. It outlines our rights and the system by which those rights will be maintained and implemented. It was not designed to impose a moral standard by which we should live. That was never the intent of our founding fathers.

John Adams may have believed that
Statesmen my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand....The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.
(written in a letter to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776)

...but please note he talks of "inspiring" this into "our people" - not legislating it.
post #30 of 37
Nora wrote on 07-07-2003 08:07 AM ...It was never meant to protect the government from religion.
So you're suggesting we should have a Christian government that allows our citizens to practice any religion they want?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: IMO: In My Opinion
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › IMO: In My Opinion › Filters on Library Computers