Saturday, May 31, 2008

Demonstration Proves Library Filters Work; San Jose Councilman Pete Constant Counters Library Director's False Claims

San Jose (CA) Councilman Pete Constant, aware that San Jose Public Library Director Jane Light is propagandizing to try to prevent using legal Internet filtering software when she says filters do not work, decided to demonstrate publicly that library filters work and do not block health-related web sites. This is exactly as the ACLU expert testified in ACLU v. Gonzales. (Here are more stories on this San Jose matter.)

Sure enough, the demonstration of Websense Internet filtering software worked perfectly. credits Councilman Pete Constant for refusing to be taken in by propaganda and for acting to demonstrate exactly how false are the claims of filtering opponents. Further, credits the media similarly, for seeing through the propaganda, as can be seen clearly in this story, such as when Library Director Jane Light says "so ... avert your eyes" when the vaunted "privacy screens" are proven to be a total failure: "Porn, Sex Crimes At Libraries; I-Team Investigation," KGO, 29 Nov 2006. Let this serve as an example to other governmental leaders and the media not to take what library directors say against filtering at face value.

Here is the news report on the filter demonstration:

"SJ: City Councilman Demonstration Proposed internet Filtering Software for Libraries," AP, 31 May 2008.



San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant gave a presentation today about a brand of Internet filtering software that he believes will effectively filter pornography and other obscene materials at computers in the city's libraries without blocking legitimate uses.

More than a dozen people showed up at a San Jose City Hall conference room to watch Constant use a laptop computer with the Websense filtering software installed successfully to access a number of health and research-related Web sites that he claims filtering opponents have said the software would block. He used the Web site for Planned Parenthood as an example.

"There's a section of the Web site that's about sex education and it's accessible,'' Constant said.

The Websense software is currently being used successfully by the Phoenix, Ariz., public library system and it is also used by the city of San Jose to block pornographic and other obscene Web sites on the computers used by city employees, according to Constant.

San Jose Public Library Director Jane Light has told the City Council that installing filtering software would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars that the library system cannot afford given the city's tight budget situation.

Constant told the audience this afternoon that the City Council is scheduled to discuss the issue on June 17.

(© 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. In the interest of timeliness, this story is fed directly from the Associated Press newswire and may contain occasional typographical errors. )


  1. I have found other articles that provide greater detail. The test results were not absolutely perfect but look at these revelations:

    "Constant also revisited a list of legitimate sites that San Jose's library director previously reported the filter had improperly blocked. Constant said the software was improperly set up in those tests. Using the program as he said it is configured for Phoenix's library, he showed Friday those sites came through unimpeded."

    Wow! The library had the filter settings set too high when it claimed filters are too restrictive!

    And look at this revelation:

    "Critics like Skyler Porras, San Jose director of the American Civil Liberties Union, remained unimpressed and suggested Constant's demo was rigged."

    Wow! The ACLU claimed the demonstration was rigged!

    This is rich! 1) The ACLU expert in ACLU v. Gonzales said filters are about 95% effective and no longer block health-related web sites, yet here the ACLU is claiming results that show exactly that are "rigged"!! 2) And it appears that the library's filtering results used settings that were too high -- rigged!!!

    This is rich! It appears the library may have rigged its results, to use the ACLU's term, while the ACLU accuses Councilman Pete Constant of rigging his results that were demonstrated right in front of the public!!!

    If that does not show the desperation of those opposed to filters, I do not know what does.

    See Anti-Porn Test Not Too Revealing; Mixed Results for Library Filter Tryout, by John Woolfolk, San Jose Mercury News, May 31, 2008.

  2. TO:

    Ben Yurman-Glaser,
    Policy Analyst, Office of Mayor Chuck Reed
    200 E. Santa Clara St., 17th Floor,
    San Jose, CA 95113

    Dear Ben Yurman-Glaser,

    The ACLU and the City Attorney say restricting legal p()rn from the public library may violates people's rights or constitute censorship. [ ] That is legally false. Read US v. ALA [ ]. Do not just accept what you are told to think. Have the Mayor and others read the US Supreme Court decision for themselves.

    Just so you cannot miss it, here are relevant quotes from that case, and they illustrate just how wrong the ACLU, the City Attorney, and Library Director Jane Light really are:

    "Because public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights, CIPA does not induce libraries to violate the Constitution...."

    "Thus, the public forum principles on which the District Court relied are out of place in the context of this case. Internet access in public libraries is neither a 'traditional' nor a 'designated' public forum."

    "Internet terminals are not acquired by a library in order to create a public forum for Web publishers to express themselves. Rather, a library provides such access for the same reasons it offers other library resources: to facilitate research, learning, and recreational pursuits by furnishing materials of requisite and appropriate quality. The fact that a library reviews and affirmatively chooses to acquire every book in its collection, but does not review every Web site that it makes available, is not a constitutionally relevant distinction. The decisions by most libraries to exclude pornography from their print collections are not subjected to heightened scrutiny; it would make little sense to treat libraries' judgments to block online pornography any differently. Moreover, because of the vast quantity of material on the Internet and the rapid pace at which it changes, libraries cannot possibly segregate, item by item, all the Internet material that is appropriate for inclusion from all that is not. While a library could limit its Internet collection to just those sites it found worthwhile, it could do so only at the cost of excluding an enormous amount of valuable information that it lacks the capacity to review. Given that tradeoff, it is entirely reasonable for public libraries to reject that approach and instead exclude certain categories of content, without making individualized judgments that everything made available has requisite and appropriate quality."

    "Concerns over filtering software's tendency to erroneously 'overblock' access to constitutionally protected speech that falls outside the categories software users intend to block are dispelled by the ease with which patrons may have the filtering software disabled."

    "Especially because public libraries have traditionally excluded pornographic material from their other collections, Congress could reasonably impose a parallel limitation on its Internet assistance programs. As the use of filtering software helps to carry out these programs, it is a permissible condition under Rust."

    "Justice Kennedy concluded that if, as the Government represents, a librarian will unblock filtered material or disable the Internet software filter without significant delay on an adult user's request, there is little to this case. There are substantial Government interests at stake here: The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree. Given this interest, and the failure to show that adult library users' access to the material is burdened in any significant degree, the statute is not unconstitutional on its face."

    "The statute's restrictions satisfy these constitutional demands. Its objectives--of restricting access to obscenity, child pornography, and material that is comparably harmful to minors--are 'legitimate,' and indeed often 'compelling.'"

    "No clearly superior or better fitting alternative to Internet software filters has been presented."

    "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."

    I am now making this response public in a comment to my own blog entitled, "Demonstration Proves Library Filters Work; San Jose Councilman Pete Constant Counters Library Director's False Claims" [ ]. If children continue to be molested in the public library because San Jose knew filtering software was legal but hid behind the excuse that it was not or that it was unworkable, and the unfiltered computers were a proximate cause of the molestation, then if plaintiff lawyers find this article, they may use it as evidence for the application of punitive damages. I hereby offer my services in testifying, whenever the next crime against a child occurs, that the City of San Jose was put on notice of the false claims of those who oppose applying legal filtering software.

    Further, the article by John Woolfolk [ ] and my comments in my blog reveal that the library may have "rigged," as the ACLU put it, its library filtering test results, while at the same time the ACLU accused Councilman Pete Constant of rigging his results that he demonstrated to the public. I sense desperation.

    Yes, I'm from out of state and you may ignore me all you want. You may not ignore the US Supreme Court, however, and you may not ignore your own local law that may preclude certain material in the library that may currently be allowed against that law and may be the cause of the numerous molestations, etc. Libraries are free to act autonomously, but only within the scope of the legal instrument that created the library, and no further. If they are acting ultra vires, and if you are aware of this but do nothing to stop it, then you may be exposing the City of San Jose to serious litigation risk, let alone ignoring the safety of the children and others in the face on known, repeated molestations that might be slowed or stopped with Internet filters.

    Your citizens expect leaders, not followers of the American Library Association. It's a "public" library after all, not an ALA satellite library. Read US v. ALA and think for yourselves.


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