Wednesday, November 27, 2013

ALA Misleads on Internet Pornography in Libraries

Internet pornography in public libraries is a serious problem.  The American Library Association [ALA] misleads media and communities into allowing porn by intentionally ignoring the issue or by saying porn is protected by the First Amendment when that is not true in public libraries.  See US v. ALA, 539 US 194 (2003).  ALA is attempting to make an end run around the law by not discussing the elephant in the room, namely, pornography.  When ALA does discuss pornography, it is to say it may not be blocked from libraries.  But people are starting to catch on, as we shall see.

ALA Completely Omits Pornography

Watch the top leaders in ALA's "Office for Intellectual Freedom" speak at an Orland Park Public Library [OPPL] library board meeting about the problem of so much unfettered porn that even Saturday Night Live starring Lady Gaga joked about it.  Notice not once is pornography mentioned.  But they repeatedly mention they have attorneys who will assist libraries, and definitely do not take any legal advice from anyone else:

Watch Sexually Harassed OPPL Librarian Emphasize Pornography

Contrast ALA's lack of mentioning pornography with the words of a former OPPL librarian.  Linda Zec reveals the extent of the pornography problem at OPPL, the "creepy" sexual harassment she experienced as a result, and how library management told her she could quit if she wanted because OPPL would continue to make porn available to patrons under the ALA's false claim that it is a First Amendment right:

ALA's Omits Pornography, But Is It Intentional?

The US Supreme Court makes pornography the issue in US v. ALA.  A sexually harassed librarian at OPPL makes porn the issue.  On the other hand, top ALA leadership completely avoids the issue and advises, despite being from the "Office for Intellectual Freedom," not to listen to attorneys who do discuss the issue, as we saw above.  But are ALA's actions in misleading the media and the community intentional?  Yes.

ALA Advises Libraries to Mislead Media and Communities

ALA advises libraries to mislead media and communities by intentionally refusing to answer questions about pornography then reframing them as something else.  When asked a tough question, a librarian, trained by ALA diktat, will change the topic to how wonderful is the library:
  • "Libraries and the Internet Toolkit: Crisis Communications," by ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 29 May 2007:
    Reframe a question such as 'Why do you think students should be allowed to view pornography on the Internet?' to 'You're asking me about our Internet policy...'
    Avoid use of negative or inflammatory words such as "pornography."

No, that's not what media are asking.  That's not what communities are asking.  Obviously a library that answers this way has something to hide, especially where it refuses to discuss the very issue central to US v. ALA and similar cases such as Bradburn v. NCRL that allows libraries to refuse to unblock porn even upon request.

OPPL Obeys ALA Diktat to Mislead Media

But do libraries actually follow ALA diktat to mislead on porn?  Absolutely.  Look at what OPPL was asked on WLS's Bruce and Dan Show, then observe how well the OPPL representative follows ALA diktat to reframe questions to avoid discussing porn and instead promote Internet policy:
Dan Proft: What?  Wait, oh okay.  So why don't you have filters on the computers that adults have access to?    
Bridget Bittman: Well, let me explain also that on our teen computers, that consist of kids who use it from ages, uh, probably around 12, 13 to the age of 17, those computers are filtered as well.  Because we feel that those safety measures for kids are very important. In addition to parents supervising whatever they look at online.  And we also recommended that parents take a look at what their kids are checking out…  (overtalk)   
So OPPL follows ALA diktat to mislead media to a tee.  Here are sources for the above:

When ALA Does Talk About Pornography, It Is to Say the Exact Opposite of the Holding of US v. ALA, Further Showing ALA Works to Mislead Communities and Push Porn

When ALA does discuss pornography head on, it is to say the exact opposite of the holding of US v. ALA, further showing ALA works to mislead communities and push porn.  You cannot advise the exact opposite of a US Supreme Court case you yourself lost, and advise not to listen to those who cite the case to support filtering out porn, and not be considered as pushing porn.

I am directly responsible for forcing ALA to finally address the issue of pornography in libraries and to make what amounts to admissions against interest.  I was quoted in the Chicago Tribune in the OPPL matter saying no library has even been sued for blocking porn.  As a result, the following was published:
That must have struck a nerve because ALA felt the need to respond to "correct" "several factual inaccuracies," like my assertions as reported by Mr. O'Connor that a lack of filters sometimes results in sexually harassed librarians and resultant lawsuits:
Therein, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the ALA attorney who spoke at OPPL as discussed above, said, "CIPA does not require libraries that accept e-rate discounts to filter 'pornography.'"  "Notably, materials some consider 'pornographic' or 'indecent' do not meet the standard for obscene material and are thus fully protected by the First Amendment. "

So when ALA talks about pornography, finally, thanks to me, it is to say CIPA, the Children's Internet Protection Act found constitutional in US v. ALA, does not require filtering out porn, which is true, and porn is not obscene so it is protected in libraries by the First Amendment, which is false.

The US Supreme Court case finding CIPA to be constitutional interpreted the law as enabling the blocking of pornography, not just obscenity nor child pornography that the Court had addressed in prior decades.  The Court would not have taken the case in the first place if it was only to repeat what it had decided in the past.  So what ALA is misleading people into thinking is exactly the 100% opposite of what US v. ALA ruled.  It doesn't make sense to have a law and a Supreme Court decision ruling on that law to decide what was already decided about obscenity in a previous Supreme Court case in 1973.  Read US v. ALA, 539 US 194 (2003) ( ).  Read what the CIPA author said about how ALA misleads people on the law ).  Yes, I am named by CIPA's author as a "trusted source" for exposing ALA propaganda, so all inquiries are welcome despite ALA warnings not to speak to other attorneys.

Where does US v. ALA rule that, as the ALA attorney said, "materials some consider 'pornographic' or 'indecent' do not meet the standard for obscene material and are thus fully protected by the First Amendment"?  Nowhere.  Instead it ruled, with respect to Internet pornography, "public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights."   In public libraries, the First Amendment right to "legal" porn does not apply.  It is perfectly legal to block porn in public libraries and to keep it blocked.  It is no coincidence ALA advises people to speak only to ALA recommended attorneys and no one else.

ALA Claims First Amendment Right to Porn But Does Not Disclose US v. ALA Created an Exception for Public Libraries

Further, the entire US v. ALA case was about porn.  The entire case looked at the history of libraries blocking out porn and found that they always have.  The case said you can legally use filters to block porn without having to make individualized decisions, obviating ALA's "who's to judge what's porn" argument.  The case ruled public libraries are not open public fora so governments have every right to block out porn without violating the First Amendment.  Not just obscenity, not just child pornography, things already made illegal in other cases from the past that ALA cites to mislead.  But the entire category of porn, both "legal" porn and "illegal" obscenity and child pornography.

US v. ALA said, "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."  It does not say only obscenity.  It does not say only child pornography.  It says pornography.  US v. ALA holds, "public libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights."  ALA holds "materials some consider 'pornographic' or 'indecent' do not meet the standard for obscene material and are thus fully protected by the First Amendment."  Perhaps generally, but not specifically in a public library, thanks to CIPA and US v. ALA.

By the way, under US v. ALA, libraries may legally filter out porn whether or not they accept federal funding.  That is another point about which ALA misleads.  In reality, every library may use filters to legally block porn.  It is common sense and it is the law.  The case also says "privacy screens" or moving computers do not work to control porn and actually make the problem worse.  So be aware of that when ALA or local acolytes suggest that or other useless options such as so-called Acceptable Use Policies.

Not Everyone Is Fooled by ALA Propaganda

Not everyone is falling for ALA's propaganda.  Megan Fox is an OPPL patron who has been working hard to expose the library's unlimited porn policy and unreported sex crimes.  In her latest post, she called out ALA for "defend[ing] the library's decision to offer unfiltered access while never mentioning the specifics of what that really means: access to bestiality, necrophilia, sex trafficked victims of rape, identity theft, pedophiles accessing children online via chat rooms and much more":

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Esq.
And John Kass of the Chicago Tribune notes families will be shocked in libraries that follow ALA's law-defying policy: "Specifically, sexually excited human animals, predominantly male, operating under the belief they are protected by the First Amendment, watch[] pornography at the Chicago Public Library and other libraries, in full view of patrons."  When ALA says libraries may not block legal porn, he calls out the lie:
  • "Libraries Are For Free Books, Not Free Porn," by John Kass, Chicago Tribune, 5 November 2013:
    Deborah Caldwell Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, said Internet filters are placed on computers used by children.  But with adults, it's different.

    "Libraries can only do so much when accessing content that isn't illegal," Stone said.

    Really?  Then taxpayers should help by doing a bit more, like refusing to allow one cent to go to libraries that don't have any common sense.


In conclusion, Internet pornography in public libraries is a serious problem.  ALA intentionally misleads media and communities so porn will not be filtered out despite the law.  But citizens and media sources are no longer falling for the usual ALA misdirection.  Not even on ALA's home turf in Chicago.  It is time for others to take notice as well.  The best antidote is to read US v. ALA, the very case ALA works hard to get people to ignore.  See also Bradburn v. NCRL.  Feel free to contact me despite ALA admonitions to contact only ALA recommended attorneys—besides, I'm recommended by CIPA's author Ernest Istook as a "trusted source" and I will provide better/truthful advice.

On Twitter:  @BruceAndDan @ChicagoTribune @IntolerantFox @Istook @John_Kass @OIF @OrlandPkLibrary @VillageOrlandPk @WLSAM890

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Dan. This is very helpful. Thanks for all you do


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