Sunday, November 9, 2014

Acceptable Use Policies Do Not Work to Stop Library Crime

Acceptable use policies do not work to stop library crime.  Here's another example, this time at Westmont Public Library, Westmont, IL:

Here's that library's "Public Use of the Internet Policy" that precludes pornography, emphasis added:
  • "The Westmont Public Library requires that library patrons using the library computers, wireless networks and/or Internet do so within the guidelines of acceptable use.  The following activities are unacceptable: ... 
Viewing pornography, which is considered by most to be inappropriate for a public setting where minors may be present."

Here's the reality of the total failure of that policy, from the story linked above:
A Westmont man was charged with obscenity and disorderly conduct after he viewed online pornography in the youth services area of his local library, authorities said Thursday. 
Steven Beckow, 42, is accused of browsing the websites on Sept. 4 and 8 while using public computers in plain view at the Westmont Public Library, 428 N. Cass Ave. 
Police Sgt. Steve Thompson said the library terminated Beckow's Internet privileges after the first incident.  Four days later, he said, Beckow returned and was again seen viewing pornography online.
So not only did he blow right past that "acceptable use" policy and lose his "Internet privileges," but he returned within days, automagically regained his "Internet privileges" that were supposedly taken away, then viewed pornography again even though that violated the required "acceptable use" policy.

Can you see how the public is being completely misled by worthless "acceptable use" policies and claims of removing "Internet privileges"?  Internet filters actually work well, but libraries are guided by the American Library Association to instead use worthless "acceptable use" policies: "The position of the ALA ... calls for free and unfettered access to the Internet for any library user, regardless of age."  Is that the position of your community?  Do you want a magnet library for sex crimes?

So while "acceptable use policies" are complete and total failures in stopping criminal activity in public libraries, they are entirely effective in blame/liability shifting and fooling local communities into thinking libraries are responsive to communities instead of to the American Library Association.  Acceptable use policies do not work to stop library crime.

Here is more from me on this topic: Acceptable Use Policies.

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On Twitter: @ALALibrary @OIF @WestmontLibrary

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