Saturday, February 20, 2010

Twin Students of Different Mothers Want Internet Filters

Students want Internet filters.  The common sense of college students must be shocking to the American Library Association [ALA] and its acolytes who oppose filters.  See what Lauren Hood at the University of Florida and Phil Cleary at Gustavus Adolphus College say:

Lauren Hood, the University of Florida student, said:

I see a homeless man, in his sixties, watching porn on the library computers!!!

My mouth literally dropped open and I just stared because I honestly didn’t know how to react; was there really a homeless man watching porn in Library West?  ....

We shouldn’t have to have firewalls and security walking around monitoring our actions....  But when it comes to watching any type of nudity or pornography, there really should be a block in the computer system. ....

Firewalls should be put up so pornography and nudity couldn’t be available on public computers, unless for research purposes.

Source:  "Homeless Man in Library," by Lauren Hood, Chomp Life, 19 February 2010.

Phil Cleary, the Gustavus Adolphus College student, said:

Currently, our Internet-usage policies make no explicit statement regarding pornography. ....

Accordingly, the development of transparent guidelines governing the network usage of campus computers and resources would affirm that Gustavus seeks to provide all students with an environment for learning and living that is both supporting and nurturing.  Therefore, I advocate the implementation of the following two proposals:
  1. Have pornography filters installed on all campus-owned computers.   Public computers in library open space can be exempt from having the software installed to ensure that filtering doesn’t hamper academic research.
  2. Give students the option of installing this software on their personal computers, much in the same manner that students install anti-virus software before accessing the school’s network.  Because this would increase compliance with the intended use of the College’s technology resources of supporting “teaching, learning, research and campus services,” the bandwidth allocation connected to a student’s MAC address could be increased by 50 percent.
Clearly, these proposals are two tangible common-sense campus reforms that are non-invasive, hardly restrictive and would go far in promoting a more positive community in the student body.

Source:  "Internet Policies and Pornography," Phil Cleary, The Gustavian Weekly, 19 February 2010.

Mr. Cleary mysteriously exempts "computers in library open space," likely on the mistaken belief so forcefully promoted by the ALA that filters do not work.  Notice, for example, the ALA cites an old article that filters are "overzealous," but not newer, more authoritative case law showing otherwise.  The cited link from the supposedly authoritative ALA is so old it gives the familiar 404 Not Found error!  The truth is even the ACLU, a co-litigant in US v. ALA, now admits filters are 95% effective and no longer block health-related information.  See ACLU v. Gonzales, E.D. Pa. 2007.  Besides, properly managed filters can be disabled by library staff easily enough.

And I love the suggestion that the college should provide students with Internet filters just as it provides them with computer virus filters!!  Bravo, Mr. Cleary!

These students are obviously using, even explicitly using, common sense.  You have to love clear thinking before it gets confused by ALA propaganda.  It is like Ms. Hood and Mr. Cleary are twin students of different mothers on the issue of Internet filters.  In fact, they are so young, let me disclose I had Twin Sons of Different Mothers in mind when I learned both had the same complaint and solution published on the same day in different schools.

Well done, Ms. Hood and Mr. Cleary.  Keep promoting your ideas and your common sense.  If I may help, please let me know.



  1. Hi,
    This is Phil and I was just connected your blog post! I don't know where this got picked up on, but thanks for giving it some spotlight.

    As an update, I have proposed this via the school newspaper, and talked to the college president a little bit about it. Further, it has come out on my platform for student senate president.

    So the word is getting out... now the school just needs the incentive to do act on it.

  2. Phil,

    Welcome, and you are welcome to some spotlight.

    Actually, you need even more spotlight. I see you are serious about this as evidenced by your writing about it and by your speaking with the college president. Even better, you are running for school senate president and have included it in your platform.

    Allow me to help you further. Let me write an entire blog post just on your efforts, or consider writing a guest blog post that I will post here and that you can use to comment back and forth with your fellow students. I allow anyone to comment (other than for spam and personal attack) so it should be easy.

    What you are doing is very significant. You are a young man who understands the value of Internet filters properly applied and maintained. You want to bring this to the educational environment. That is outstanding.

    You see, the American Library Association [ALA] works very hard to convince people not to use Internet filters. The ALA argues that even though filters are constitutionally approved by the US Supreme Court in a case the ALA lost, people should still not use them for reasons that either no longer apply or for reasons already raised before the Court and rejected.

    You will find the objections raised to the use of Internet filters will be either old arguments that no longer apply, like that you cannot research breast cancer, or legal arguments that have already been asked and answered by the Court, like it would be embarrassing (and thereby unconstitutional) to ask for a web site to be temporarily unfiltered.

    You will then find the promotion of things claimed to work better than filters, but nothing does. Privacy screens? People can see right through them. Security cameras? No one watches them and rapes are being taped. Acceptable Use Policies? Lovely idea, but criminals by definition do not comply with social expectations. Computers arranged so librarians can observe them better? Useless, since the ALA trains librarians not to make such decisions. You have to love the case of a security guard (or was it a maintenance worker) who stopped a six year old from viewing porn and the library director corrected him and had him put the porn site back on for the child.

    So, Phil, make me aware of everything you are doing on this issue, send me links or actual documents, and I will post them. Or I will let you post things. And if ALA acolytes start spouting the usual false reasons to oppose legal and properly applied Internet filters, give me a call and I'll see if I can assist any.

    Please read the following completely through to understand the issues and prepare for the false and repetitive arguments presented by ALA acolytes: US v. ALA.

    It also wouldn't hurt to read how even the ACLU (a losing party in US v. ALA) now says filters are 95% effective and no longer block health-related information: ACLU v. Gonzales.

    And let me say the ALA/ACLU lost US v. ALA, but the ALA spins the loss as a win to justify its huge loss of money at the hands of its former de facto leader. I have sources to back up this statement and the others I have made in this comment.

    Enjoy the experience, Phil! Do not take anything the ALA acolytes say on face value--check it out and make sure it actually applies. Usually it's legal legerdemain. It's you and your campus against 40 years of accumulated knowledge on how to fool local populations into doing what the ALA wants by getting the local population to think like the ALA.

  3. See also:

    "Cleary's Proposal Spotlighted on SafeLibraries Blog," by Jeffrey Miles, The Campus Majority: Gustavus Adolphus College, 26 February 2010.


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