Saturday, April 9, 2011

Idaho Library Assoc Fools Public, Negates Library Filtering Legislation by Successfully Lobbying to Make Idaho 2011 HB205 Worthless, and Provides Example of Effective Propaganda Not to Allow in Legislative Filtering Efforts

The Idaho Library Association [ILA] has fooled the public and negated filtering legislation by successfully lobbying to make Idaho 2011 HB205 worthless.  It is an example of effective propaganda not to allow in your own statewide library computer filtering legislation efforts.  I am forced to announce I am available for hire to help prevent such debacles.

Here is the key.  After fooling the public, the ILA wanted no one to misunderstand that the legislation now ready for the Governor's signature is worthless.  Here are the facts upon which I make this observation—see if you agree with me and comment below:

  • House Bill 205
  • HB 205 in its original form
  • Amendments to HB 205 that change "shall" to "may" and remove the need for "bona fide research", thereby allowing for anything legal, including pornography
  • HB 205 as amended and ready for the Governor's signature
  • "Librarians and the Legislature - Idaho Librarians Meet with Gov. Otter, Idaho Legislators," by Ben Hunter, Idaho Library Association, 1 February 2011
  • "[libidaho - ILA] ILA Position on Internet Filtering," by Natalie Nation and Becca Stroebel, ILA Legislative Committee Co-Chairs, Idaho Library Association, 8 April 2011, discussing "recent misrepresentations of the Idaho Library Association’s position on internet filtering" by clarifying that, "According to the bill, all Idaho public libraries ... are given the choice to decide whether or not to filter for adults," and note the inclusion of an article about a Pastor (of all possible examples to use this one about the religious leader 1] smacks of Christian bashing, 2] is a double standard to use for evidence filters fail when the ILA would claim sentences out of context cannot be used to keep inappropriate material from children, 3] is a disingenuous example of the efficacy of librarian monitoring since the ILA has no intention of using the filters as described in the article about the Mississippi library and doesn't monitor behavior such as masturbation, and 4] smacks of Christian bashing again because it is an inapposite example to use for the reasons asserted):
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Natalie Nation
Date: Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 4:42 PM
Subject: [libidaho - ILA] ILA Position on Internet Filtering

In response to recent misrepresentations of the Idaho Library Association’s position on internet filtering,  we are posting our position to the Idaho Library Association Legislative webpage and are including the official position statement below:

ILA's Position on Internet Filtering

The Idaho Library Association believes that individual public libraries and their governing boards are best equipped to set an internet policy regulating appropriate use at their library.  Public libraries and their governing boards create and adopt internet policies that reflect local values and these policies are revised in response to input from local citizens at open board meetings.  The Idaho Library Association acknowledges that filters are imperfect and may not block inappropriate content as well as block legitimate content.   We believe that individual Idaho public libraries are best equipped to develop and set internet policies that will best serve their communities.

The Idaho Library Association was happy to reach a compromise with the Idaho Legislature regarding House Bill 205 – Public Libraries Internet Filtering Bill.  According to the bill, all Idaho public libraries will be required to utilize internet filtering for minors’ internet access, but public libraries retain the ability to disable the filters for lawful internet use and are given the choice to decide whether or not to filter for adults.  We believe that this compromise has presented a workable solution for most Idaho public libraries and allowed us to retain local control over the decision to filter for adults as well as flexibility when assisting children.

In closing, I would like to share the following recent article about a Pastor caught bypassing library filters to view child porn.  This article affirms both the inefficacy of filtering software and efficacy of library staff in catching and resolving situations as they occur:,0,6522370.story


Natalie Nation and Becca Stroebel

Natalie Nation
Branch Manager - Silverstone Branch
Meridian Library District

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The ILA has pulled the wool over somebody's eyes, perhaps the whole state of Idaho.  That's no "compromise," it's an evisceration. "The bill does not define the term 'bona fide research'"?  Come on.  How weak is that?  Is "public library" defined?

The Governor should NOT sign the bill.  He should send it back until it is restored to its original form or rewritten.  The bill is worthless otherwise, except to make people feel good and to set an example for the value of propaganda.

The intent of the bill was to require "all Idaho public libraries to maintain Internet filters on their computers to protect children from viewing illegal pornography."  The amendments the ILA lobbied and the subsequent statement by the ILA show filtering is not required; children will not be protected from the porn they see on the computers used by adults or the crimes committed by the adults using unfiltered computers.  It is a major defeat for state mandated filtering and a poor example for other states to copy.

I gave credit to the ILA for compromising.  I now see, in light of the ILA statement of 8 April 2011, I spoke prematurely.  The ILA cleverly and effectively negated the legislation.  A lobbying job well done.  As the crimes against children continue rolling in, consideration should be given to the ILA's complicity.

How about deleting "Idaho Library Association" and inserting "community standards" since communities are concerned about their children while the ILA is "trained to refrain from judging the appropriateness of patron's selections"?  As the US Supreme Court said, "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."  And that Court approved filters on all computers, for bona fide research, not just on those intended for children, like HB 205, for anything legal, like pornography.


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