Friday, February 3, 2012

ALA Admits Library Filters Work; Barbara Jones Bursts Her Own Breast Cancer Bubble

Barbara Jones is the leader of the American Library Association's [ALA] so-called Office for Intellectual Freedom [OIF].  On 25 January 2012, she made the oft-repeated false statement that Internet filters block access to breast cancer web sites and do not work. [EN 1]  The ALA does this as a means to convince people not to block pornography in public libraries, because breast cancer might be accidentally excluded.  Nevermind that the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] was involved in a legal matter finding filters no longer block health-related information. [EN 2]

On 26 January 2012, I responded that she was lying about breast cancer being blocked. [EN 3]

Then, on 1 February 2012, library director Dean Marney [EN 4] was asked about blocking breast cancer and he responded in no uncertain terms that claims of breast cancer blocking are false. [EN 5]

Surprise!  Barbara Jones was on the very same radio broadcast with Dean Marney, and she contradicted herself [EN 6] from just a few days previously, handing me and Dean Marney a major success in our efforts to educate communities about the ALA's misinformation.  She admits, finally, that the breast cancer excuse is outdated.

And librarians know it is a lie. [EN 4] [EN 7] [EN 8]

ALA Admits Library Filters Work; 
Says Librarians Are the Biggest Impediment

Barbara Jones even admits that library filters work but that librarians don't know how to set them properly! [EN 9]  Breaking news!  ALA admits library filters work!!  Then the ALA blames librarians for misusing them.

But even in admitting they work, she still misleads saying, among other lies, "There is still constitutionally protected information being filtered out," by which she means pornography or the like.  As we all know by now, legal porn may be legally excluded from public libraries, and it was the ALA itself that lost on this very issue in the US Supreme Court back in 2003. [EN 4] [EN 10]

If anyone ever again says public library filters block breast cancer sites, know immediately that they are lying, and they are likely misleading in other areas as well.  Given my success (along with Dean Marney, mainly,) in turning the ALA on this issue, consider following me if you want accurate information about how the ALA misleads communities into leaving their own citizens open to harm.

Consider Subscribing to SafeLibraries for Politically Incorrect Library News

I am happy to be the only source bringing you this significant, high importance, well sourced news of major admissions by the ALA's OIF leader that library filters work, old breast cancer excuses don't, librarians don't know how to run filters correctly, etc.  But why am I the only news source doing so?  Where is the Library Journal?  Where is the ALA's American Libraries?  Where is LISNews?  Have any of them reported on, for example, the news I broke in "Know the ALA"?  Of course not.

People, consider subscribing to my news feed (at Twitter or Facebook) for library stories not politically correct enough to be reported elsewhere.  After all, if the ALA OIF finally admits filters work, doesn't its whole house of cards fall down?

End Notes
  1. "Libraries, Sexual Content and the Internet: Striking a Balance Between Rights, Access, and Comfort," by Barbara Jones, Huffington Post, 25 January 2012:
    Research shows time and again that filters end up blocking content that is not only legal but is important for adults to be able to view.  ....  An ideal example is the word, "breast," which many filters block.  The problem is that in addition to blocking what might be offensive content, the filter also blocks "breast cancer."  And so the only solution is for parents, teachers, librarians, and other community leaders to work with Internet users.  Filters won't do it for them.
  2. ACLU v. Gonzales, E.D. Pa., March 2007:
    75.  In addition to analyzing the content of Web pages, dynamic filters also take the context of the page into consideration, to ensure that the determinations are as accurate as possible.  For example, many companies will develop templates that provide additional context to teach the software how to recognize certain contexts – for example, to block the word "breast" when used in combination with the word "sexy," but not when used in combination with the words "chicken" or "cancer."  The software analyzes context, in part, by utilizing statistical pattern recognition techniques to identify common features of acceptable and unacceptable Web pages, depending on the context in which the content appears.  Cranor Testimony, 10/23 Tr. 243:5-244:6; Whittle Testimony, 10/31 Tr. 201:4-17, 204:17-205:2 
  3. "ALA OIF's Barbara Jones Misleads Entire Nation to Think Library Porn is Not a Problem While Library Filters Are," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 26 January 2012:
    "An ideal example is the word, 'breast,' which many filters block.  The problem is that in addition to blocking what might be offensive content, the filter also blocks 'breast cancer.'"  Now this lady has gone from misleading people to flat out lying.  She is lying.  She is in the very position to know better, and she chooses instead to lie, so she is purposefully lying.  Even the ACLU admits filters are 95% effective and no longer filter out health-related information:
  4. "Library Porn Removal Roadmap; NCRL Director Dean Marney Details How to Legally Remove Legal Porn from Public Library Computers and Advises that the ALA Relies on Outdated Dogma," by Dan Kleinman, SafeLibraries, 15 November 2010:
    The outdated tenets about using technology to manage the Internet, promoted by the Freedom To Read Foundation (FTRF) and American Library Association (ALA) Office of Intellectual Freedom, express dogma and fundamentalism and deserve challenge.
    Filtering offers a technological solution for a technological problem.  If your filter is inadequate, find a better one.
  5. "Viewing Porn in Public Libraries Spurs Debate," by Ross Reynolds, KUOW 94.5 FM Puget Sound Public Radio, 1 February 2012 interview with Barbara Jones and Library Director Dean Marney:
    Ross Reynolds (7:13):  Now I've heard that some computer filtering can be problematic because, for example, it won't allow you to go to a breast cancer web site 'cuz it's got the word "breast" in the search.

    Dean Marney (7:23):  Ross, that drives me crazy because when people bring up that as an example and I wanna go, if their filter is blocking breast cancer, they've got the wrong filter.  'Cuz that's, maybe that was like maybe that was 50 years ago but it's not the state of the art now.
  6. See End Note 5:
    Ross Reynolds (9:05):  Back to you, uh, Barbara Jones, uh, Dean says he's got filtering software there that just works perfectly.

    Barbara Jones (9:12):  Um, I would like to say that, yeah, the breast cancer example probably is kinda old these days, but, um, we're currently working on a case and I can give really, um, really current examples ….
  7. "Librarians are Guardians of a Trust," by Jo Ellen Ringer, Notus Public Library Director and Guest Writer, SafeLibraries, 10 April 2011:
    There are two issues here: "proper" (based on local standards, not ALA standards) expenditure of public tax dollars in our communities, and using the trust given to librarians in wise ways.  Education and information are the twin missions of any library.  Are we meeting those goals?  Pornography, violence, bomb-making are not for the public good, nor do most taxpayers wish to support this with their taxes.
  8. "Minneapolis Library Workers Go Public with Cybersmut Complaint," by American Library Association, American Libraries, 21 February 2000:
    "We feel harassed and intimidated by having to work in a public environment where we might, at any moment, be exposed to degrading or pornographic pictures," read a February 12 Minneapolis Star Tribune letter to the editor signed by 47 employees of the city's Central Library.

    Siding with a February 5 editorial by a patron outraged that MPL won't intervene when users display sexually explicit Internet sites, the letter urges the installation in high-trafficked areas of "sophisticated filters" which, "contrary to the 'official' line of the ALA . . . allow searching of topics such as 'breast cancer.'"
  9. See End Note 5:
    Ross Reynolds (9:55):  Are the filters getting better?

    Barbara Jones (9:59):  Um, filters have gotten better because people have more control.  However, um, a lot of librarians don't know how to set these controls, and some of the controls actually don't work.  Um, nothing is as good as the human brain.  There is still constitutionally protected information being filtered out.  I do have evidence to show this.
  10. United States v. American Library Association, 539 US 194 (2003):
    [P]ublic libraries' use of Internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' First Amendment rights....

    In any case, the suggested alternatives have their own drawbacks.  Close monitoring of computer users would be far more intrusive than the use of filtering software, and would risk transforming the role of a librarian from a professional to whom patrons turn for assistance into a compliance officer whom many patrons might wish to avoid.  Moving terminals to places where their displays cannot easily be seen by other patrons, or installing privacy screens or recessed monitors, would not address a library's interest in preventing patrons from deliberately using its computers to view online pornography.  To the contrary, these alternatives would make it easier for patrons to do so. 


I have updated some links that had gone missing with archived links.

Also, see how Children's Internet Protection Act author Ernest Istook describes how ALA purposefully misleads people in a propagandistic fashion:


Updated link in Note 5.

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