Libraries May Keep the Key to Internet Porn: Loudoun Panel to Vote on Access Limits

By Redmon, Jeremy | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 21, 1997 | Go to article overview

Libraries May Keep the Key to Internet Porn: Loudoun Panel to Vote on Access Limits


Redmon, Jeremy, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The Loudoun County Library Board will decide tonight whether customers - young or old - can sit themselves down to the new computers being installed and without ceremony call up dirty pictures on the Internet.

If the motion to squash porn-surfing in the county's six libraries is passed, technicians will install software that locks out material the Library Board believes "violates community standards of decency."

Before the vote tonight, the board will hold a public hearing on the issue at 7:30 p.m. at the Rust Library in Leesburg, 380 Old Waterford Road.

It would be the most restrictive Internet-use policy in Northern Virginia.

Adults who want access to all Web sites on the Internet would have to make a trip to the counter to ask librarians to deactivate the screening device.

Parents who want their children to have full access would have to sign permission slips and sit by them when they use the computers.

Library Board trustees who drafted the proposal say they're concerned that viewing pornography could incite young men to assault or rape.

Although they agree the board should adopt an Internet-use policy for library patrons, some trustees - as do several community organizations - disagree on various elements of the proposal.

Trustee John Czaplewski, Blue Ridge District, says that making adults ask for special permission to use the unfiltered Internet violates their First Amendment rights. He thinks grown-ups ought to be allowed to turn the filtering software on and off at the terminals.

"It leaves the determination with the individual, which is where it should be," he says. "That is America."

Trustee Richard A. Black, Sugarland Run District, favors the proposed policy and says Mr. Czaplewski's alternative could invite pedophiles and rapists into the libraries.

"They use pornography simply to get themselves worked into a frenzy, and sometimes they use it to break down children's inhibitions," says Mr. Black, a retired U.S. Army colonel. He prosecuted pornography and sexual assault cases in the military.

Mainstream Loudoun - a civil-liberties organization that says it represents "moderate" voters - opposes the requirement that children must be accompanied by parents when they use the Internet without the filtering software. …

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Libraries May Keep the Key to Internet Porn: Loudoun Panel to Vote on Access Limits
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