ACLU sues over SmartFilter in libraries

The Washington ACLU is suing a library system over its use of SmartFilter's defective censorware. SmartFilter are the shakedown artists who blocked Boing Boing but offered to cut us a deal if we'd redesign our site to their specifications. Their overbroad, wildly inaccurate censorware is used by libraries in Eastern Washington to keep patrons from seeing naughty things -- including vast quantities of lawful material.
Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, three library users and a nonprofit organization today brought suit to ensure that patrons of a library system in Eastern Washington have access to useful and lawful information on the Internet. The lawsuit challenges the library system's policy of using a restrictive Internet filter to bar access to information on its computers and of refusing to honor requests by adult patrons to temporarily disable the filter for sessions of uncensored reading and research. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Spokane. ...

The North Central Regional Library District (NCRL) operates 28 community libraries in Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan Counties. The NCRL has used a blocking software product called SmartFilter, Bess edition, manufactured by the California-based company Secure Computing Corporation, to filter Internet content on all public computers at its branch libraries. Bess blocks a very broad array of lawful information, and the NCRL has refused to unblock sites for patrons. ...

Libraries that receive funds for Internet access under two specific federal programs are required to have the ability to block minors from seeing "visual depictions" of sexual activity. But the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the law to mean that libraries should disable those filters upon the request of an adult. The ACLU believes that the NCRL filtering policy goes far beyond what is allowed under federal law.

Link (Thanks, Seth!)

See also BoingBoing banned in UAE, Qatar, elsewhere. Our response to net-censors: Get bent!