Internet filters considered harmful


Alan sez, "In its latest report, the American Library Association reviews the
state of Internet content filters and finds the state dismal."

"Filters are still problematic in all the ways they have been, and
filters interfere with the educational missions that ALA members
undertake as part of K-12 learning."

As an advocate for less restrictive filtering in schools, the ALA Council gave me a very nice birthday gift. On June 30, 2015 the Council approved “Internet Filtering: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.”

The interpretation lays out why filters have been installed, describes their technical difficulties, explains that overly restrictive filtering often results in blocking constitutionally protected content, depicts the delays and lack of privacy when requesting the unblocking of mislabeled websites, and outlines the impact of filtering on the education of K-12 students and public library users. Finally, the document counsels schools and libraries that filter to lessen the effects by setting up a time and privacy sensitive process for users to request the unblocking of mistakenly filtered content.

According to Pam Klipsch, a member of the filtering interpretation writing group, the new interpretation was created by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee and it took a year for the committee to complete the document. She describes the new interpretation as both “principled and practical” (Pam Klipsch, email message to author, July 15, 2015).

The Latest on Internet Filtering from ALA [Helen Adams/ALA]

(Thanks, Alan!)