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« Introducing Contributing Author Raizel Liebler | Main | SAFE Act/Senator Durbin talk at Book Expo »

June 02, 2004


Wow, this is absolutely absurd. The idea that morality should be legislated is rooted in philosophies that are impossible to fully implement. Plus, what does "harmful" mean?

Well, schools have a lot of latitude in deciding what to make available to students - based on educational suitability.

This is very different from public libraries, in which the librarians are not in loco parentis, and the patrons have much stronger First Amendment rights.

Legally, it would be a difficult case to challenge the school's judgement, even if it's way off base...and that's not something I offer an opinion on, since I'm not looking at search image results with school students in mind. I presume the school knows about google images advanced option to filter using moderate / strict filtering. Other search engines have similar options.

Yes, that part is understood. However, the issue here is that because almost all image search engines can give access to material that is obscene or "harmful to minors" does this justify the action of a school district for blocking image search engines that teachers and students use for educational purposes because of this fear that a child may be exposed to porn images?
It must be noted here that images cannot be selectively filtered and denying educators and students access to tools that they need is very restrictive.

only images that are child pornography, obscenity or "harmful to minors" are at issue. See for definitions

I read the article about Children's Internet Protection Act by Mary Minow. Does this Act specifically require school districts or schools that are e-rate to block access through filters to such popular sites as Google Images that provide teachers and students with many valuable images that they incorporate into their lessons and assignments? Some images, if actively sought, can be offensive, yet Google Images is a valuable site for educators to incorporate visuals into their lesson plans.

I can't see this bill passing constitutional muster -- it is vague and overbroad -- two problems that will hopefully doom this bill.

Karen, as you stated there are definitions and some of them are legal ones -- such as "harmful to minors" -- but the "injury to moral welfare"? I have no idea how one would define that.

In our infamously litiguous society, I can see a lot of abuse of this, should it become law. I see that definitions are provided; however, the definitions themselves are open to interpretation. Further, how can library staff be responsible for what is viewed on the Internet, even after filtering? If I were a librarian with this law in place, I'd be very nervous every time a minor used the Internet.

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