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A Substitute for Conscience? Questions on Internet Filtering for Children and Youth. BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee & Young Adult and Children’s Services. Introductions. Who are we? Janet Mumford Richard Beaudry Deb Thomas Who are you? Public/School/Academic US or Canada

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a substitute for conscience questions on internet filtering for children and youth

A Substitute for Conscience?Questions on Internet Filtering for Children and Youth

BCLA Intellectual Freedom Committee &

Young Adult and Children’s Services

  • Who are we?
    • Janet Mumford
    • Richard Beaudry
    • Deb Thomas
  • Who are you?
    • Public/School/Academic
    • US or Canada
    • Library staff or trustee
  • Interactive exercise - If you were 12 today, what would you like to find and do on the Internet? Would filters prevent you?
  • Definitions of top 4 filters & how kids bypass them
  • Brief overview of federal legislation in US and Canada governing public Internet for children and youth
  • CLA and ALA positions on filtering
  • Sample policies
  • Debate – Pro & Con for filtering
interactive exercise
Interactive Exercise

If you were 12 today, what would you like to find and do on the Internet? Would filters prevent you?

10 minutes to discuss

5 minutes to report back

net filters ip blocking
Net Filters – IP Blocking
  • The IP blocking process
    • IT department is given the IP addresses that need to be blocked.
    • A script will match each incoming connection's IP addresses against the block list entries.
    • All users with IP addresses not on the ban list will be granted instant access to the library
net filters url filtering
Net Filters – URL Filtering
  • Enables IT departments to monitor and control website access and Internet use to all library computers
  • Can also block access to certain audio or video media files.
net filters web feed filtering
Net Filters – Web-feed filtering
  • Lets the IT department block specific Internet feeds like "rss", "blog" or "feed".
net filters catch all filtering
Net Filters – Catch-all filtering
  • Blocks words or parts of words that are part of a list.
  • Example: "sex". The word will be blocked but also combinations of word that include “sex”. So catch-all filtering would block a search for the word "Essex" since it contains "sex".
  • Positive for the IT department – high security
  • Negative for the annoyed librarian and his or her clients.
net filters bypass proxy servers
Net Filters Bypass – Proxy servers
  • The easiest and most common method for beating a net filter is to use a web based proxy.
  • Web-based proxies can be accessed online through server-side software or more sophisticated users can create their own proxy scripts.
  • A proxy server has an interface similar to a search website. A person enters the website address they wish to access and click the "submit" button.
  • Hundreds of working web proxies can be found at http://www.aplusproxy.com/webproxy.php .
net filters bypass ssl access
Net Filters Bypass – SSL access
  • To access any secured or SSL (Secure Socket Layers) websites, type in "https" and the web address instead of "http”.
  • SSL is used to enable traffic to pass through firewalls.
net filters bypass web translators
Net Filters Bypass – Web translators
  • Web translators can help bypass Internet filters.
  • Users translate a webpage into their selected language so they can access and read it.
net filters bypass google cache
Net Filters Bypass – Google Cache
  • Popular tool used by students.
  • Using Google as a search engine, the end-user clicks on "Cache" to view a copied version of the webpage.
  • Often not the most updated version of the webpage but filters will not block access.
internet legislation canada
Internet Legislation: Canada
  • On 17 May 1999, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a media release stating:
    • "The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced today that it will not regulate new media services on the Internet. After conducting an in-depth review under the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act beginning last July, the CRTC has concluded that the new media on the Internet are achieving the goals of the Broadcasting Act and are vibrant, highly competitive and successful without regulation. The CRTC is concerned that any attempt to regulate Canadian new media might put the industry at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace."
internet legislation canada14
Internet Legislation: Canada
  • Schools and libraries in Canada come under provincial or municipal legislation. In most cases, users have to follow Acceptable User Policies (AUP) in place and are subject to restrictions put in place through Net Filtering Software.
recent canadian issue
Recent Canadian Issue

On September 16th, 2009, MPP Gerry Martiniuk (Conservative Party) introduced a bill in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (OLA) that requires installation of filtering software on all computers in provincial public libraries and schools.

The bill passed second reading but died on the order paper when OLA prorogued. Martiniuk will be reintroducing the bill.

“My bill, An Act to Protect our Children from Pornography, aims to do one thing and one thing only: protect children from viewing pornography and other harmful material on the internet”

net filtering legislation in the us cipa
Net Filtering Legislation in the US: CIPA
  • Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) passed by Congress in 2000
  • Under its mandates, schools and libraries that receive E-rate funding,LSTA grants, and ESEA Title III funds must establish filtering technology ontheir computers.
brief history of cipa
Brief History of CIPA
  • CIPA and the Neighborhood Children’s Internet Protection Act (NCIPA) passed in 2000.
  • ALA and ACLU sued to prevent enforcement in 2001
  • The CIPA filtering mandate for public libraries declared unconstitutional on first amendment grounds by a district court in 2002
  • Supreme Court overturned decision in 2003 and upheld CIPA
ala and filtering
ALA and Filtering
  • “ALA does not recommend the use in libraries of filtering technology that blocks constitutionally protected information.”
  • “ALA strongly encourages local libraries to adopt and implement Internet use policies that protect public access to information and promote a positive online experience.”
aasl and filtering
AASL and Filtering
  • "The internet-content filters most commonly used by schools block needed, legitimate content more often than not, according to a study by a university librarian.”
  • “Libraries, both public and school, have a duty to provide and allow, not deny, their patrons access to information.”
cla and filtering
CLA and Filtering

“CLA encourages libraries:

  • To offer Internet access with the fewest possible restrictions,
  • To safeguard the long-standing relationship of trust between libraries and children, their parents and guardians, in developing Internet use policies and practices, acknowledging the rights and responsibilities of parents and guardians”
net filtering bc schools
Net Filtering: BC Schools
  • BC school libraries and the Provincial Learning Network (PLN).
    • Basic filtering to school districts
    • Each district can add to the number and type of blocked sites
  • Social networking websites like Facebook
    • Popular with students but may be blocked by schools
    • Students usually bypass any attempt to block Facebook by going to a proxy server.
net filtering bc public libraries
Net Filtering: BC Public Libraries
  • Approaches to filtering vary widely
  • 2010 Survey of BC Public Libraries:
    • On Internet access for children 14 yrs & under:
      • with parental permission only 35.8%
      • on filtered stations only 23.0%
      • choice of filtered/unfiltered stations 20.5%
      • no filter and no parental permission 17.9%
      • no access 2.5%
sample policies canada
Sample policies - Canada
  • The Library provides filtering software on some Public Access Internet Computers in each branch, to enable adults and/or children to limit their ability to visit sites which may contain pornography, hate literature, or provide information on how to carry out criminal acts. The Library stresses that no filtering software is 100% effective and the Library is not responsible for offensive sites the filters fail to block or legitimate sites blocked by the filter.
  • The Library also recognizes its special relationship with children, but reminds parents and guardians that it is their responsibility to ensure that children use the Library's Internet stations safely and appropriately.

From Vancouver Island Regional Library

sample policies canada24
Sample policies - Canada
  • In accord with the Statement on Intellectual Freedom, the library does not control, and assumes no responsibility for, information accessed on the Internet. Library users are responsible for the sites they visit and any text or images they print. As is the case with materials in the library collection, any restriction of a child's access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or guardian. (Amended September 21, 2000.)
  • The library will not filter Internet workstations in the adult areas of the library.
  • Internet workstations in children’s departments will have a commercial content filter which will allow parents and children to use workstations with controlled access. This policy is consistent with the book and materials collection policy which stresses children’s collections be appropriate for the age and interests of children. It recognizes community expectations that the children’s department will provide content and services suitable for children. (Amended August 2, 2001.)

From Burnaby Public Library

sample policies united states
Sample policies – United States
  • In November 2003, all King County Library System (KCLS) library cards will be automatically set to filtered Internet access in order to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA requires that libraries receiving federal funding filter all computers with Internet access.
  • If you are 17 years or older and would like unfiltered access on your card, please see a staff member and request unfiltered access for “bona fide research and other lawful purposes.”
  • A person under the age of 17 years must have filtered access on his/her card.

From King County Library System

sample policies united states26
Sample policies – United States
  • It is the Library's policy to provide technology that allows Library users the choice of blocking their access and that of their minor children to adult-oriented, sexually explicit web sites, email and/ or chat with the understanding that no technology is fully effective in blocking intended sites and may inadvertently block unintended sites.
  • A minor will be allowed to use WCLS-owned internet computers only with a parent or guardian's signature on the Whatcom County Library System's registration form indicating basic filtered or no internet access. The parent or guardian may also complete and sign an internet access form to select from additional levels of filtering or no filtering for their minor child.
  • The Library does not provide any level of filtering on wireless internet access. Parents and guardians are responsible for minors' use of computers to access the internet wirelessly at WCLS.

From Whatcom County Library System

pros cons debate
Pros & Cons - Debate
  • Pro (Filtering is the best way to protect children from inappropriate content and activities on the Internet)
  • Con (Filtering is useless since children are getting around them anyway and they impede free access to information)

10 minutes to form your approach

5 minutes each to tell us why


Our presentation and handouts can be found at:

We can be reached at:

Janet Mumford

jmum (at) telus.net

Deb Thomas

deb.thomas (at) bpl.bc.ca

Richard Beaudry

rbeaudry (at) sd35.bc.ca