Libraries Should Use Software Filters for Internet Access
Public libraries provide us with a large amount of information. Residents can borrow books from libraries. Libraries also provide Internet access for everyone, including children. Since parents cannot control what then children are seeing on the Internet in libraries, children can access pornographic or violent sites easily. So, public libraries should restrict Internet access by utilizing filtering software to prevent children from seeing those inappropriate sites.
The American Libraries Association (ALA) insists that it is improper for public libraries to use filtering software since libraries have to provide broad materials for patrons. Their claim that filtering software may limit one’s access to legitimate information may be valid. The ALA has stated:
Current blocking/filtering software prevents not only access to what some consider “objectionable” material, but also blocks information protected by the Fist Amendment. The result is that legal and useful material will inevitably be blocked. Examples of sites that have been blocked by popular commercial blocking/filtering products include those on breast cancer, AIDS, women’s rights, and animal rights (“Statement on Internet Filtering” 2).
Those sites can be restricted by filtering software. But, filtering software does not restrict all the materials on breast cancer, AIDS, women’s rights, and animal rights. The ALA states that blocking/filtering software is a mechanism used to restrict access to scanning content based on a keyword, phrase, or text (American Libraries Association 2). Some of there sites are blocked simply because they may contain words that filtering software is programmed to block. Those cites which is restricted might contain a lot of words recognized as “inappropriate” such as the word “sex”. So, filtering software may occasionally not being able to access those sites to be inappropriate site due to this content....
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