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States Bringing New -- and Worse -- Filter Legislation
Posted by Lori Ayre on January 22, 2004
Here's something very scarey -- the state of Washington is cooking up even more substantial filtering laws. House Bill 2747 wants to block not just obscenity and child pornography but anything erotic on all library computers including university libraries.
The bill also calls for the Secretary of State to test three filters to determine if they can block erotic and pornographic material but not educational material. What do you suppose they'll find out?
Thanks to Tamara Georgick, Systems Librarian at the Washington State Library, for bringing this bad news to my attention.
HOUSE BILL 2747
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec.
A new section is added to chapter 43.07 RCW to read as follows:
A computer that:
(1) Is located in a lending library supported by public funds, public school library or media arts center, or in the library of a public institution of higher education;
(2) Can access the internet; and
(3) Is available for use by the public or students, or both;
must have its use policies determined by the facility's governing board. The governing board must adopt policies intended to reduce the ability of the user to access web sites displaying erotic or sexually explicit information or material as defined in chapter 9.68 RCW.
1. NEW SECTION. Sec. A new section is added to chapter 43.07 RCW to read as follows:
2. (1)(a) A pilot program is established to assess the feasibility of installing internet filtering software in libraries or institutions subject to this act, if funding is available.
3. (b) The secretary of state must implement this program and select appropriate filtering software. A minimum of three filtering software programs must be tested.
4. (2) The secretary of state must request institutions to voluntarily participate in the pilot program. Pilot areas shall be located in the north, south, east, and west areas of the state. The secretary of state must make every effort to ensure that one public school and one public library in each area are selected. Participating institutions must have filtering software in place or install recommended filtering software purchased by the state that incorporates web
-filtering technology designed to eliminate or reduce the ability of the computer to access web sites displaying erotic or sexually explicit pictures or any other obscene material as defined by law. Selected software must be able to distinguish between pornographic and obscene web sites and medical research web sites.
1. (3) The secretary of state will evaluate this program. The evaluation must be based on the program's ability to:
(a) Limit or restrict access to sources of information or images that are obscene including hard-core pornography and child pornography;
(b) Limit or restrict access to sources of pornographic information or images that could be harmful to minors; and
(c) Successfully access and not filter legitimate research sites.
(4) Any person blocked from an internet site he or she believes does not contain material that meets the criteria listed in subsection (3)(a) or (b) of this section, and desires to access the internet site, may request that the institution unblock the site. If the institution determines the site does not contain material listed in subsection (3)(a) or (b) of this section, the institution must unblock the site. An adult patron may request unfiltered access to the internet for serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific purposes, and the institution may temporarily disable the blocking software for those purposes.
(5) Medical schools are exempt from the pilot program.
(6) The secretary of state must prepare a report and recommendations and present them to the legislature by December 31, 2004.