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Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

NYC Library Criticized for Allowing Porn on Computers

April 26, 2011|9:08 am

NEW YORK – The practice of New York City libraries allowing patrons to watch internet porn on library computers is actually illegal, according to a faith-based group that fights obscenity in the media.

"There is no First Amendment problem in blocking porn at libraries. They have an obligation to protect children from pornography," Patrick A. Trueman, president and CEO of Morality in Media, told The Christian Post Monday.

Library officials have argued that watching hardcore pornography at the city's public libraries is an act that may offend some library-goers but is a right protected by the First Amendment, accoridng to the New York Post.

"Customers can watch whatever they want on the computer," Brooklyn Public Library spokeswoman Malika Granville said in the article.

"In deference to the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech, the New York Public Library cannot prevent adult patrons from accessing adult content that is legal," chimed New York Public Library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise, according to the local publication.

But the head of Morality in Media, a New York-based group that censors pornography and other obscenities, disagrees, pointing to U.S. law. The Child Internet Protection Act requires that libraries that receive federal funding install computer filters that block access to obscenity and child pornography. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the law.

"Obviously, the libraries in New York are not abiding by the law," Trueman said.

"They can either give up federal funding or they give up pornography. And we are advising they give up pornography."

According to the New York Post article, the state public libraries comply with the law by having computer filters in place. However, the loophole is that patrons over 17 can disable the filters, thereby getting access to pornography or any other obscenity if they so wish to do so.

Trueman said that CIPA allows libraries to enact policy that lets patrons disable the internet filters only for "bona fide research" or "lawful" purposes but not for porn.

"Libraries are not red-light districts," he said. "Their function is to provide public information and materials but library materials are censored. People don't find hardcore pornography on the shelves or vile pornographic magazines in the magazine section. They filter that out."

Policies on the Brooklyn Public Library website seem to contradict statements made by library officials concerning porn viewing on library computers. The library states under its Technology Use Policy that users must request for filtering technology to be disabled. Even then, that doesn't mean they are free to watch porn.

"The Library's policy forbids users to access materials that are legally defined as obscene, as child pornography, or, in the case of persons under 17, as harmful to minors," says the library website.

Trueman is urging the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees CIPA, to review the New York library policy so that it can protect children and adults who don't want pornography.

"Allowing children to view pornography is a form of child sexual abuse," he said. "What we know is the that libraries that allow patrons to view pornography have patrons who masturbate to the material in the library and allow children to be exposed. This is not suitable for libraries."

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/nyc-library-criticized-for-allowing-porn-on-computers-49982/