Filtering Legislation Proposed Again

February 3, 2014
Eighteenth Attempt to Mandate Statewide Filters

On Thursday, 30 January 2014, Senator Kwame Raoul (D-13, Chicago), introduced Senate Bill (SB) 2784.  The bill creates the Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act.  Provides that each public library must have a technology protection measure to prevent the display on a public computer of any visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors.  Allows a public library to disable the technology protection measure for an adult engaged in legitimate research or some other lawful purpose.  Requires the State Librarian to adopt rules to implement and administer the Act.  Amends the State Finance Act to create the Internet Screening in Public Libraries Fund.  Provides that fines under the Act are to be deposited into the Fund.  Requires the State Librarian to use amounts in the Fund, subject to appropriation, to implement and administer the Act.  Amends the State Mandates Act to require implementation without reimbursement. 

We are asking the Illinois library community to immediately contact yourelected official in the Illinois General Assembly.

Talking Points
ILA supports local control.  Local officials -- library trustees, librarians, and other professional library staff -- are the most qualified to decide how Internet access should be provided to their patrons.  Senate Bill 2784 overrules all local decisions and imposes a "one size fits all" approach.  It is especially important that school and public libraries that have installed filters call. While this bill would not impact your operations, please state your opposition to the bill and stress the importance of local control!

Filters Hurt Libraries
This legislation is an unfunded mandate that overrides local control.


Filters Don't Work
Study after study have demonstrated that filters consistently block important information on science, health, political, and social issues and regularly allow objectionable material to get through.  This creates new liability for libraries.

Filters are Expensive
Paying for filters diverts scarce resources from limited technology budgets -- money that could go to buying more computers, and paying for more reliable and faster Internet access.

Filters are Inflexible
Filters don't know if the person using the computer is 5, 21, or 65.  This "one size fits all" approach treats adults, even senior citizens, like elementary school children.  The user doesn't even know what they are being prevented from accessing.  We can't expect patrons to ask to unblock computers when they don't know what that particular filter has blocked.   


Filters are Biased
Private companies and groups with commercial, political, or religious agendas design filters to block what THEY find objectionable, including political candidates, social causes, basic health information, and even information on their own product's faults.

Filters Hurt the Poor
Less-wealthy communities are the most in need of technology because more of their patrons lack these resources at home.  This legislation forces less-affluent areas to choose between filling this need or spending money just to block access.

Finally, the Illinois library community has been a leader in promoting Internet safety and supports all efforts particularly funded efforts in promoting Internet safety.

Start calling now. 

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