IFRT Report

Intellectual Freedom Round Table No. 61, Summer 2006

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Filtering Revisited

Doug Archer

The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School has just released an updated study of Internet filtering, "Internet Filters: A Public Policy Report." It is available for free at www.fepproject.org/policyreports/filters2.pdf

It will come as no surprise to intellectual freedom advocates that the study concludes that filters despite their hype and their CIPA victory at the Supreme Court continue to under block sites they claim to protect against and over block sites with valuable, constitutionally protected content.

Libraries which have chosen not to accept federal funds under CIPA will find that the study affirms their stance. Libraries which have chosen to install filters in order to continue receiving those funds should take another look at the real cost of filtering to themselves and their patrons.

In addition to providing data for those who continue to provide unrestricted Internet access, the report provides practical advice for minimizing the negative effects of filters for those libraries that do use them.