CyberPatrol in Boston Libraries/Schools

Last week, Boston Mayor Thomas H. Menino decided to place CyberPatrol on
ALL computer Internet terminals in PUBLIC LIBRARIES, SCHOOLS and COMMUNITY
CENTERS. The "parental controls" feature of Internet Explorer also will be
turned on and programmed to block "any site that has rated itself as
containing more than the proscribed amount of harsh language, violence,
nudity, or sexual themes."

Trustees of Boston Public Library have voted to go along with Menino's
dictate, but the incoming library president has asked for an extension
until March 10 to evaluate CyberPatrol.

Menino is concerned that children can use the Internet to access
inappropriate sites. Until the software is installed, computer use by
children will be supervised by adults.

John Roberts, director of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said:
"Certainly, denying access to this great means of retrieving information in
the very institution whose mandate is to provide information is troubling.
Setting standards for adults to the level deemed suitable for children is a
denial of First Amendment rights." The CLU of Massachusetts is "strongly
considering a challenge."

Simson L. Garfinkel, a technology writer for the Boston Globe, likened
Menino's action to not only tearing pages out of Playboy magazines in the
library, but also to "closing his eyes, grabbing wildly for more magazines,
and tearing them up for good measure."

(I compiled this from the Boston Globe and the ACLU Cyber-liberties Update.)

*       Joey Senat                                          *
*       Doctoral Student                                    *
*       School of Journalism & Mass Communication           *
*       University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill          *
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*       E-Mail:  jsenat@email.unc.edu                       *
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