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Intellectual Freedom and Internet Safety

Intellectual Freedom and Internet Safety

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Intellectual Freedom and Internet Safety

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  1. Intellectual Freedom and Internet Safety Information Issues

  2. Intellectual Freedom

  3. Intellectual Freedom (Relating to Libraries)

  4. Intellectual Freedom • The right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction • It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored

  5. Intellectual Freedom • “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.” Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, "The One Un-American Act." Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1 (Jan. 1953): p. 20. • “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” Article 3, Library Bill of Rights

  6. Censorship • Suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous • It can be no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!”

  7. Censorship • Censors can pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it • In effect, a censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone

  8. What Can Be Censored? • The U. S. Supreme Court ruled that there are certain narrow categories of speech that are not protected by the First Amendment: • Obscenity • Child pornography • Defamation • “Fighting words” • Speech that incites immediate and imminent lawless action • The government is also allowed to enforce secrecy of some information when it is considered essential to national security, like troop movements in time of war, classified information about defense, etc.

  9. What Is Obscenity? • Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . .” (1964)

  10. What Is Obscenity? • "(a) whether the 'average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest [characterized by inordinate and unhealthy sexual interest or desire] • (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and • (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

  11. Filtering • Internet access in public libraries is as common as books. Almost all public library outlets offer public access to the Internet • Public libraries offering Internet access have Internet use policies

  12. Filtering • For people without computers at home, work or school, libraries are the number one point of access to the Internet • Research has shown filters block at least 1 out of 5 sites containing legal, useful information. They failed to block an average of 20% of material defined as undesirable

  13. Filtering Google’s SafeSearch Filter - Preferences

  14. Filtering

  15. Filtering

  16. Banned Books

  17. Challenged Books • A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group • A banning is the removal of those materials

  18. Challenged Books • Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others • Most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection

  19. Challenged Books • Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom: • 1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999); • 1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language”; (up 165 since 1999) • 1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group”; (up 89 since 1999) • 842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,”; (up 69 since 1999) • 737 to material considered to be “violent”; (up 107 since 1999) • 515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” (up 18 since 1999) and • 419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)

  20. Challenged Books • Other reasons for challenges included “nudity” (317 challenges, up 20 since 1999), “racism” (267 challenges, up 22 since 1999), “sex education” (224 challenges, up 7 since 1999), and “anti-family” (202 challenges, up 9 since 1999) • The number of challenges and the number of reasons for those challenges do not match, because works are often challenged on more than one ground

  21. Challenged Books • 71% of the challenges were to material in schools or school libraries • Another 24% were to material in public libraries (down two percent since 1999) • 60% of the challenges were brought by parents, 15% by patrons, and 9% by administrators, both down one percent since 1999)

  22. Challenged Books - Wilmington • The parents of a first-grader at Freeman Elementary School in Wilmington, NC, filed a complaint with the school after they read a book their 7-year-old daughter had brought home from the school library. The book entitled King and King tells the story of a character named Prince Bertie who falls in love with a character named Prince Lee. The book is written by two Dutch authors and the publisher says it is for ages 6 and up. It ends with the two princes falling in love and kissing, their lips obscured by a picture of a heart. • The father said his daughter is "not old enough to understand something like that, especially when it is not in our beliefs."The father also said he felt that, "If this book is going to be allowed, I believe it ought to be allowed on more of a high school level.“ The school principal countered by saying "We have a lot of diversity in our schools… What might be inappropriate for one family, in another family is a totally acceptable thing.“ • Due to the families' complaint and an additional compliant filed by another family, a school committee, made up of parents, teachers, and community members, held a meeting in late March [2004] about the book. The school committee voted 8-3 to put the book under lock and key so that only adults, including parents and teachers, are allowed to check it out. • The parents said they were happy with the decision, but not everyone agreed with the ruling. One committee member said, "I feel like it's my responsibility to make it clear that these things exist. It doesn't mean we have to agree with it. It's not about right or wrong…It's just different.“ • Due to the widespread media about the controversy, people from around the country donated additional copies of the book to the school. In fact, the attention has prompted a second printing of the book and a sequel is expected later this spring.

  23. Library Bill of Rights • The American Library Association (ALA) affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services. • I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. • II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

  24. Library Bill of Rights • III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment • IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas • V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views • VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use

  25. Privacy

  26. Privacy • "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

  27. Privacy • “What people read, research or access remains a fundamental matter of privacy. One should be able to access all constitutionally protected information and at the same time feel secure that what one reads, researches or finds through our Nation's libraries is no one's business but their own.” • Barnes and Noble v. Library

  28. Privacy and the Internet • Go to Google, type in your parents’ phone number (or 865-690-5598) • ( • Go to and type in a family member’s name (must include state)

  29. Privacy

  30. Electronic Privacy Information Center • 60 Minutes: Credit Cards and Wireless • • •

  31. Cookies • Mechanism that allows a web site to record your comings and goings, usually without your knowledge or consent • Sites can accurately determine how many people actually visit the site • Sites can store user preferences so that the site can look different for each visitor • E-commerce sites can implement things like shopping carts and "quick checkout" options

  32. Cookies

  33. Spyware/Adware • Any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge • Sometimes called a spybot or tracking software

  34. Spyware/Adware • Programming that is put in someone's computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties • Spyware can get in a computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program

  35. E-mail • Public record? • Play by the rules of your company, university, etc. • Insecure • Never deleted • Commercial E-mail (read policy statements!) • “When you use Gmail, Google's servers automatically record certain information about your use of Gmail. Similar to other web services, Google records information such as account activity (including storage usage, number of log-ins), data displayed or clicked on (including UI elements, ads, links); and other log information (including browser type, IP-address, date and time of access, cookie ID, and referrer URL).”

  36. Internet Safety and Privacy • Internet Safety Task Force • Silly but good FB Safety Video

  37. Other Information Issues (We Don’t Have Time to Discuss) • Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) • Child Online Protection Act (COPPA) • Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) • Funding (State & Federal)