I’m not saying that there’s an obvious answer to this question, but a court in the state of Washington has decided that libraries have the right to filter Internet sites available on library Net connections.
The court came to this by choosing among analogies. The Internet is like a library’s collection:
“A public library can decide that it will not include pornography and other adult materials in its collection in accord with its mission and policies and, as explained, no unconstitutionality necessarily results,” wrote the majority, led by Chief Justice Barbara Madsen. “It can make the same choices about Internet access.”
Ok, I can see that. But the Internet is also not like a library’s collection. It is a protocol that gives access to materials, not the materials themselves. Why then should a library be able to control what (legal) materials I want to access? Why isn’t that plain old censorship?
On the third hand, I do understand that libraries may not want porn on display to people who are just passing by a terminal; nor do they look forward to guys viewing porn with one hand in their pocket.
Nevertheless, if I were the judge, I would have decided that libraries ought to be in the open access business, not the censorship business. (Found via ResourceShelf)