Statement by Jeri McGiverin to Loudoun County Library Board.
Re: Loudoun County Library Internet Filtering Policy.
Date: December 1, 1998.
Source: Jeri McGiverin. Jeri McGiverin gave a photocopy of the prepared statement which she read at the hearing to Tech Law Journal. TLJ created this document by scanning the original and converting it to HTML.
A Voice for Moderation
Library Board of Trustees Meeting: December 1, 1998
Contacts: Jeri McGiverin, 777-8569 or Elaine Williamson, 777-1284
Good Evening. I am Jeri McGiverin, President of Mainstream Loudoun. In the interest of saving time, I will be speaking tonight for Mainstream Loudoun and those who support us.
According to press accounts, the Library Board will be considering adopting a less restrictive Internet access policy in order to conform to the constitutional mandate of the recent court decision. Assuming these accounts are accurate, Mainstream Loudoun applauds the Board's efforts to find a workable and constitutional solution that maximizes free access to information while promoting individual choice and family values.
From the beginning, we have believed that a reasonable compromise is possible, as we described in our September 3, 1997 letter to the Board. We believe now, as we did then, that Internet content filtering may be acceptable so long as it is truly voluntary and not adopted as the default position, and so long as individual choices are respected. These concepts must also be considered regarding the rights of parents.
To reiterate: We do not oppose reasonable regulation of children's access to library computers. For example, we endorse the concept of actively directing children to positive information available on the Internet, and we support requiring minors to have written parental permission before Internet access is allowed, and for the permission to include the parent's choice of filtering software,
Whether Internet access for minors should be with or without filtering software is a decision best left to each parent. Because filtering software often fails to block what it is intended to block, parents must be included as much as possible in decisions regarding their children's Internet use. Unfortunately, some filtering proponents speak of filters as though they were failsafe programs, creating a false sense of security for parents, who may then erroneously assume that as long as filters are present, their guidance is not necessary.
Measures other than the use of filters, such as the installation of privacy screens, also may be appropriate.
Mainstream Loudoun regrets that a decision was made to close Internet access in the Libraries in the interim. As we informed Judge Brinkema, we are willing to accept a reasonable compromise to keep the Internet up and running in our libraries until the Board fashions a new policy, Mainstream Loudoun still stands ready to work with the Board to restore Internet access at the earliest possible time.
We look forward to an expeditious conclusion of this issue and a return to maintaining Loudoun's excellent library system as the focus of this Boards work.