Today, the National Coalition Against Censorship — of which CBLDF is a member — is partnering with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Civic Media at MIT to protest censorship in libraries. Dubbed 404 Day, today is a nation-wide day of action protesting the censorship of the Internet at public libraries.
As a result of Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), public and school libraries are required to install Internet filters to block “harmful to minors” content in order to receive federal funds. The intent is to block obscene material, but many of these filters block constitutionally-protected content, such as LGBTQ content, pagan websites, and educational content. (One of CBLDF’s bloggers ran afoul of the library filters when researching the censorship of RPGs). Libraries that refuse to comply to CIPA by installing filters risk the loss of funding.
CBLDF has fought similar harmful to minors legislation — including CIPA’s overturned predecessor, COPA — because library filters are rarely effective at blocking adults-only material while blocking legitimate educational material. 404 Day is intended to illustrate how ineffective — and ultimately censoring — library filters are.
404 Day will feature teach ins and witness testimonies about how library filters have censored free speech around the nation. From NCAC:
Join us on Friday, April 4th from 3pm-4pm EST for a digital teach-in with some of the top researchers and librarians working to analyze and push back against the use of Internet filters on library computers. Mark your calendars, and check back soon for more information about how you can tune-in.
Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Deputy Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. She has written extensively about CIPA and blocked websites in libraries.
Chris Peterson, a research affiliate at the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab and National Coalition Against Censorship board member. He is currently working on the Mapping Information Access Project.
Sarah Houghton, Director for the San Rafael Public Library in Northern California. She has also blogged as the Librarian in Black for over a decade.
Moderator: April Glaser, activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation
If you have a story to share about library filter fails, let us know! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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