Issue 73, Spring 1999

Schools and libraries receiving federal discounts for Internet service will be required to install censoring software on their computers if the Children’s Internet Protection Act, S. 97, is passed. Introduced by Senators John McCain and Ernest Hollings, he bill is another attempt to restrict youngsters’ access to information. If Utah’s experience with filters in schools and libraries is typical, requiring filters won’t do much to improve education, according to a newly-released study by the Censorware Project. Among the documents banned by Utah are: the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, all of Shakespeare’s plays, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The report also reveals that the log files of the censoring software prove that Utah students are highly unlikely to use the Internet for non-scholastic purposes. At a time when schools and libraries are developing acceptable use policies to encourage youngsters to become discriminating and responsible in their use of computers, free expression advocates are urging policy makers to stop barking up the wrong tree.