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FYI: EPIC-ALERT 4.10 vom 10.07.97 zur Filterung von Inhalten

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[1] Post-CDA: The "Filtering" Debate Begins

Within days of the Supreme Court's landmark Internet free speech
decision, various approaches are being touted to control and "filter"
online content.  Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), a principal co-sponsor of the
unconstitutional Communications Decency Act (CDA), announced his
intention to "construct new legislation that will pass the Court's
constitutional standard."  Coats' effort is supported by the Christian
Coalition, the Family Research Council, and other proponents of the

While Coats has not yet described his new legislative proposal, Sen.
Patty Murray (D-WA) has spelled out the key provisions of her
soon-to-be introduced "Childsafe Internet Act of 1997."  The Murray
bill would adopt the "filtering" and "blocking" approach endorsed by
some opponents of the CDA, and make it a criminal offense to "misrate"
websites or "exploit childsafe chat rooms."  In a press release
describing her proposed bill, Murray specifically mentioned
"filtering" software such as Cyber Patrol, Net Nanny and Surf Watch
and rating schemes such as PICS (Platform for Internet Content

More information about the CDA is available at:



[2] ALA Opposes Use of "Filtering" Software in Libraries

The American Library Association, lead plaintiff in a companion case
to the ACLU/EPIC challenge to the CDA, adopted a "Resolution on the
Use of Filtering Software in Libraries" at its annual conference on
July 2. The ALA said that "The use in libraries of software filters
which block Constitutionally protected speech is inconsistent with the
United States Constitution and federal law ...."  The ALA also said
that the use of software violated the Library Bill of Rights.

The ALA defines "blocking/filtering" software to include any mechanism
used to restrict access to Internet content based a database (internal
or external to the product) or based on ratings assigned by a third
party (as in the PICS scheme).

The text of the ALA resolution follows:


   WHEREAS, On June 26, 1997, the United States Supreme Court
   issued a sweeping re-affirmation of core First Amendment
   principles and held that communications over the Internet
   deserve the highest level of Constitutional protection; and

   WHEREAS, The Court's most fundamental holding is that
   communications on the Internet deserve the same level of
   Constitutional protection as books, magazines, newspapers,
   and speakers on a street corner soapbox.  The Court found
   that the Internet *constitutes a vast platform from which to
   address and hear from a world-wide audience of millions of
   readers, viewers, researchers, and buyers,* and that *any
   person with a phone line can become a town crier with a voice
   that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox*; and

   WHEREAS, For libraries, the most critical holding of the
   Supreme Court is that libraries that make content available
   on the Internet can continue to do so with the same
   Constitutional protections that apply to the books on
   libraries' shelves; and

   WHEREAS, The Court's conclusion that *the vast democratic
   fora of the Internet* merit full constitutional protection
   will also serve to protect libraries that provide their
   patrons with access to the Internet; and

   WHEREAS, The Court recognized the importance of enabling
   individuals to receive speech from the entire world and to
   speak to the entire world. Libraries provide those
   opportunities to many who would not otherwise have them; and

   WHEREAS, The Supreme Court's decision will protect that
   access; and

   WHEREAS, The use in libraries of software filters which block
   Constitutionally protected speech is inconsistent with the
   United States Constitution and federal law and may lead to
   legal exposure for the library and its governing authorities;
   now, therefore, be it

   RESOLVED, That the American Library Association affirms that
   the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to
   constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill
   of Rights.

More information about the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is
available at:


The Library Bill of Rights is available at:


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Hoffentlich war der Jubel ueber den Sturz des CDA nicht verfrueht. 
Die "Moral Majority" in den U.S.A. scheint nicht locker lassen zu 

Axel H. Horns