L.A. City Council Votes Against Library Porn Filters

Apr 27, 2011 11:45 AM PST

LOS ANGELES — The city of Los Angeles won't install filtering software to block porn on library computers, but instead will make the monitors more difficult to be seen by nearby children.

Los Angeles' review of the library system computer policy is one of several that city leaders from across the nation are grappling with.

The debate about what to do with porn viewing continues to be a big issue in Chicago and New York, where leaders there are still trying to hammer out new plans.

But in Los Angeles, libraries are planning to move computers so they cannot easily be seen by someone standing behind the user. The council voted against porn-filtering software for library computers on Tuesday.

City librarian Martin Gomez told the City Council that "it's a slippery slope between 1st Amendment rights and shutting off computers."

Gomez was before the council to discuss an incident at the Chinatown Public Library in late December, when patrons told librarians that adults and children waiting in line to check out books could see an individual viewing porn on a computer.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, at a hearing yesterday, insisted the city should look at filtering software.

"I think we can use that and have people ask our librarians to unblock it for them," he said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is constitutional for schools and libraries to have filters on computers to limit access to some websites.

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