Skip to main content

Atlanta libraries admit defeat on prOn Web surfing

I was mildly amused to read over the weekend that the Gwinnett county libraries (opens in new tab)in Georgia have admitted (opens in new tab)that the anti-prOn filtering software installed on library computers is not 100 per cent proof against punters surfing the Net for naughty stuff.

Library officials there have acknowledged that their software can't totally block access to X-rated Web sites.

The issue reportedly surfaced (opens in new tab)when a Lawrenceville woman addressed the Gwinnett County Public Library board earlier this month.

In her presentation, Ruth Hardy said a library board member had dismissed her complaint about seeing a patron viewing pornography on a computer at the Collins Hill branch.

"I want you to understand that graphic, truly pornographic images and videos are currently available to adults and minors on library computers," she said.

Library officials, meanwhile, say they have only had seven complaints about visitors viewing prOn on the library PCs out of a million online sessions last year.

Gwinnett library officials have gone on record as saying that it's very difficult to balance the need to preserve free access to public information for some while protecting others, especially children, from offensive material.

"We're constantly talking about the issues that the community brings to us," said Eddie Suttles, a Gwinnett County Public Library spokesman. "We're always trying to balance those concerns with what we can legally do."

Hmmm - maybe. According to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, however (where else -Ed), at a public library in Norcross, Georgia, last week, it took a journalist under 15 seconds to find pornographic photographs on a computer terminal.

Which kinda shows up the lack of effectiveness of the library's prOn filtering software. Or the fact that journalists have a natural nose for sniffing out pr0n on t'Internet...