Kruger Assails Boro Libraries For Not Filtering Porn
On the day the federal law went into effect requiring libraries and schools to install anti-smut software, State Senator Carl Kruger lashed out at the Brooklyn Public Library system for failing to take action to comply with the new statute and for "sitting by idly while our children get an X-rated education on taxpayer-funded computers."
"For several years now, the Brooklyn Public Library has stood by silently as children trooped into its branches and gleefully done what they couldn’t do at home — namely, access pornography on the Internet," said Senator Kruger, whose district includes Canarsie, Mill Basin, Marine Park and other south Brooklyn communities. "Incredibly, the Brooklyn Public Library has refused to install software that successfully filters out most of these lurid sites. Even more incredibly, the library has refused to ever take a public stand on the issue of kids and the X-rated Web - the same Web that you and I pay for with our taxpayer dollars."
"Now, the Brooklyn Public Library has taken this farce one step further. They’re planning to flagrantly and audaciously violate the law," Senator Kruger said.
The federal Children’s Internet Protection Act, passed by Congress in December and takes effect April 20th, requires schools and libraries that accept federal aid to buy computers to install Internet software that will screen out smut. To date, the library has not purchased the necessary screening software," Kruger said.
"At the moment, public libraries with unrestricted Internet access serve as taxpayer-funded peep shows for curious children," said the senator. "I suppose that all those kids who need the library computers to research term papers will just have to wait their turn."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Library Association have sued to nullify the new law, charging that the statute violates the First Amendment and that Internet filters block out some legitimate Web sites, such as those about safe sex or gay rights, while allowing many porn sites through. Kruger called this argument "ridiculous and against every notion of common sense," charging that "just because filters block out only 90 percent of porn sites means we shouldn’t use them at all? If a cancer drug cures only 90 percent of patients, should we throw that out too?"
"The Brooklyn Public Library doesn’t stock Playboy and Penthouse on its magazine racks," said the Brooklyn representative. "Why would it allow kids — and adults, for that matter — to access the same material on its computers? Kids using computers in public places must be shielded from pornography the same way they are protected from smut on television and in movies and magazines," he added.
Senator Kruger noted that Brooklyn public schools, unlike the Brooklyn Public Library, took "the sensible and proactive approach" and installed the screening software long ago. "The school system didn’t wait for a law to remind them that kids shouldn’t be accessing porn on the Web. The library, however, is another story. Not only can they ignore common sense, they believe they an ignore the law," the senator said.
Libraries that violate the new law risk losing their federal aid, "meaning that they won’t be able to afford much of anything then, including computers. That’s one way of eliminating the porn issue," Kruger said.
A spokesman for the senator said the library would not comment on the charges.