By Rosemary Pollock
LDS Lawmaker Works For Internet Filtering
WASHINGTON, DC -- Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Oklahoma is the House sponsor of the Internet
filtering provision that will provide money for the Labor-HHS bill that will
enable schools and libraries to pay for needed Internet filters. Istook, a
member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believes that
although parents can buy filtering systems for home computers it is the
responsibility of the government to help pay for the cost to schools and
libraries. "When our tax money is used to provide Internet access, it must
also protect our children from obscenity," Istook said.
The legislation that is now pending before Congress would require most
public schools and libraries to install software to block objectionable
sites. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has led the fight saying it is necessary
to protect our children. "It is entirely up to local communities and school
boards to decide what technology to select and how that technology is used
to screen out harmful materials so that our children's minds aren't
polluted," McCain said.
Opponents to the bill include the American Library Association and the
American Civil Liberties Union. In addition, 18 members of the
congressionally created Child Online Protection Act Commission unanimously
rejected mandatory Internet filtering. "Their report points out that there
are lots of different tools," replied Claudette Tennant, assistant director
of the American Library Association's Office of Government Relations.
"There is no component you can look at that, in isolation, is going to solve
the problem. No one thing is perfect. That's really our main complaint
with the approach Congress is taking. They are looking at this as a silver
bullet. It's not," Tennant added.
McCain's measure passed the Senate 95-to-3 and is now part of a
controversial bill that spends government funds from the federal departments
of Labor and Health and Human Services. McCain agrees that parents "are the
first line of defense." Yet he admits most children get on the Internet
outside of the home. "Parents, taxpayers, deserve to have a realistic faith
that, when they entrust their children to our nation's schools and
libraries, that this trust will not be betrayed," he said.
Bill ties U.S. school funding to Internet filtering
Pittsburgh PA Post-Gazette 19Nov00 T2
By Karen MacPherson, Post-Gazette National Bureau