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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 24, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 28Nov00

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


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