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Weekly News Digest

December 26, 2000 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.

CLICK HERE to view all of this week's Weekly News Digest items.

Internet Filtering Bill Passes Congress

A new federal law that mandates Internet filtering was passed on December 15 by Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Clinton. The Children's Internet Protection Act (which was a rider attached to an appropriations bill) mandates that any school or library that refuses to install Internet filtering software on its computers will lose federal funds for technology upgrades. The Communications Decency Act, an earlier law that restricted Internet-based content, had been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

The American Library Association's Washington Office (http://www.ala.org/washoff) had urged librarians to oppose the bill, stating that, "Federal filtering mandates are not the answer to the very complex question of objectionable Internet material." The American Civil Liberties Union (http://www.aclu.org) has said it will challenge the new law. The American Center for Law and Justice (http://www.aclj.org), a public-interest law firm, has said that it will offer to defend it.

David Bender, executive director of the Special Libraries Association (SLA; http://www.sla.org), said: "SLA has always believed that information professionals and those who manage libraries are best suited to make critical decisions regarding the filtering of information to users. We maintain that outlook despite the U.S. Congress' decision to tie universal service discounts to the implementation of filtering policies. Information professionals across the U.S. will no doubt respect federal law but continue to negotiate for local control."

Sources: American Library Association, American Civil Liberties Union, American Center for Law and Justice, Special Libraries Association



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