What should the ALA do after losing the CIPA case in supreme court?

The ALA issued a press release on July 25, outlining its response to the Supreme Court ruling upholding the CIPA requirement that public libraries install Internet filters.

Helping libraries make filtering software work as well as possible for their needs is in the statement as one of the things for ALA to do:

Gathering and making available information and research on the impact of CIPA and filtering on libraries and library users, including information and research on filtering software and evaluative information for libraries selecting and using filtering software,

But its buried amid all of the other activities of documenting why CIPA is so bad, to enable future advocacy against CIPA. I could see ALA putting some effort into continuing the fight, but there really are two agendas at odds here– making it work as well as possible, and documenting that it doesn’t work well. To my taste, the agenda is way too far tipped toward the latter.

When Skip Auld, and ALA Council member, sent a message to the ALA Council listserv that suggested a focus on informing and serving libraries as they make filter choices, he cited me and the study of commercial filter error rates we conducted last year for the Kaiser Family Foundation, and suggested that I be invited to a meeting that ALA is convening to figure out its own plan of action. Someone found that so offensive that she publicly insulted me, calling me “addle-brained”. I guess it could be worse. Larry Lessig once called a project I was working on “The Devil” (though he was careful not to call me the devil, and we subsequently ended up writing a paper together highlighting exactly where we agreed and disagreed.)


About Paul Resnick

Professor, University of Michigan School of Information Personal home page
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