Some links to basic reports, articles and other documents on internet content regulation in general and on filtering and rating in libraries – and the intellectual freedom implications of such measures. [Note that some of these links are historical and may no longer work but information has been left visible for record purposes]

Access Denied: The Impact of Internet Filtering Software on the Gay and Lesbian Community

Issued by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). This report concludes that most filtering products categorize and block all information about gays and lesbians in the same manner that they block sexually explicit and pornographic material.

The Constitutionality of Mandated Access Controls

An article proposing a model of mandated access control by Lawrence Lessig and Paul Resnik. Published in Michigan Law Review (fall, 1999).

Bertelsmann Foundation’s Self-Regulation of Internet Content proposal

A report produced by Dr. Marcel Marchill and Jens Waltermann advocating the development of self-regulatory mechanism to protect children online as well as free speech.

Censored Internet Access in Utah Public Schools and Libraries

Issued by the Censorware Project. This report that examines the state of Utah’s use of a commercial internet censoring product in all Utah public schools and some public libraries. It found that the material blocked includes the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, all of Shakespeare’s plays, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Censorship in a Box: Why Blocking Software is Wrong for Public Libraries

Issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. Proposes five guidelines for libraries and schools looking for alternatives to clumsy and ineffective blocking software. The report also includes a two-page “Q&A” on blocking software and examples of sites that have been blocked by various products.

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), Learning, Speaking, and Thinking Freely: The First Amendment in Schools

NCAC presents the following collection of materials on the topic of censorship in schools for the use of students, educators, and parents everywhere

Dangerous Access 2000: Uncovering Pornography in America’s Libraries. Released, March 15, 2000

Issued by Filtering Facts. The report concludes that there can be no doubt that open access to pornography for children in public libraries poses a growing social problem. While these monitoring or “tap on the shoulder” policies are much better than no policy, but the employment of filtering software on all public library Internet terminals used by children is a much better solution.

Safer Internet Programme

The Safer Internet plus programme aims to promote safer use of the Internet and new online technologies, particularly for children, and to fight against illegal content and content unwanted by the end-user, as part of a coherent approach by the European Union.

Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?: How Rating and Blocking Proposals May Torch Free Speech on the Internet

White paper issued by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The principal authors are Ann Beeson and Chris Hansen of the ACLU Legal Department and ACLU Associate Director Barry Steinhardt. Responds to the variety of schemes in USA to regulate and block controversial online speech and examines the longer-term implications for the Internet of rating and blocking schemes.

Faulty Filters: How Content Filters Block Access to Kid-Friendly Information on the Internet

Issued by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Report found that filtered search engines reduced access to constitutionally protected and valuable content available on the World Wide Web. It concluded that a “family-friendly search engine” typically blocked access to 95-99 percent of the material available on the Internet that might be of interest to young people.

Final Report of the COPA Commission

The final report of the Commission on Online Child Protection (COPA) presented to the U.S. Congress, October 20, 2000. The report aims to evaluate potential solutions to the problem of restricting children’s access to inappropriate material on the Internet.

Global Internet Liberty Campaign

Negotiating the Global Internet Rating and Filtering System

Article opposing the views of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Self-regulation of Internet Content Proposal by Christopher D. Hunter, Ph.D. Candidate, Annenberg School for Communication University of Pennsylvania, March 2000.

Regardless of Frontiers: Protecting the Human Right to Freedom of Expression on the Global Internet

Report on Internet and Freedom of Expression issues produced by Global Internet Liberty Campaign, which is a group of human rights and civil liberties organizations. Written by James X. Dempsey, senior staff counsel, and Daniel J. Weitzner, deputy director, Center for Democracy and Technology, with the assistance of other members of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign.

Survey of Internet Access Management in Public Libraries

A survey prepared for the American Library Association by the Library Research Center, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, June 2000. Among other findings, the survey found that almost 95 percent of public libraries have a formal policy in place to regulate public use of the Internet

Managing Access to the Internet in Public Libraries [MAIPLE]”

Research report from project carried out in the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University 2012 -2014 investigating measures to regulate public use of the Internet. The research found that almost all public libraries in the UK use content filtering/ blocking software and that this has an adverse impact on users’ freedom of access to information.