May 21, 2003

Oregon library censorware bill (HB 3101) update

HB 3101, the Oregon library censorware bill I discussed earlier, "has stalled in committee after legislative counsel said it is unconstitutional.". noted an AP story, but the original source seems to be an Oregonian story. Note the following:

Librarians contend that a [censorware] requirement would pose significant costs of installing and maintaining software. The Baker County Library District reported it paid $3,000, along with a $1,000 annual maintenance charge, for [censorware] on each of its Internet terminals.

"It's an unfunded mandate," said Connie Bennett, president of the Oregon Library Association and director of the Eugene Public Library. In testimony in late April, Bennett estimated installing [censorware] on Eugene's 89 public computers would carry an initial cost of $267,000 and an annual maintenance cost of $89,000.

[Grumble ... 267k + 89k = 356k ... when do I get paid!]

These sort of costs should thoroughly refute the idea that censorware is in any way like selection. Imagine a line-item in a library budget for special censor employees to look over every reader's shoulder, and stop them from reading any forbidden material. Yet the moment this is done using machines instead of humans, and called "filtering", it acquires a patina of respectability.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on May 21, 2003 11:53 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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