Sunday, February 22, 2015

Illinois HB 2689 to Protect Librarians from Sexual Harassment

Rep. Peter Breen
Illinois HB 2689 (link) "[c]reates the Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act."  Its sponsor, Rep. Peter Breen (link), designed the bill to, among other things, protect librarians from being sexually harassed and having to work in a hostile work environment that is the direct result of library patrons viewing unfiltered pornography including child pornography.
Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act:  HB 2689 requires internet filters on public library computers to prevent the viewing of hard-core pornography on those computers.  Breen emphatically stated that, “I’ve heard from many moms over the years that adult men are regularly viewing hard-core pornography on public library computers, in full view of children and others.  This is an abuse of taxpayer resources and creates a hostile environment for public library employees and patrons.  No child should have to walk past obscene and abusive material in order to take advantage of the educational opportunities available at their public library.”
No doubt the American Library Association [ALA] and the Illinois Library Association [ILA] will work to see the defeat of this bill because promoting child pornography (link) and "constitutionally protected" pornography (link) trumps protecting librarians from sexual harassment and having to work in a hostile work environment.  Indeed, ALA recently revealed that librarians have never been sexually harassed and likely never will be (link).  To admit otherwise is to admit its own policy applied locally is at fault.

Prediction: the usual excuses will be laid out by ALA/ILA as to why the bill should fail.
  1. It's overbroad, which it is not as it tracks the federal Children's Internet Protection Act [CIPA] law.
  2. It takes away local control, but it actually restores local control from ALA/ILA that has effectively taken away local control by massively pressuring libraries to follow ALA diktat.
  3. It violates freedom of speech, the First Amendment, and intellectual freedom, but CIPA has already been ruled to be constitutional by the US Supreme Court that ruled that pornography may be completely blocked with filters without violating the First Amendment.  See United States v. American Library Association (link), 539 US 194 (2003).  By the way, in Illinois, Internet porn in public libraries is illegal under existing state law (link).
  4. Internet filters do not work well.  The reality is ALA was forced to admit library Internet filters work well (link) and the Federal Communications Commission recently revealed library filters work really well, communities should get to decide whether to use them, and librarians need to reconsider old grudges against filters (link).
Prediction: ILA will order local libraries to crank up library Internet filter strength to block nearly everything possible, having placed handouts at the computers urging patrons to call to oppose the filters.  Or libraries will simply turn off the computers and leave up signs about the draconian HB 2689 that must be defeated, riling up the people to call the legislature to kill the bill.  It's as if ILA controls local community resources and the people managing them because I sure would not want my local library's filters turned up or computers cut off just so some state library association can astroturf fake support.

Both those predictions are easy to make because both have already occurred and have successfully misled people.  Examples and more:
Sponsor Pete Breen is on the right track.  CIPA author Ernest Istook specifically stated how ALA misleads up to a third of American libraries into allowing porn despite the law.  He specifically laid out exactly how ALA misleads people, and no doubt the same misleading tactics will be at work against HB 2689.  He specifically advises legislators to use the federal CIPA model to create similar law like the Illinois state Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act.  So to see how Pete Breen is on the right track, read what the CIPA author said about how ALA misleads and what can be done to stop it:
Did you notice how the CIPA author spoke out on behalf of sexually harassed librarians? "Many librarians complain that if you make pornography freely accessible, oh, and the behaviors that come with it, you create a hostile work environment."

They do complain but you won't hear it in Library Journal or ALA's own American Libraries.  What the CIPA author said about sexually harassed librarians never made it into library media.  They are protecting the very policy that harms communities and creates hostile work environments for librarians.  When they do write about it, they mock it, like calling it "poppycock" (link).  Are you a sexually harassed librarian?  Your library media is working to bury anything that could help you.

It is really good that federal and state legislators are speaking up for sexually harassed librarians.  Bravo, Representative Peter Breen.

Now it's time for the people of Illinois to expect ALA/ILA to promulgate the usual false astroturfing and to stop letting them control your local communities.  If you won't do it for yourselves, do it for the sexually harassed librarians forced to work in hostile work environments—Illinois public libraries.


Exactly as I predicted, the Illinois Library Association has pulled out the exact same tried and true lies to mislead people yet again:

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