September 25, 2021

South Dakota: Watertown Public Library May Soon See Filters on Computers

From the Watertown Public Opinion:

In an effort to get out in front of potentially illegal activity that could be practiced by some Internet users, the Watertown Regional Library will begin looking at implementing content filters for its public computers connected to the Internet.

During a meeting that attracted members of the public and law enforcement officials Thursday evening, the Library Board listened to concerns about the potentially harmful side effects an unfiltered Internet connection can have on the library’s computers and those who connect to the network wirelessly.

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While there was no mention of such illicit activity having occurred at Watertown Regional Library, City Attorney Justin Goetz, who represented Mayor Steve Thorson in Thorson’s absence, argued it would be wise for the library to come out ahead of any unforeseen controversy before potentially being held liable if such a crime or incident were to occur.

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While sympathetic to the concerns raised by attendees and Goetz, Library Board President Dave Weigel argued that there is a fine line between libraries protecting the unwitting public while maintaining their integrity as an open information source and acting as censors.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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