County attorneys in the heart of Silicon Valley will be asking the courts to decide whether the Santa Clara County Libraries have the legal right to offer unfettered access to the Internet.
The board overseeing the county library system voted yesterday to unanimously to keep offering filter-free Internet access and to ask a judge to rule on the legality of that policy.
The Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was responding to attempts and threats from a pro-filtering group, dubbed Keep the Internet Decent and Safe (KIDS), to have county librarians arrested for exposing minors to pornography, according to county attorney Ann Ravel.
"The KIDS people have been threatening to arrest librarians," Ravel said today. "They are picketing the libraries. They are saying open access is inappropriate."
So instead of waiting for its decision to be challenged, the county will go to the courts to ask for "declaratory relief"--in essence, asking a judge to rule on the issue on "whether the libraries' policy is correct or whether we should be providing filters in the children's rooms or parental consent," Ravel added.
Board members there said that they could use filters that only blocked pornography and illegal materials. But in Santa Clara, officials unanimously went against filtering.