A Solution to a Library Porn problem

(to some local Public Libraries)

You seem not to have a solution regarding your concerns regarding people accessing pornography from the Public Library computers. I believe I have a wonderful solution for you!

It accomplishes the goal you wish but does not have any issues with legal concerns due to the First Amendment.

My solution is more of a "psychological solution" than the usual approach of introducing electronic barriers to accessing such pages.

All the computers in the Library's system have a common access method, which any good IT person can access. All the computers in the Library have Filtering software built into their software, and if a specific computer is intended for use by children, that Filtering eliminates the child from accessing offensive web sites. The computers used by adults now have that Filtering software disabled. My suggestion merely augments every Public Library's existing (stated) Policy of the right to monitor use of the Library's computers and network. But not in any way where any threat or punishment was involved.

Consider the following:

A Library patron accesses web-pages which are already recognizable as being unacceptable to children. The (adult) computer he is using does not Filter access to web sites which might be considered offensive to the local community. He does it FOUR times, and the specific computer freely provides access to each such web site, but it also COUNTS those four accesses (easy programming to do within the Filtering Software inside the computer). When he then accesses a FIFTH web-page that would have been blocked in a child's computer, and the count becomes FIVE, the computer would simply INTRODUCE an additional web-page, similar to those which everyone has seen and which are commonly called Pop=Ups. This page would be created by the Village leaders, and it might resemble the following:

The Library Staff seems to think that you may have a Medical or Emotional issue where you might need the assistance of the Chief of Police. The Chief has been alerted and he is aware that he may need to come to the Library to assist you. Is it correct that you might need the Chief of Police to come to the Library now, to be of assistance to you? This computer has alerted the Police Department to let the Chief know that he may need to make a trip to the Library.

The computer would have half a dozen different such messages, which would randomly appear at counts of 5,10,15,20,25,30,35, etc. None would present an actual threat, and all would just be to provide psychological messages to the Patron that Community Standards exist, and that there was a current awareness of what he was doing in the Library.

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The idea is to permit the First Amendment Rights of the Patron, but to constantly introduce a reference that his behavior in a public venue IS getting the attention of Community Law Enforcement Personnel.

The Community could also note a COUNT of 15 and have a Uniformed Officer simply walk through the Library! One would think that such things would get the attention of people who might be challenging Community Standards. Such a visiting Officer would never comment on what was on the Patron's computer screen, UNLESS there was a child nearby who might observe unexpected images and be upset.

Please note that the entire idea is to be mental! No actual Arrest or even any threat of Arrest is ever present. The idea is that extremely few people would repeat the attempt to use your Library for such purposes, so the problem would "disappear"!


This presentation was first placed on the Internet in December 2013.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago