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Judge OKs Trial on Libraries' Internet Filters

April 09, 1998|Reuters

A federal judge has decided to allow a trial in a high-profile lawsuit against Virginia libraries that use software to try to block Internet smut. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled in Washington that the use of blocking software by public libraries in Loudoun County, Va., raised the possibility of inappropriate government censorship. "The library board may not adopt and enforce content-based restrictions on access to protected Internet speech" unless the county can show the policy is the least onerous means of protecting a compelling government interest, Brinkema wrote. The American Civil Liberties Union, which joined the lawsuit against the Loudoun libraries filed by eight Internet authors last year, said the county would not be able to meet the standard set by Brinkema's ruling. The county library board voted in October to require all library computers accessing the Internet to have software to block material deemed "pornographic" or "harmful to juveniles."

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