United States v. American Library Association, Inc., 539 U.S. 194, 7 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next



Opinion of Rehnquist, C. J.

By connecting to the Internet, public libraries provide patrons with a vast amount of valuable information. But there is also an enormous amount of pornography on the Internet, much of which is easily obtained. 201 F. Supp. 2d 401, 419 (ED Pa. 2002). The accessibility of this material has created serious problems for libraries, which have found that patrons of all ages, including minors, regularly search for online pornography. Id., at 406. Some patrons also expose others to pornographic images by leaving them displayed on Internet terminals or printed at library printers. Id., at 423.

Upon discovering these problems, Congress became concerned that the E-rate and LSTA programs were facilitating access to illegal and harmful pornography. S. Rep. No. 105-226, p. 5 (1998). Congress learned that adults "us[e] library computers to access pornography that is then exposed to staff, passersby, and children," and that "minors acces[s] child and adult pornography in libraries." 1

But Congress also learned that filtering software that blocks access to pornographic Web sites could provide a reasonably effective way to prevent such uses of library resources. Id., at 20-26. By 2000, before Congress enacted CIPA, almost 17% of public libraries used such software on at least some of their Internet terminals, and 7% had filters on all of them. Library Research Center of U. Ill., Survey of Internet Access Management in Public Libraries 8, http:// alexia.lis.uiuc.edu/gslis/research/internet.pdf. A library can

1 The Children's Internet Protection Act: Hearing on S. 97 before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 106th Cong., 1st Sess., 49 (1999) (prepared statement of Bruce Taylor, President and Chief Counsel, National Law Center for Children and Families). See also Obscene Material Available Via The Internet: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, and Consumer Protection of the House Committee on Commerce, 106th Cong., 2d Sess., 1, 27 (2000) (citing D. Burt, Dangerous Access, 2000 Edition: Uncovering Internet Pornography in America's Libraries (2000)) (noting more than 2,000 incidents of patrons, both adults and minors, using library computers to view online pornography, including obscenity and child pornography).

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007