A new bill has been introduced that proposes mandatory use of WiFi filters in libraries in Idaho to prevent wireless networks from being used to view obscene content. Current legislation in the state only applies to wired networks.
In many other states, web filters in libraries are only required for libraries that wish to obtain discounts on their internet services under the e-Rate program. Many libraries choose not to apply for such discounts to enable them to continue to provide full access to all forms of Internet content, instead choosing to implement policies and procedures covering acceptable usage of their computers and WiFi networks.
Policies and procedures are not seen as sufficient in Idaho, which already has one of the strictest laws in the United States covering internet filtering in libraries. In 2011, legislation was introduced that made it mandatory for library web filters to be implemented on any computers that can be used by minors. The bill that was passed was scaled back, with the original bill calling for mandatory use of Internet filters on all library computers.
The new resolution was introduced by an Idaho House State Affairs committee this week along with a new bill – proposed by Rep. Lance Clow (R-Twin Falls) – that requires all libraries in the state to expand their Internet filtering controls to include their WiFi networks.
The concern is that simply connecting to library WiFi networks may allow users to gain access to obscene content. “Families are torn apart because of the proliferation of this material,” said Clow. Pornography is “creating a public health crisis.”
The resolution says the use of pornography has been “linked to a reduced desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity.” The committee wholeheartedly backed the resolution and the new bill, even changing the language to make it clear that young women were also adversely affected by obscene images. A similar resolution was introduced in Utah, on which the Idaho resolution was based.
The use of WiFi filters in libraries is unlikely to cause too many problems, since many filtering solutions that have been implemented already have the capacity to filter both wired and wireless networks. Some libraries have already made the decision to implement Internet filtering controls on their WiFi networks, even though they are not currently required to do so under state laws.
The implementation of WiFi filters in libraries is a quick and easy process with a solution such as WebTitan Cloud for WiFi. WebTitan allows libraries to accurately filter Internet content to prevent obscene images from being accessed without overblocking content. The solution is easy to configure, has a low maintenance overhead, and is one of the cheapest web filtering solutions on the market.
Being DNS based, there is no need for any software installations or hardware purchases. The solution is highly scalable and there is no latency, which makes it a winning solution for libraries and their patrons. WebTitan Cloud can also be easily applied to wired networks.
For further information on WebTitan Cloud and WebTitan Cloud for WiFi, for a product demonstration, and information on a free trial of the solution, contact the TitanHQ team today.
UPDATE: April, 2019: Governor Brad Little has signed the bill into law. Libraries in Idaho will be required to implement filtering technology on their wireless networks by July 1, 2020.