Senate Holds Second Hearing on Mandated Filters

Senate Holds Second Hearing
on Mandated Filters

The Senate Commerce Committee held a second hearing May 20 on S.97, a bill requiring schools and libraries that receive federal e-rate subsidies for Internet connections to install Internet filtering software. However, no librarians were called as witnesses.

The bill’s cosponsor Sen. John R. McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an opening statement that he hoped “this hearing will raise the awareness of parents to the perils of the Internet,” among them Web sites on bombmaking, drugs, and hate messages.

Peter H. Nickerson, spokesman for N2H2, the company that makes the Bess server-based filter, stated at the hearing that the perception of filtering software as flawed or unusable is “naïve and based largely on problems associated with early versions of client-based software that were admittedly crude and ineffective.”

ALA Washington Office Legislative Information Specialist Claudette Tennant told American Libraries that McCain was interested in moving the bill forward and further hearings are unlikely.

Posted May 24, 1999.