The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) would deny E-Rate funds to libraries that do not block whatever social networking sites and chat services the FCC puts on a “bad” list.
DOPA has just been passed by the house and is now in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
At ALA Annual in New Orleans, ALA Council passed the following resolution on DOPA. The text of it was just distributed by ALA’s Don Wood.
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS
WHEREAS, the online environment is an essential and growing part of economic, cultural, civic and social life; and
WHEREAS, the use of new Internet-based applications for collaboration and learning are increasingly important; and
WHEREAS, learning to use the online environment effectively and safely is an essential component of education and is increasingly promoting collaborative learning and social environments; and
WHEREAS, classrooms, school libraries and public libraries are the locations where a major part of this education occurs and where professional teachers and librarians are the adults best trained to educate young people to use online environments effectively and safely; and
WHEREAS, the development of essential information literacy skills require that young people be able to safely and effectively use these important new collaborative tools; and
WHEREAS, schools and libraries are critical environments for learning these skills and already have Internet use policies; and
WHEREAS, H.R. 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), as presently drafted, would require schools and libraries receiving E-rate discounts to block library computer users from accessing collaborative networking sites like MySpace, and would also bar access to a wide array of other important applications and technologies such as instant messaging, e-mail, wikis and blogs; and
WHEREAS, the H.R., 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act, (DOPA) would require schools and libraries receiving E-rate funds to block important access to important new network-based collaborative environments that foster these crucial skills in our young people; and
WHEREAS, “DOPA” would place prior restraints on and denies access to constitutionally protected speech; and
WHEREAS, H.R. 5319 is unnecessary because schools and libraries receiving E-rate funds are already required to block obscene content; now therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association oppose the Deleting Online Predators Act as it is presently drafted; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association affirm the importance of online social networks to library users of all ages for developing and using essential information literacy skills; and be it further
RESOLVED, that ALA ask library supporters to contact their representatives and senators to inform them about the important role “social networking sites” serve in civic participation, collaboration, etc. and about problems caused by mandatory blocking as proposed in H.R. 5319; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that ALA communicate this resolution to the United States Congress and to others, as appropriate.
Adopted by the ALA Council
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
New Orleans, Louisiana