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Disabling Filters

Under some circumstances, Internet filters may be legally disabled. While forbidding Internet users to disable the filters themselves, the law permits a school or library administrator to disable filtering software in order to allow bona fide research or other lawful use by an adult. However, the law does not specify what constitutes such usage. In its April 2001 rules, the FCC acknowledged criticism of this measure: libraries complained that the law’s vague-ness meant they would be required to spend considerable time determining the validity of each adult request for filter disabling. Nevertheless, the FCC here, too, declined to be more specific. The commission noted that prescribing rules would “have a chilling effect” on adults’ Internet usage and “significantly impinge” on library staff time and resources. As such all libraries must develop their own policies.

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