White House wants gentler Web filter

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The White House is pressing Congress to soften an initative that would require schools and libraries to use filtering software to keep children from seeing objectionable Internet sites. It suggests that such decisions be left to local authorities.

Polls show Americans want children protected from Web smut, however, and Republicans in Congress are leaving little room for change. They note the legislation has bipartisan support.

"Everyone in the House supports this," said John Albaugh, chief of staff for Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., one of the measure’s sponsors. "I don’t believe that this is an item that anyone’s going to move on in the House."

The legislation is attached to a federal spending bill Congress must pass before adjourning.

The White House is pressing to change the language that mandates filters in public libraries and schools and to let communities choose the best way to protect their children. Vice President Al Gore supports the White House position.

"We would favor requiring schools and libraries to develop their own plans," White House spokesman Elliot Diringer said. "We think it should be left to the community’s discretion."

As an example, Diringer said communities could use either parental volunteers or technology to monitor children’s online activity.

White House officials said, however, if the bill arrives on Clinton’s desk with the filter requirement unchanged, the president probably would sign it because it includes money for other education priorities.

If signed, the law would require communities to install Internet filtering software in schools and libraries to block out World Wide Web sites with explicit images, hate speech or other objectionable content. If they failed to do so, the institutions would get no federal money for Internet access.

A congressional advisory commission on preventing child pornography also weighed in Friday, declining to endorse or advise against such filters although it expressed some reservations about the technology.

"This technology raises First Amendment concerns because of its potential to be overinclusive in blocking content," said the report by the Child Online Protection Act commission. "Concerns are increased because the extent of blocking is often unclear and not disclosed, and may not be based on parental choices."

The commission advocated an alternative education campaign to tell parents about online dangers and how to protect their children including by personal use of filters. It also urged more money for law enforcement agencies to prosecute online obscenity and child pornography.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

A house fire seriously injured two people Friday evening, June 14, in Edmonds, Washington. (Courtesy of South County Fire.)
1 killed, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Edmonds house fire

South County Fire crews pulled the man and woman from the burning home around 6 p.m. Friday, near 224th Street SW and 72nd Place W.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Hidden costs, delays crush hopeful food truck owners in Snohomish County

Melinda Grenier followed her dream to open Hay Girl Coffee. Thousands in fees later, it has cost her more than she bargained for.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

New Jersey auto group purchases Lynnwood Lexus dealership land

Holman, which owns Lexus of Seattle in Lynnwood, bought property on which the dealership resides.

Marvin Arellano (Photo provided)
Family: ‘Manic episode’ preceded trooper shooting man on I-5 near Everett

“It’s very, very unfortunate how he was portrayed in his final moments,” Gilbert Arellano said. “He was just such a good person.”

Two visitors comb the beach at Kayak Point Regional County Park on Friday, June 14, 2024, in Tulalip, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kayak Point reopens ahead of schedule

The county’s most popular park reopened Friday.

Grauates throw their caps in the air at the end of Arlington High School graduation at Angel of the Winds Arena on Thursday, June 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘So worth it’: Snohomish County graduates step into their futures

Alyssa Acosta, who is Harvard-bound, was one of thousands to walk the stage at Angel of the Winds Arena this month to get high school diplomas.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.