BRISBANE, Australia — A region of Australia is looking at a ban on viewing adult content in libraries.
Recently, in Australia's Sunshine Coast, a mother walking through a local library found an elderly man allegedly watching hardcore porn one of the public computers, according to the Brisbane Times.
After complaining to the library, Alison Sheldon — a former librarian herself — was given the brush-off. Then a letter came telling her the library was not responsible for censoring Internet content and also had no plans to install any kind of filtering. That was her final straw. She took her case to the regional council, reports Sunshine Coast Daily.
As a result, the possibility of user monitoring is under consideration, and anyone found porn-surfing could have computer privileges taken away if such a policy is put into place.
Councilor Anna Grosskreutz, responsible for social policy in the area, took up Sheldon's cause. She called viewing porn in libraries "grubby behavior" and suggested a swipe-card system to track computer users and their viewing and downloading habits.
"You absolutely can develop software around it if you want to," Grosskreutz told Australian Broadcast Corporation Radio. "In fact, councilors and council staff are prohibited from a number of sites within our own computer system, so why wouldn't the same sort of policy be applied to the library?"
As in the U.S. parents are concerned about children in viewing range of library porn. But unlike America, where users can invoke free speech rights, Australian laws, while similar, are somewhat different.
"These are places for families to go to," Grosskreutz said. "If you've got a small percentage who are going to ruin it for everybody, let's get a policy in place."
Grosskreutz said porn surfers can pay for their own Internet service and "do what they like in their own home."
Many in favor of such a ban and some sort of monitoring cite recent court cases over the viewing of child porn in libraries, the Brisbane Times noted.
In March, a 55-year-old Brisbane public library assistant was sentenced to two years' probation after using a library computer to surf for child porn. In December, a man was sentenced to two years in jail for possessing child abuse material he downloaded from Australian library computers.