GREENSBORO, N.C.—If you can’t censor them, slow them down. That’s apparently the motto of the central library in Greensboro, which is encountering such severe problems with adult users watching porn on library computers that it has decided to go high tech and invest in a device called a “bandwidth shaper” intended to slow down access to porn sites.
There are several products on the market that allow network administrators to manage internet connection bandwidth, usually with a eye toward monitoring usage so that under certain conditions they can slow down non-critical traffic in order to provide critical traffic with more bandwidth and better responsiveness.
In Greensboro’s case, the purpose will be to restrict bandwidth by design.
"It's not filtering [porn]," said Tommy Joseph, manager of technology and reference at the library. "It's discouraging it."
One wonders whether the local chapter of the ACLU will see it that way. If the library can unilaterally decide to “discourage” the accessibility of adult sites, what else could it decide to discourage? Maybe the next time someone needs help finding Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the librarian will suddenly come up with a bad leg.
“Sure, I can find that for you, but it’ll take about two hours. Oh, you’d also like to check out a copy of Left Behind? Coming right up!”