Web Filtering for LibrariesHome / Security Articles / Web Filtering for Libraries
Library computers should allow the public to access the widest possible range of information, yet web filtering for libraries is usually installed to control the websites that can be accessed.
There are critics of web filtering for libraries, although few would argue that patrons should be able to access pornographic websites or gambling and gaming sites in a place of learning. A web filter allows libraries to carefully control the types of content that can be accessed over their wired and wireless networks and places certain limits on the type of web content that can be viewed.
Librarians may wish to prevent potentially harmful material from being accessed via the Internet, but web filtering for libraries is also necessary in U.S. for any library that wishes to apply for discounts on telecommunications and Internet access under the E-rate program (Universal Service Fund for Schools and Libraries Program) administered by the Federal Communications Commission. Similarly, web filtering for libraries is a prerequisite for applying for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants.
Following the passing of the Children´s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in 2000, in order to be eligible to receive an LSTA grant or apply for discounts under the E-rate program, libraries (and schools) must implement “technology protection measures” to ensure minors are prevented from accessing obscene images such as those of a pornographic nature, images of child abuse, or pictures that could otherwise cause harm.
Libraries must also adopt an Internet safety policy to ensure minors are kept safe and secure online, specifically when using email and other forms of electronic communication including chat rooms. Policies must also cover unlawful activities such as hacking and illegal file-sharing and the disclosure or dissemination of minors’ personal information.
Web filtering for libraries is not mandatory if libraries choose not to apply for federal grants and discounts, although twenty-four states have now introduced legislation that requires libraries to implement some form of Internet control to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate material.
Controls should naturally be put in place to limit access to inappropriate content on library computers; however, WiFi filtering for libraries is also necessary to control the content that can be accessed on personal devices connected to library WiFi networks. CIPA requires web filtering for libraries to protect users of wired and WiFi networks.
Before choosing any Internet filtering solution, it is important to ensure that it can be used to control content that can be accessed over wired and WiFi networks in order to comply with CIPA legislation.
Potential Problems with Web Filtering for Libraries
Web filtering for libraries will ensure minors are protected when accessing the Internet from personal devices connected to library Wi-Fi networks and when using library computers; however, blocking access to all sexual content can cause problems.
Pornographic images should be blocked, but it is important to ensure that minors can access resources on sexual education. If may not be possible for minors to read information on LBGT issues on home computers or personal devices. Libraries may be the only locations where minors feel comfortable enough to access such material. If a web filter is not carefully applied, valuable educational information may be accidentally blocked.
Web filtering for libraries may have an impact on Internet access speeds; increasing the time it takes for webpages to be loaded. All web filtering solutions will involve some degree of latency, although DNS-based web filters will have no noticeable effect on Internet speed.
WebTitan Cloud is a 100% cloud-based web filtering solution that is ideal for use in libraries of all sizes.
WebTitan Cloud has excellent scalability with no limit placed on the number of users or WiFi access points that can be protected. There is also no need for any additional hardware to be purchased and software installations are not required. Installation is therefore a quick and easy process. After signing up for the service, libraries will be able to start filtering the Internet in a matter of minutes.
WebTitan offers libraries an exceptional level of control over the content that can be accessed via their wired and wireless networks. It is possible to filter by category or keyword and block specific webpages or entire websites. Highly granular controls ensure that pornographic images can be blocked for CIPA compliance without limiting access to educational sexual content.
The solution can be administered from a web-based control panel which can be accessed from a laptop, computer, or tablet from any location. Applying acceptable usage policies is also a straightforward task that requires no IT skills. Web and WiFi filtering for libraries could not be any easier.
The best way to discover the full benefits of WebTitan Cloud and to determine if it is the right solution for your library is to try the solution before committing to a purchase.
WebTitan Cloud is available on a 30-day free trial with no obligation to purchase at the end of the trial period. You will receive assistance installing WebTitan and configuring the web filtering controls and you will be able to take advantage of full technical and customer support for the entire duration of the trial.
If you have any questions about Web and WiFi filtering for libraries or you want to find out more about WebTitan Cloud, contact one of our sales advisors today. You will be provided with full information about our free trial and you will be guided through the simple process of installing our solution.
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