A hot debate comes to a peak in Owosso. The question, should computers at a public library have unfiltered internet access?
The debate got started when a 10-year-old girl told her grandmother she saw a man viewing adult material at a library computer.
Some say, adults should be able to access unfiltered internet at the library.
Others say, it's an issue of child safety, and they don't want their tax dollars paying for porn.
Ronald DeHaas, president of Covenant Eyes, an internet accountability company in Owosso, and supporter of internet filtering at public libraries says, "Censorship is a harsh word, but the fact is, every library in Michigan practices censorship. If you go down to our library and ask 'Where is your pornography section?' We don't have one. There isn't one."
DeHaas says, what's good for books is good for the internet. "I don't like the word censorship. I look at it as community standards. That's what it is. Our community standards is that certain books do not appear in our library. All I'm asking is that we have the same standard for the sites that are on the computers on my tax dollars."
The library is proposing at least one computer to be unfiltered and available to people 18 years or older.
The library says, it's the parents' responsibility to monitor their children's internet activity.
Some say, it's a first amendment right for an adult to view anything they want at a public library.
However, the supreme court decision of the United States versus the American Library Association says the "use of internet filtering software does not violate their patrons' first amendment rights."
Some say, internet filters also block out perfectly acceptable material. However, the Covenant Eyes internet accountability company in Owosso says research on topics like breast cancer or human sexuality are not blocked on the filter's least sensitive setting.
A group has formed to stop the library from having any unfiltered internet access. It's called "Citizens for Filtering Shiawassee District Library Public Access Computers."
There's a public meeting Wednesday, September 23rd at 7PM regarding this issue.
It's at the Owosso Middle School at 219 N. Water Street at 7PM.
Hundreds are expected to attend.