Supreme Court upholds porn-filter mandate

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In a decision affecting First Amendment protections for broadband content, a
divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that Congress can require federally funded
libraries to install anti-pornography filters intended to protect children from
X-rated material.

Even though the blocking software often denies access to some nonporn sites,
six of the nine justices found that a federal mandate does not violate free-speech
rights.

The 6-3 ruling reinstated a law that required libraries to install filters or
give up federal funds.

The court found that the risk of exposing children to pornography in
libraries was a serious problem that outweighed whatever harm filters cause to
First Amendment rights.

"To the extent that libraries wish to offer unfiltered access, they are free
to do so without federal assistance," the court said.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), an author of the filter law,
praised the ruling.

"Parents can now feel secure that when they entrust their children to a
public school or library that there is some level of safety for their children when
they go online," McCain said.

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