Filters to stop porn being viewed at council libraries

FILTERS to block R-rated material will be installed on council library computers across the region after a Tweed councillor expressed concerns about people viewing online pornography.

Cr Carolyn Byrne's move to filter the computers was prompted by a man being caught twice at Murwillumbah Library accessing explicit porn in view of other library users including children in February.

When the man was asked to leave, he became aggressive and staff called police before the man voluntarily left the library.

But he is not the only person caught using council libraries for such purposes.

Cr Byrne said if such explicit material was available on the library shelves there would be a public outcry, so it was appropriate that R-rated and unclassified material was blocked on the computers.

She said the council's administration staff already had filters installed on their computers as did many major companies.

The matter was originally scheduled to come before Thursday night's Tweed Council meeting.

But it was dropped from the schedule after Cr Byrne took the matter before a Richmond-Tweed Regional Library committee meeting instead last Friday.

There the majority of council representatives supported filters being installed across all computers in four Northern Rivers council libraries.

Lismore City Council Mayor Jenny Dowell voted against the move.

But the filter will be administered by that council.

It will collectively cost $1500 and the filter will be installed as soon as possible.

"It's a small cost to protect the innocence of our users," Cr Byrne said. "I don't see it as censorship, I see it as being responsible."

She has asked for a report to come back to the next library meeting to determine whether the filter was "too much or not enough".



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