Today the US House of Representatives passed the amended Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) bill by a vote of 410-15. The proposed legislation will now go to the Senate. The Senate may or may not have time to vote on this before their session ends for the year. In the meantime, you can help out in two ways:
1. If your Representative was one of the ones listed below, please email them a quick thank you for opposing DOPA. Representatives who voted against DOPA: Conyers (Detroit, MI), Grijalva (Tuscon, AZ), Hinchey (Saugerties, NY), Honda (San Jose, CA), Kucinich (Cleveland, OH), Lee (Oakland, CA), Zoe Lofgren (San Jose, CA), McDermott (Seattle, WA), Payne (Newark, NJ), Schakowsky (Evanston, IL), Scott (Newport News, VA), Serrano (Bronx, NY), Stark (Fremont, CA), Watson (Los Angeles, CA), Woolsey (Petaluma, CA). Go to www.house.gov for contact info.
2. Start educating your Senators about the importance of social networking sites, which are the types of sites that will be blocked if DOPA passes. Go to www.senate.gov for contact info. Send them (and have parents & teens send) faxes and emails of personal stories about how you or your library patrons use these kinds of sites in productive, educational ways. Let them know what negative impact DOPA will have on libraries and library users if it passes. ALA has five key points that you can reference:
1. The terminology used in DOPA is still overly broad and unclear. As
written, this legislation would block access to many valuable websites
that utilize this type of communication, websites whose benefits
outweigh their detriments.
2. DOPA still ignores the value of Interactive Web applications. New
Internet-based applications for collaboration, business and learning are
becoming increasingly important, and young people must be prepared to
thrive in a work atmosphere where meetings take place online, where
online networks are essential communication tools.
3. Education, not laws blocking access, is the key to safe use of the
Internet. Libraries and schools are where kids learn essential
information literacy skills that go far beyond computer instruction and
web searching. Indeed, DOPA would block usuage of these sites in the
very environments where librarians and teachers can instruct students
about how to use all kinds of applications safely and effectively and
where kids can learn how to report and avoid unsafe sites.
4. Local decision-making – not federal law – is the way to solve the
problems addressed by DOPA. Such decisions are already being made
locally, in part due to the requirements of the Children’s Online
Protection Act (CIPA) for E-rate recipients. This additional
requirement is not necessary.
5. DOPA would restrict access to technology in the communities that need
public access most. H.R. 5319 still, as presently drafted, would
require libraries and schools receiving E-rate discounts through the
Universal Service Program to block computer users from accessing
Interactive Web applications of all kinds, thereby limiting
opportunities for those who do not have Internet access at home. This
unfairly denies the students and library users in schools and libraries
in the poorest communities from accessing appropriate content and from
learning how best to safely manage their own Internet access in
consultation with librarians and teachers.
Thank you for working to ensure that all Americans have easy access to critical Internet resources!
Posted by Beth Yoke