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A Virginia judge last week ruled that a public library's Internet filtering software violated the First Amendment and ordered the library to cease. So the library turned off its Internet access altogether. The Loudon County Public Library case is the first court challenge to the blocking software, which is rare in libraries but has been installed in Orange County's library terminals. "The only thing to do in the circumstances was to comply with the order by turning off the Internet in its entirety," said Ken Bass, a lawyer for the county. Lawyers for a grass-roots group called Mainstream Loudon, which filed the suit, and for the American Civil Liberties Union disagreed. "That would mean that Loudoun County had made the decision to move progressively backward in the information they provide to the public," said Ann Beeson, staff counsel for the ACLU.


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