Testimony given by Krisana Finlay on Feb. 27, 2017, in support of SB 82 (Library Technology Use Amendments) before the House Public Utilities, Energy and Technology Standing Committee of the Utah Legislature.
Representatives, I appreciate the opportunity to be here. My name is Krisana Finlay, an intern at Sutherland Institute. I worked as the deputy director of development at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, where I become well aware of pornography’s harms and its connection to other forms of sexual exploitation. I am speaking from my own perspective and on behalf of Bill Duncan, the director of the Center for Family and Society. We are in support of this bill.
Pornography harms developing minds. It alters a child’s developing sexual template. Research substantively shows that adolescents who view pornographic material are more likely to commit sexual offenses, participate in delinquent and criminal behavior, accept rape myths (this is the belief that when a girl says no, she means yes, etc.), participate in risky sexual behaviors and sexting, and be more verbally and/or physically aggressive. Adolescents who view pornography are also more likely to believe rape myths, and be victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and are more likely to report physical and sexual victimization.
We are so concerned about sexual harassment, rape and college sexual assault that we forget we may be turning out perpetrators and victims by making pornographic material readily available for public consumption.
This bill protects our children’s future.
Carla Hayden, previous American Library Association (ALA) president and current Librarian of Congress, spoke against pornography last April, saying:
- Online illegal pornography does not have a place in the public library.
- The 2003 United States v. American Library Association Supreme Court decision, which ruled there is no First Amendment right to Internet pornography in public libraries, was during a time where internet filters blocked important health information, but technology and filters have now improved.
And filtering has improved. The American Library Association’s concern of encountering false positives or “over-blocking” no longer holds ground.
There are filtering systems available with 99.9 percent accuracy in avoiding over-blocking sites. One filtering company is developing state-of-the-art image recognition technology, for both still images and videos, which uses convolutional neural networks that “learn” to recognize pornographic images and videos through artificial intelligence. This system uses a 0-100 scale to determine pornographic content (100 being clean and 0 being hardcore pornography). Accuracy for false positives exceeds 99.5% when the scale is set below 20. A library can easily set its filters to block harmful material while providing legitimate content.1
- Trueman, Patrick A. 2016 Dirty Dozen List Notification. From National Center on Sexual Exploitation. http://3m37tq2euojp3d9gpf4dbqph.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/DD_ALA_2016_Notification-Letter_FINAL2_w-sigs.pdf (accessed February 27, 2017)