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January 5, 1995

No decision yet on Pitt policy regarding access to pornography via Internet computer network

No decision has been made on a Univer- sity-wide policy governing access to pornographic materials on the worldwide computer network Internet.

According to Norman Hummon, chairperson of the executive committee for academic computing, a draft policy on the issue has been developed by an ad hoc panel of students, faculty and staff, but it is still under review by senior administration.

"Nothing has been finalized," he stressed.

If previous statements by University officials are any indication, however, some sort of restriction probably will be enacted.

After pornography on the Internet became an issue in early November when Carnegie Mellon University announced that it was going to block access to pornographic material on the Internet, Pitt's Associate Vice Chancellor for Computing and Information Services Paul Stieman issued a statement that said: "We support the actions being taken by Carnegie Mellon to restrict access to pornographic or obscene material on their computer network. It has been and will continue to be the practice of the University of Pittsburgh to respond to all complaints involving offensive materials." In instituting the ban, CMU officials said they were worried that the material violated Pennsylvania's pornography laws and that the university could be held liable. The American Civil Liberties Union has disputed CMU's claim that the Internet materials violate Pennsylvania pornography laws and CMU students have protested the action as censorship.

–Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 27 Issue 9

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