The Electronic Information Network (eiNetwork), a collaborative venture of the Allegheny County Library Association and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, is a consortium of 46 participating libraries with more than 70 locations in Allegheny County. The eiNetwork provides and supports the technology infrastructure that allows each library to impact, provide outreach, and service their communities. The technology infrastructure includes local and wide area network connectivity, integrated library catalog system, internet access, and end user/desktop devices and support.
This “Public Internet and Computer Use Policy” is intended to provide information and guidance for the administrators and Trustees of participating libraries, their employees, and library patrons regarding eiNetwork’s compliance with federal and state laws concerning the use of our computers and network.
- It is eiNetwork’s policy to comply with all applicable federal and state laws governing the use of library computers and the Internet and to require participating libraries to comply with those laws.
- eiNetwork is committed to providing participating libraries and their patrons with access to technology and electronic information for the education and enrichment of the communities we serve.
- eiNetwork receives federal assistance under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to provide the network connection for participating libraries. Each eiNetwork participating library is therefore required to have, and has adopted, an Internet Usage Policy that complies with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), 20 U.S. Code § 9134.
Privacy and Access
- eiNetwork and participating libraries are committed to respecting and protecting the privacy of patrons and employees.
- Except as provided in this Policy Statement or otherwise required by law, eiNetwork staff will not monitor, control, or restrict library patron computer or online information access.
- Patrons must keep in mind that library provided public devices are neither private nor secure and must utilize judgment and discretion when using a library computer. Certain Internet use data may be lawfully obtained by law enforcement authorities. The eiNetwork assumes no liability for any violation of privacy of individual patrons who use library computers.
- Internet access in eiNetwork participating libraries is provided at a discounted rate through funding from the E-Rate program established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires all computer terminals to utilize technology protection measures or filtering software as a prerequisite for funding under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Under CIPA, Congress mandated that the filtering software must protect against access through library computers of certain material that is obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 upheld this requirement as constitutional under the First Amendment.
- All eiNetwork participating libraries have certified their compliance with the requirements of CIPA and all computers in those libraries utilize filtering software.
- eiNetwork provides filtering software that it has reasonably determined to be CIPA compliant. This software is installed on all participating libraries’ computers. Nonetheless, Congress and the Supreme Court have both recognized that filtering software is inherently unreliable and can over-block or under-block access on the worldwide web.
- When over-blocking occurs, library patrons can be denied access to sites with educational value and appropriate information. When under-blocking occurs, library patrons, including children, can be afforded access to sites that contain illegal, obscene, or sexually explicit material. The eiNetwork assumes no liability for any consequences caused by over- or under-blocking of material by the filtering software.
- A participating library may decide to implement more stringent filtering policies than are embedded in the filtering software provided to it by eiNetwork; the filtering software may be adjusted by that library accordingly. The eiNetwork does not take responsibility for any decisions made by a participating library to adopt a more protective approach to Internet access.
- Under CIPA, library staff should disable a filter for adults (age 17 or older) when requested; library staff should also override the filter for minors (age 16 or younger) in the event that the filter erroneously blocks access to a site. The Supreme Court has emphasized the importance of this aspect of the law in its decision to uphold CIPA. The filtering software implemented by eiNetwork allows disabling of the filter at each workstation, as provided by the statute. However, eiNetwork is not involved in or responsible for any library staff decision to disable or not to disable in any specific situation.
Compliance with Other Federal and State Laws
- Users of any eiNetwork computer, Internet connection, or database must comply fully with federal, state, and local laws, with library rules and policies. Additionally, users may be required to comply with the laws of other jurisdictions and the rules and policies of other systems and networks when engaging in electronic communications with persons in other jurisdictions or on other systems and networks.
- Users must comply with the terms and conditions of applicable contracts, including software licenses, and must refrain from any activity that violates the intellectual property rights of others.
- Users may not use any eiNetwork computer, Internet connection, or database in any manner that could be reasonably expected to disrupt or impair normal network use and service; to gain unauthorized access to any computer, system, or database; to violate the privacy of any person; to transmit, develop, or propagate any computer virus or other harmful program; or to circumvent computer-security or data-protection measures.
- eiNetwork participating library computers and Internet connections are intended for research, education, community economic development, and public service. Users may not send spam or engage in illegal activities via these computers and connections.
- Libraries that participate in eiNetwork shall make reasonable efforts to inform employees and users of the policies governing the use of eiNetwork computers, Internet connections, and databases. Each participating library shall also make reasonable efforts to ensure compliance with this Policy Statement and with state and federal laws applicable to use of that library’s computers.
- Should any participating library intentionally or negligently fail to comply with the requirements of CIPA or fail to certify compliance, eiNetwork has the right to require that the non-complying library disconnect its eiNetwork Internet connection and pay eiNetwork for any allocable E-Rate discount received during such noncompliance.
--Updated April 2022