Skip to content

Rope-a-DOPA: Time for ALA to Show Its Stuff

Update: a serious omission… Note that American Libraries was on this story Friday. Thank you, AL!

The irrepressible education advocate Andy Carvin has a great summary of DOPA, which is federalese for “Scared of MySpace.” Like CIPA, the Deleting Online Predators Act is FUD-riddled, flag-waving legislation, this time built on the dubious premise that when instant messaging is outlawed, only outlaws will have instant messaging. Also like CIPA, which it amends, DOPA would require schools and libraries receiving certain types of federal funding to filter out popular social software, though the legislation is so vague that interpretations of the law might encompass even Google. At one point I would have added “or so we hope,” but Google’s capitulation about censorship in China bodes poorly for its advocacy on this issue. Google doesn’t seem to understand that “Don’t be evil” is only meaningful when that maxim is paired with its activist corollary, “Do be good.”

At this point you might think the fearless leaders of the national organization representing libraries were rushing forward to lead the fray on yet another attack on civil liberties, but the Council list, which I monitor daily, spent two days gabbing about a miscommunication between ALA and Project VoteSmart that was as important, in the long run, as one of those conversations about which way to hang the toilet paper.

danah boyd wrote me to ask what LibraryLand was doing, and I replied that my PC was crashing (Thursday was a mountain of a day) and that though I agreed with her, I was hoping this time that I wasn’t the only member among 66,000 appalled by DOPA. Didn’t we just hold an election?

It pleaseth me doth greatly to see Library Garden take a whack at DOPA, since that’s turning into a great blog (sing it, Pete!), and indeed most of the usual suspects in the–ding!–biblioblogosphere are chiming in.

But ALA needs to step up to the plate. Hello, ALA? Are you ready to be good?

Posted on this day, other years: