The Occult on the Internet

Authored by: Douglas E. Cowan

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769

10.4324/9781315745916.ch53

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Abstract

In the summer of 2010, Salem, Missouri resident Anaka Hunter went to her local public library to research her Wiccan beliefs, as well as the religious traditions of various indigenous peoples in the region. Searching the Internet, however, she was astonished to find access to a number of Web sites blocked by the library’s Internet filter software, much of which was designed originally to filter sexually explicit content from publicly accessible computers. When she complained to the librarian, Hunter was told that these sites would only be unblocked if the librarian ‘felt patrons had a legitimate reason to view the content’ (ACLU, 2012). In Hunter’s case not only would most of the sites not be unblocked, but the librarian also said that she ‘had an “obligation” to call the “proper authorities” to report those who were attempting to access blocked sites if she thought they would misuse the information they were attempting to access’ (Patrick, 2013). The librarian would not comment on what she meant by ‘misuse’ nor who constituted ‘the proper authorities.’

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