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Libraries NI increases monitoring after girl sees user watch porn

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Concern: Deirdre Hargey

Concern: Deirdre Hargey

Concern: Deirdre Hargey

Libraries NI is working to find tighter controls on what people can view on its computers after a young girl witnessed a person watching pornography in a Co Armagh library.

Upper Bann MLA Doug Beattie raised the issue with Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey after a constituent said his daughter saw the person watching the improper material on two occasions in Portadown Library.

Mr Beattie asked the minister what controls are in place and what measures would be taken to prevent material being brought into libraries on portable devices.

Mr Beattie explained that he has been liaising with Libraries NI and the PSNI over the two incidents, which happened in recent months.

"The reason for the question was to see if this was something widespread or not," the MLA said.

"The man who brought the issue to me liaised with me quite a lot and the police took it incredibly seriously and did some checks at the library.

"The library service also put some things in place to ensure that there was a bit of safeguarding going on so I think everybody took it seriously.

"There is a real issue about people who bring in images on external devices and there is still a problem with that."

Ms Hargey stated that Libraries NI is currently working with IT specialists to ascertain what additional software measures and controls can be found to prevent, monitor or reduce the risk of inappropriate material being viewed via portable devices brought into libraries.

She said that in the last two years Libraries NI has received two official complaints relating to people viewing pornography on its computers.

"In addition, in a small number of cases concerns were raised by library users relating to computer use and these were addressed by library staff at the time in the library," Ms Hargey added. "Both my department and Libraries NI take such incidents, and the need to safeguard library users, very seriously.

"The provision of public access terminals [computers] and wi-fi is an important and well used service provided by Libraries NI.

"There are typically over 950,000 sessions delivered annually across the library network and Libraries NI strive to provide the service in a safe and effective way."

She added that Libraries NI has put in place policies and procedures to ensure that incidents are kept down to a minimum and monitoring can be made easier.

Belfast Telegraph