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Senators Call for Universal Internet Filtering 628

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-your-new-child-friendly-web dept.
An Anonymous Coward writes "US senators today made a bipartisan call for the universal implementation of filtering and monitoring technologies on the Internet in order to protect children. Their statement came at the end of a Senate hearing in which civil liberties groups were not invited."
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Senators Call for Universal Internet Filtering

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  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:25PM (#19990893) Homepage Journal
    Is Freenet ready yet? What do you mean they're still coding it in Java?

    • by Longtime_Lurker_Aces (1008565) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:31PM (#19990961)
      Every time one of these stories comes around (and some politician proposes some ludicrous internet filtering/logging/restriction every few months it seems) I always wonder the same thing:

      Are they completely out of touch with technology (it is often a guy in his 60s or 70s proposing the law) and they really see it as a menace and thing these things will solve it, or

      Are they completely aware the program won't do one damned thing to solve any problem, but the propose it anyway just so they can put a blurb in their campaign ads about how they protect children.
      • It's more closely tied to your second point but even that's just PR spin and campaign hype.

        The majority of the push for this sort of thing is money. The allocations of taxpayer money to devote to these pet filtering and monitoring projects will be huge. One particular military subcontractor, Battelle, was already building an _ENORMOUS_ datacenter in Aberdeen, MD, when I left in '07. Why were they building? Most people working at the (existing) tiny site new that it would be mostly devoted to computer science technology but few people knew exactly what. The inside word was that there were going to be enormous contracts coming down the line for processing, indexing, storing, retrieving, and minin gargantuan amounts of data.

        Politicians and top-level businessmen work together for years to figure out how to grant themselves a huge chunk of the taxpayer pie. When the news releases start making it to the headlines it's not a matter for debate anymore--it's after the fact justification. The insider trading knowledge that these folks have, by being able to both write the laws and determine the size of the checks and decide to whom the checks are written, is a golden gift from God for the gravy train.
        • I don't give 'em that much credit for savvy. Both parties in the states are still pimping for the "moral" voters, and support of a sure-to-die, nearly impossible to implement or pay for measure like this is a great way to get you name attached to a moral agenda without actually having to do anything.
        • by Danse (1026) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:07PM (#19991345)

          The inside word was that there were going to be enormous contracts coming down the line for processing, indexing, storing, retrieving, and minin gargantuan amounts of data.
          That's kind of the thing I thought about when they started talking about handouts to the telecoms to get them to keep more data on their customers. I don't know the exact numbers involved, but you can bet that taxpayers are going to be shelling out orders of magnitude more cash than it would cost them to keep the data. All for a system that will be put in place ostensibly to track down terrorists, but which will certainly be abused in short order. The temptation is far too great.
        • by shaitand (626655) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:32PM (#19991613) Journal
          Yup and don't forget the flipside. Large sites that can afford to buy political muscle will have an ace in the hole once the great firewall is in place. After all, nothing shuts down a competitor like a state enforced denial of service.
          • by darkpixel2k (623900) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @12:46AM (#19992707) Homepage
            I hate it when they try and pass it off as a 'save the children' load of crap.
            Think of the children!
            Yeah--go ahead, install a huge monitoring and filtering system. I'm sure no one will abuse it by monitoring and/or filtering other content.

            Zark off senator asshat. I am a responsible parent. I can watch out for my own children.
            • by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @01:53AM (#19993087)
              Exactly. Government is never a good substitute for parenting.
            • by AndersOSU (873247) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:15AM (#19994873)
              Here's where I'm confused, the senators appear to be looking for tech to combat child porn. But the argument they're using to get there (according to TFA) is that the parents need help protecting their children.

              Well which is it? Those are two separate problems with very different solutions. Even if you accomplish the one, you don't necessarily make progress on the other.

              Either you enable a passive filter, and essentially tag (to use a web 2.0 term) the net to help parents with their parenting, or you actively scour the dark corners of the net trying to find predators and child pornographers. How likely do you think it is that a child pornographer is going to get caught in a passive filter? If they were that easy to find they'd be shut down already.

              So which is it senator, do you want to combat child porn, or do you want to help parents parent? If it's the latter lay off the child porn red-herring. Oh wait, you won't get any support from your porn surfing colleagues if you want to filter everything? Too freaking bad, make an honest argument for god's sake.
              • by BVis (267028) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @09:14AM (#19995427)

                How likely do you think it is that a child pornographer is going to get caught in a passive filter? If they were that easy to find they'd be shut down already.
                Things like Freenet, TOR, and open anonymizing proxies make finding these people using filtering or other content-based examination technically impractical already. Sure, you might catch a careless one here or there, but the truth of the matter is child pornographers are probably the most sophisticated users of available privacy enhancing technology in existence. (Hmm, I better keep quiet about that. After all, clearly people who provide and/or sell this technology are supporting terrorism by not allowing the government to know that I'm going to Wikipedia to look up flower arranging.)

                It's hard to filter something when it looks like "(*#U(*YkaJH(*&F()*&G(SER". (Clearly that's a naked 12 year old boy.)

                If the legislators in question REALLY wanted to do something effective they'd allocate funds for more traditional investigatory agencies, like the FBI. Social engineering is how these people get caught; their pursuit of their perversion is ironically their greatest weakness, which can be exploited. But I'm assuming that Congress isn't a logic-free zone, and that they actually want to do something useful.
                • Do something?!? (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by bjk002 (757977)
                  "If the legislators in question REALLY wanted to do something effective..."

                  How about instead of spending billions on even more police to act as parents, we get more money to the PARENTS!

                  Like 2-3 year paid maternity leave for working moms/dads, benefit supplementation for part-time working moms/dads, or greater daycare/workcare allowances. Tax breaks for businesses to encourage working from home? THERE are some GOOD ideas on where we should be spending our tax monies, not adding even more damned pol
            • by mdwh2 (535323) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @09:30AM (#19995613) Journal
              As U.S. District Court Judge Lowell Reed said [ecommercetimes.com]: "Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Arthur B. (806360)
          I mostly agree with you but what has insider trading to do with it? Who needs insider trading when you can directly pick pockets... why expose yourself to a dangerous lawsuit when you can legally steal.
      • by dircha (893383) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:05PM (#19991319)
        "Are they completely aware the program won't do one damned thing to solve any problem, but the propose it anyway just so they can put a blurb in their campaign ads about how they protect children."

        Well you don't have to look far, when voting against a measure like this will guarantee that next election cycle your opponent will run a black and white ad with ominous music saying, "Sen. Jim Bob wants to protect the rights of sexual predators to contact your children on the internet!"

        House races especially are dirty like this. This crap happens all the time, I've even seen it in live debates.

        And you want to know the really sad part? A lot of voters eat this stuff up. If you're average Soccer Mom Susie, all of a sudden you're not sure you can trust the candidate anymore, and if you already hated the candidate, well now he or she is the devil himself.

      • by SQLz (564901) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:29PM (#19991591) Homepage Journal
        Kids are seeing boobies. Is that the world you want to live in!
        • by WeblionX (675030) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:47PM (#19991735) Homepage Journal
          As long as I don't have to see the kids.
        • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@NOSPaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:52PM (#19991771)

          Is that the world you want to live in!

          Not just yes, but Hell Yes! The human body is nothing to be ashamed of, though specific people should be ashamed of thier own body.

          Falcon
          • Bodies (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mark_MF-WN (678030)
            Hey, think about who's passing these laws: ugly-ass dodecagenarians -- the very people who should be the most ashamed of their flabby, liver-spotted old hides. They don't want any competition from a bunch of slinky twenty-year-olds going around without clothes. You think that the average senator wants his wrinkled little finger puppet to be compared to the swinging Bologna of a guy who hasn't passed the half-century mark yet? What about the golfball-in-a-sandwich baggy that a woman of Hillary Clinton's
        • by Lavene (1025400) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @12:53AM (#19992739)

          Kids are seeing boobies. Is that the world you want to live in!
          Sometimes I really wonder what's going on inside the heads of those deciding whats inappropriate or not. I watched an American program about an animal clinic on TV the other night and they blurred the dogs penis and anus???? Who, for the love of Jebus, will suffer any damage from seeing a dog's penis? Who would, unless he/ she already is greatly disturbed, even think there is a need to blur animal genitalia?
          • by Knutsi (959723) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:15AM (#19993485)
            I sometimes wonder if all the drama and secrecy surrounding such things are worse for the kids than actually seeing the real deal. It makes it tempting, and fosters an unnatural attitude towards if. There are loads of cultures where kids grow up seeing boobies, sex and all kinds of "taboos" without going mental.

            It's like when parents get divorced. I, and most of those I know with divorced parents lived happily with parents in separate places, but the _drama_ surrounding the actual divorce hurt some. Those where the parents split up as friends had no problems, since they had a relaxed attitude towards it.

            When we treat something natural as sacrilege, we get messed up! Just look at all those priests abusing kids...

            On a semi-related note, I also remember seeing a great play called "Blackbird" once, that talk about a sexual abuse case. The question raised by the play is whether the court case, the police interrogation, the parents crying, the need for discretion and forcing the kid to lie to his/her friends did far more damage than the act itself could ever have. Worth having a look at when you feel like screaming "Somebody think of the children!" (thank you, South Park, for this amazing quote).

            Note to those who wish to derail the argument: the last example is not to condone abuse of kids, but rather to poke at the way we go about handling such things once they happen.

          • by toQDuj (806112) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @05:08AM (#19994023) Homepage Journal
            I've seen it worse than that. I've seen a university page on water striders (the insects) deliberately blotting out the exact spot where two insects were copulating. I mean, INSECTS.

            B.
          • by ElleyKitten (715519) <kittensunriseNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @08:32AM (#19994993) Journal
            I'm disturbed by doggie penis.

            Maybe the blurring people got bored. If I was a blurrer, I'd blur out random things, like people noses or apples, just to confuse the viewers.
      • Well, consider the people involved. From TFA:

        Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) both argued that Internet was a dangerous place where parents alone will not be able to protect their children.
        For those not keeping track at home, that's Daniel "1.3%" Inouye* and Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens. Not exactly the two sharpest knives in the drawer, particularly on technology issues. They're both 'zombie politicians,' kept around by their respective constituencies only because their seniority puts them in positions to funnel pork-barrel projects back home.

        * Referring, of course, to Inouye's absolutely dismal record at actually getting anything passed, or for that matter, even supporting anything that gets passed. Of 289 bills he sponsored since Jan 21, 1997, only FOUR have become law. And for that, I think we can all be grateful. (source [govtrack.us])
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rtb61 (674572)
          What they are really opposed to, is of course a children's only version of the Internet, that has completely restricted access and content and is completely separate from the open Internet. If you are looking at the Internet for children it is not what you filter out is all about what you let on. Blocking some of the worst content, promotion of alcohol, self destructive behaviour, junk foods and gambling.

          The reality is, if you are really concerned about what children have access to on the Internet, you sh

          • Every once in a while when there's a discussion about the latest ".xxx" or ".porn" TLD, the idea of a ".kids" or ".kids.[countrycode]" domain comes up. (Actually I think ".kids.us" already exists, there's just very little there.)

            While I still think it's a conceptually flawed idea, it's at least better than trying to either censor or round up all of the 'smut' and put it into some sort of a blacklist. Fundamentally, if you're trying to make a 'clean internet,' whitelists are the way to go; not blacklists.

            Putting the 'kids' domain under the CC TLDs is even better, because it avoids having to create some sort of international consensus on what's appropriate for children, which isn't feasible. Whatever the Congresscritters decide is OK for kids (violence = okay!, sex = bad!) in the U.S. can get into .kids.us, and what's OK for kids in France goes in .kids.fr (though I doubt they'd call it "kids"...) and people can restrict access based on their personal values. Enforcement takes place at the name-registrar level; if you don't comply to the standards for that domain, the registration gets pulled.

            The problem with this is is that it's a solution looking for a problem that most people really don't seem to care about.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Stanislav_J (947290)

            The reality is, if you are really concerned about what children have access to on the Internet, you should be able to activate a setting the would lock access to a separate DNS service and a set series of IP addresses that only provides content that has be accessed, reviewed and approved as fit for children web sites, as the web sites would have to be applicable to each of the age ranges for children, obviously what is fit for a young adult is not suitable for a toddler.

            Leaving aside the fruitless bang-

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by edmicman (830206)
              I still don't understand where "Christian==Republican" and "Non-religion==Democrat" came from....and where do other religions such as Muslim fit in? Can they only be Democrats? Or don't they actually belong to any political parties in the US? You do realize there are shades of gray and things don't fall into a black/white paradigm, right?
    • by bakana (918482) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:37PM (#19991659)
      Why do people think it is okay to put the responsibility of the parent onto the government? The parent isn't supposed to just take away access to a TV or Computer; they are supposed to instill discipline and judgment into their child. Even if I was in a room with three TVs and two computers; if I were told by my parent not to turn either of them on, I didn't. Not because I was the model child and didn't get into trouble, but because I was taught that every action has a consequence. We had the old Tandy 1000s in my school, and if you didn't follow the rules you didn't get to play. When the rules were broken there were consequences and we quickly learned to try to not break the rules. We were also taught about dangers and why we shouldn't do things. Stop trying to put your parental responsibility on the government. Do it yourself or don't have children.
    • Do not allow children or right wingers to connect.

      Go form your own network. call it Kids-net. Right wing christians could use it too.
  • by Tuoqui (1091447) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:26PM (#19990901) Journal
    is that any argument that invokes 'Think of the Children' automatically loses. We grew up in a dangerous world, so will they. Its up to the parents to monitor what they're doing not the state.
    • is that any argument that invokes 'Think of the Children' automatically loses

      Much as I'd like to name such an argument after myself, I think Godwin's Law Part II will probably win the day. Any such argument would simply have to bear too much argument to Godwin's Law current.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:58PM (#19991247) Journal

      We grew up in a dangerous world, so will they. Its up to the parents to monitor what they're doing not the state.
      "We" grew up in a dangerous internet enabled world.
      "They" (Senators/Congress/most parents) didn't.

      Parents used to know the locals in their neighborhood and that was enough to adequately monitor their children. Now the neighborhood is everyone on the internet.

      Some of their fears are legitimate, so don't dismiss them out of hand.
      "We" just need to make sure they don't do anything rash.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonwil (467024)
        The problem is that all of the "think of the children" people are concerned more with stopping the kids accessing porn (never mind that those same people used to trade porn magazines behind the shed at school when they were that age) and less about tackling the REAL dangers like identity theft, privacy, fraud etc
        • by Eggplant62 (120514) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @11:06PM (#19991903)
          The real problem is the parents who would rather let their children surf happily on the 'Net as an electronic babysitter. They are only providing themselves with a bit of peace and quiet for a few short moments of their too-busy lives. They're too busy and/or too lazy to actually learn anything about computers and how to properly implement filtering systems; they expect their computers to be as safe as their refrigerator or microwave oven without realizing that the computer is so much more than either appliance.

          You can't set children loose in a world of adults and expect them to be safe, whether that world be electronic or meatspace. The same dangers exist on the 'Net as in the Real World. These parents who think they're doing their children favors by setting them loose on the Internet without any sort of supervision should be set up in stocks for all of us to jeer and throw tomatoes at. That might be very fitting punishment for another stupid, archaic law meant to babysit "The CHILLLL-dren," which is ass coverage for, "I'm TOO BUSY to be an ATTENTIVE PARENT." The bloody thing has an on/off switch, and power cords don't grow on trees. If you're that worried about Junior seeing too much of Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee, use one or hide the other.

          This is the same reason why I'm sitting here at 11 p.m., watching Ferris Bueller on VH1, a channel that I couldn't access without *paying for it*, and the bloody movie is censored to keep these same people from screaming too much about protecting "The CHILLL-dren." Fuck "The CHILLL-dren." You want them protected, they're your children, YOU PROTECT THEM. It's your job, stop pushing it off on the government and the rest of society.
      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:39PM (#19991665) Journal
        When I was a kid in the 60's one of the first books I remember reading and being totally absorbed by was called A wrinkle in time [wikipedia.org]. A few years ago I was dismayed to find out that it was #32 on a list of books most frequently banned by US schools.

        The thing I remeber most about the book is that it was an excellent and entertaining introduction to basic physics and geometry, apparently the thing that the "censors" disliked the most was the fact that witches were involved.

        Seems to me that this kind of censorship can only end in tears. I could see an exception being make is for explicit (pre-pubecent) kiddy-porn, snuff-films and the like, since the material itself is evidence of a vile crime. OTOH: Leaving that material up has proven to be an excellent way to track down highly organised child abuse (re: Denmark in the 90's).

        As a parent who kids are now adults, I agree that parents do/did have ligitimate concerns but somewhere in the back of my head is a voice that says Murdoch has more to do with this than your average parent. ("29,000 perverts deleted from MySpace" - today's coincidental headline).

        As for growing up in a "dangerous world", I can assure you that what was "normal" behaviour in the 60's towards kids would now land you in jail.
      • by Firehed (942385) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:40PM (#19991675) Homepage
        Oh big deal. If you can't teach your kid not to get in a stranger's car, you've failed at parenting. The threats haven't changed, just the rules. Learn them, and teach your kids accordingly.
  • Say what now? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Verteiron (224042) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:27PM (#19990911) Homepage
    From TFA:
    "While filtering and monitoring technologies help parents to screen out offensive content and to monitor their child's online activities, the use of these technologies is far from universal and may not be fool-proof in keeping kids away from adult material," Sen. Inouye said. "In that context, we must evaluate our current efforts to combat child pornography and consider what further measures may be needed to stop the spread of such illegal material over high-speed broadband connections."

    How does he jump from kids seeing pr0n to pr0n of kids? Is this a special type of logic you learn when you get into politics?

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Yes it requires a special type of logic, much like the logic required to comprehend a black hole.

      Sen. Stevens said. "The headlines continue to tell us of children who are victimized online. While the issues are difficult, I believe Congress has an important role to play to ensure that the protections available in other parts of our society find their way to the Internet."

      I'm just curious which kids are victimized online? Last I thought it was going to meet people in the real world is what got kids victimize
      • Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:05PM (#19991317) Journal
        You said "Research" and "Ted Stevens" in the same sentence...I don't know if you remember, but this is Ted "The internet is a series of tubes" Stevens, the guy knows flat nothing about technology...Hell, he probably thinks this is technically feasible, when anyone with a networking background would just start laughing.

        Hopefully fossils like him will just die off or (even better) get thrown out of office and replaced by people who aren't utterly clueless. Our only hope in this situation is for him to kick off, unfortunately, because he'll never stop winning in Alaska as long as he keeps up with the "Bridge to Nowhere" pork projects.
    • Re:Say what now? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:46PM (#19991127) Homepage Journal

      Is this a special type of logic you learn when you get into politics?

      Yep. It's called juxtaposition. See "Al Qaeda in Iraq"
    • Re:Say what now? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wytcld (179112) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:59PM (#19991265) Homepage

      How does he jump from kids seeing pr0n to pr0n of kids?

      He doesn't understand that the computer's not watching him. So then if "kids are being exploited online" ... and as an occasional porn surfer I can testify that the kiddie porn is nowhere some curious kid is at all likely to find it, or adult is at all likely to stumble on by mistake - which is to say I've no idea where it is because obviously those who trade it are well aware they need to hide and keep their groups small. But I digress. In the senator's mind the computer must be directly exploiting kids by luring them to sites where dirty old men instruct the kid to disrobe in front of the computer, while they beam the kids performance out to all their dirty old friends. Or something.

      In other words the senator has no friggin idea what being online is actually like. The worst that happens is some 13 year olds find a few videos of adults at orgies. I've overheard the neighbor kids talking about that as they walk down the street. It's a curiousity, but obviously doesn't mean a lot to them. It wouldn't bother me if that stuff was blocked from such kids, but it doesn't bother me that it's not. It was just in the news that porn site revenues have taken a steep drop in the last year. It seems that our culture's been so saturated with the stuff that people just aren't motivated to buy it like they used to. Maybe the senators figure if they can create a more restrictive environment again, it'll revive the porn industry.

      After all, that's worked well with recreational drugs.

  • 1984 much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:28PM (#19990913)
    Orwell must be looking down and shaking his head.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Orwell must be looking down and shaking his head.
      More like spinning in his grave. If you wrapped copper wire around his corpse and put a magnet on his coffin it would probably yield enough kilowatts to light up your entire neighborhood.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by simcop2387 (703011)
        better to strap the magnets to him, makes it easier to wire up, since then you can just wind around the coffin
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:28PM (#19990917)
    Children and terrorists
    What a nice blessing for any power hungry totalitarian government
  • by JimXugle (921609) <Jim AT xugle DOT com> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:29PM (#19990923)
    I would like to make a bipartisan call for the universal firing of every congress critter who supports this idea in order to protect us from stupidity. Congressmen are not invited to comment on this request.
  • Ironic Tubes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Digitus1337 (671442) <lk_digitus.hotmail@com> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:31PM (#19990951) Homepage
    Anyone else notice that this is being headed by Senator Ted Stevens? Why is anyone listening to him about this kind of a thing?
  • COPA Part Deux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RancidPickle (160946) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:31PM (#19990953) Homepage
    They tried this, and COPA was gutted after the civil liberties folks got back in the loop. I wish Ted 'Series of Tubes' Stevens and Senator 5-0 would stop trying to govern parenting. Heck, isn't Stevens up against the wall for some illicit activities in Alaska? Looks like he can't even protect himself from himself, let alone watching out for other people's kids.

    Let parents deal with kids. If the parents can't do it, there are local resources that can help. Legislating to the family unit won't work. There are more important national things begging for attention, like getting a bridge built to a barely inhabited island in AK.
  • by intrico (100334) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:33PM (#19990975) Homepage
    Freedom is a THREAT to national security! //end sarcasm
  • All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Someone should really explain the concept of "unworkable" to these clowns. Short of shutting down the entire Internet...no, wait! They couldn't possibly be...???

    And they're calling it The Fairness Doctrine???

  • by lilomar (1072448) <lilomar2525@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:35PM (#19990997) Homepage

    "While filtering and monitoring technologies help parents to screen out offensive content and to monitor their child's online activities, the use of these technologies is far from universal and may not be fool-proof in keeping kids away from adult material," Sen. Inouye said.
    Or, to rephrase that:
    "There are ways for parents to keep their kids from the stuff we want to censor out, but we don't trust them to do it. Also, those darn kids are to sneaky for their parents to stop."

    Whatever happened to letting the parents do their job and parent?
  • by mariox19 (632969) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:37PM (#19991031)

    We have Republicans in Congress propositioning their same-sex underage pages, others sleeping with prostitutes, and a Democrat president a few years back getting frisky with his intern and a box of (contraband) Cuban cigars -- and all this makes it onto the news.

    Who's going to protect the children from being exposed to the examples from these pinnacles of morality?

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:38PM (#19991049)
    This has nothing to do with the children... It has everything to do with complete control of YOU.

    VOTE 3rd party immediately.
    • by Khomar (529552) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:47PM (#19991137) Journal
      No need to vote 3rd party: vote for Ron Paul [ronpaul2008.com]. He is basically a libertarian running as a Republican. The more I listen to the guy, the more I like him.
  • by ndogg (158021) <the...rhorn@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:39PM (#19991067) Homepage Journal
    Wasn't the Great Firewall of China implemented to "protect the children?"

    Hmm...
  • by nhz (992573) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:48PM (#19991147)
    Is this really how the U.S. government thinks it should regulate Internet communication and content?

    Let us ban internet content deemed obscene to save our sensitive childrens' eyes. What standards should we use?...Oh, of course, we already have the FCC's handy guidelines for obscene content on over-the-air TV and cable TV broadcasts. Let us just use a similar definition of obscene content to filter out the internet. That is very convenient since the FCC already has a lot of experience in this area, and of course we can apply old laws to new mediums in which they were never intended to regulate.

    Oh, but how will we enforce these new filtering laws? We need to remove anonymity with internet postings (technologically, almost impossible, and if implemented this will essentially remove the best form of communication for whistle blowers that exists). Also, we need to block all foreign internet content if that is obscene, so maybe we should build a whitelist of sites without offensive content...

    ...and after 6 months, let's add certain political speech (i.e. views of those not in power) to the definition of obscene.

    End sarcasm.

    ...and we continue to slide down the slippery slope...
  • by m0nkyman (7101) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:49PM (#19991163) Homepage Journal
    Apparently so are the rest of them. Specifically the first and tenth....

    It's becoming increasingly apparent that the second might need to be taken out and exercised in the near future. :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Apparently so are the rest of them. Specifically the first and tenth....

      Nonsense, the third amendment is still going strong. You're not asked to quarter troops in your home, just support them with your taxes... and put bumperstickers on your car... and silence all political debate because it would embolden the enemy and put our troops at risk.

      Nevermind

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``It's becoming increasingly apparent that the second might need to be taken out and exercised in the near future. :(''

      At least you understand its purpose. But I think education should come first. I mean, people actually voted _for_ Bush in the last elections, when I thought it was completely obvious that bad things had and would come of it. If you can't even get people to vote for a different candidate, what do you expect to gain by armed rebellion? Getting yourself a one way trip to Guantanamo Bay? Replac
  • by PenGun (794213) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:51PM (#19991175) Homepage
    Having stupid friends makes you stupid.
  • by dircha (893383) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:54PM (#19991201)
    "While filtering and monitoring technologies help parents to screen out offensive content and to monitor their child's online activities, the use of these technologies is far from universal and may not be fool-proof in keeping kids away from adult material"

    And the same can be said of the fucking postal system.

    While it's true that parents can screen the letters that arrive at and are sent from their home post office box to somewhat guard against their children using the postal system to solicit, receive, and exchange adult material, the practice of screening by parents is farm from universal and even when applied may not be fool-proof.

    We had better start filtering and monitoring all domestic mail as well. And, my God, what about international mail? We'll have to screen that for sure, maybe even just stop it all.

    And, and, ...oh God no!! What about satellite dishes and even shortwave! Those porn terrorists could be beaming it directly into our homes. Why if a minor were to come into the possession of a electro-magnetic wave receiving device, it could be the end of civilization as we know it!

  • this is why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by woodchip (611770) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @09:55PM (#19991219)
    This is exactly why I think being "bi-partisan" is overrated.
  • Might This Be.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat (756137) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:09PM (#19991365)
    Might this be the first step towards legislating mandatory adoption of Trusted Computing as a way of controlling the internet and content, using the tried-and-true "think of the children!" method of bulldozing reasoned opposition by those that prefer their computers do what *they* want, instead of what corporations and the government wants?

    For those unfamiliar, here's a link to an EFF page on Trusted Computing.

    http://www.eff.org/Infrastructure/trusted_computin g/20031001_tc.php [eff.org]

    Here's another link to an excellent piece by Ross Anderson.

    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html [cam.ac.uk]

    Not trying to be all tinfoil-hat-like, but it seems these days that it's trumped-up issues like this that precede an attempt to limit freedoms and increase control of the population. Awareness of these possibilities is the first and most important step to preventing a world none of us wants to live in.

    Cheers!

    Strat
  • by Software Geek (1097883) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:09PM (#19991367)
    RTFA! The senate did not, in fact, pass a law banning or filtering anything. They commissioned a study to propose alternatives. That is the politician's polite way of saying "I'm not going to do anything meaningful for you today. Come back in two years, after I get re-elected."

    Vote Quimby!
  • by Foamy (29271) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:22PM (#19991509)
    F--- the F'in Children already.

    Parents.

    Do

    Your

    F'in

    Jobs

    or better yet, don't breed 'em if you don't want the responsibility.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @10:58PM (#19991825)
    It's the same thing as all the Patriot Act crap wasn't really for fighting terror, it was a wholesale monitoring of the US public by a paranoid administration. It's like calling wrecking the educational system "no child left behind". It's like a whole lot of what is going on these days -- call a violation of our civil liberties or Constitutional rights something that sounds patriotic or like it is protecting kids, or protecting 'Merca.

    Maybe they should just go ahead and call this what it really is - just another step towards a totalitarian police state.
  • by superdude72 (322167) on Wednesday July 25, 2007 @11:02PM (#19991855)
    Two Senators in their 80s find the Internet kind of scary. What a surprise. I wonder if either of them has ever used a computer or even knows how to type.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @12:55AM (#19992755) Homepage

    Sens. Stevens and Inyoue had a similar hearing last year. [senate.gov] Not much happened.

    This year, they heard fewer witnesses. [senate.gov] A summary:

    • Lauren Nelson, "Miss America 2007": "I am here today to ask you to please implement mandatory education on Internet Safety for all of our children."
    • Dr. David Finkelhor, Director, Crimes Against Children Research Center Horton Social Sciences Center, University of New Hampshire: "Online Sex Crimes against Juveniles: Myth and Reality" -- "Our research with youth suggests that giving out personal information is not what puts kids at risk. Nor does having a blog or a personal web site or frequenting My Space. What puts kids in danger for these crimes is being willing to talk about sex online with strangers, and having a pattern of multiple risky activities on the web -- going to sex sites and chat rooms, and interacting with lots of people there."
    • Ernie Allen, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: Our mission: to follow the money. This new initiative is the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography. First, we will aggressively seek to identify illegal child pornography sites with method of payment information attached. Then we will work with the credit card industry to identify the merchant bank. Then we will stop the flow of funds to these sites.
    • Christine Jones, General Counsel, GoDaddy: We do use our Universal Terms of Service broadly to cancel privacy when the Go Daddy Abuse Department determines it is being used for ANY improper purpose.

    The witnesses heard are reasonable ones. We used to see a big presence from the religious right at these things, but that's not happening this time. Nobody was asking for much on the legislative front.

  • by janrinok (846318) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @01:09AM (#19992837)
    [Link down - so I cannot read the article] I take it by 'universe' he actually means the USA? If not then he should just butt out. The rest of the world didn't vote for him or the Government he is part of. We do not need, nor do we want, his interference in what we are allowed to do in those countries which are outside the small proportion of the world that he represents.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @02:25AM (#19993231)
    The senators might as well pass a law saying that gravity and common sense are not in effect in Washington DC, at least they would be right on one count. It should be clear to everyone that *if* effective filtering of Internet content on a global scale were possible then it already would have been done by someone. Even the great firewall of China is not completely effective and those people live in a police state. Also, consider the massive financial incentive that has been in place for the music industry to fund discovery and implemention of this type of technology. The only thing stopping them is the near impossibility of the task. This proposed legislation will not change anything. If the free market couldn't provide effective global filtering despite massive financial incentives then how much less will such a system magically spring into being from legislative fiat?
  • by jet_silver (27654) on Thursday July 26, 2007 @03:15AM (#19993479)
    The assumption is that kids shouldn't see boobies. This is a load of crap. There are kids, right now, on beaches all across France co-existing with topless females. This doesn't seem to have hurt the French any - in fact, a call to protect kids from boobies would probably be viewed in France like a call to protect kids from wine. "Well, eventually they will have some wine, and eventually they will either have or play with boobies, so why get excited about this?"

    "Whenever 'A' annoys or injures 'B' on the pretext of saving or improving 'X', 'A' is a scoundrel." -H.L.Mencken
  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotageNO@SPAMpraecantator.com> on Thursday July 26, 2007 @09:19AM (#19995489) Homepage
    I for one am grateful to our Senators for making sure we don't get left behind by the Chinese.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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