Under a bill described as, "The Deleting Online Predators Act", congress would attempt to reduce the possible contact that online predators would
have with minors through blocking access to "social networking" sites from public libraries and schools.
New legislation from Congress would block access to social-networking sites like MySpace and Facebook in schools and libraries, including
The bill known as the "The Deleting Online Predators Act" introduced by Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., aims at protecting minors from
online child predators.
According to the bill, it "prohibits access to commercial social networking Web sites or chat rooms through which minors" can access obscene
or indecent material, be subject to unlawful sexual advances or repeated offensive comments of a sexual nature from adults, or access harmful
The bill terms a social-network Web site as one that allows users to create Web pages or profiles about themselves as well as offers
communications including a forum, chat room, e-mail or instant messenger, while a chat room is termed a site that allows multiple users to communicate
in real time via text.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Although I am all for keeping 'online predators' from children, this legislation disturbs me with the vague and sweeping definitions which it uses.
According to the purported definitions given, this site as well as any other forum could very well be blocked by law at all schools and libraries in
Call me paranoid if you like, but this sort of sweeping legislation could very easily spiral into the sort of situation that is currently in place in
Imagine for a moment, the following progression:
The blocking of sites begins with public schools and libraries and applies only to a select few sites.
Advocacy groups, lobbyists and lawmakers express concerns about new/different sites the blocking expands and concerns are raised that private schools
need to be addressed as well.
The blocking becomes more and more broad and complicated, problems of implementation and central updating and management come to light and are
Systems and personnel are put in place to manage and centralize the blocking of dangerous or harmful sites and to ensure compliance of all schools and
The new agency/branch responsible for implementation and management proposes a new (lauded) arrangement that would give them control of blocking sites
at the providers, making updates and compliance verification much quicker and simpler, thereby providing better protection for children (and by now,
blocking of hackers, spammers and phishers is either being suggested or has already begun, with the enthusiastic blessing of people who wish to be
protected from these types of 'online predators').
Gradually a monolithic system is built up with total oversight and management of blocking "harmful sites" for all US residents at the request of
'concerned people, groups, and lawmakers'.
The above scenario seems all too easy to believe for me. Now, before the naysayers start to discount this as something that could never happen, look
at the FCC and the control that they now have over public radio and TV and consider proposals being raised to expand their control over the
subscription versions of radio and TV...the above could happen all to easily (note: I didn't say quickly).
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" - author unknown
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[edit on 5/12/2006 by Jaryn]