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Congressional Internet Lockdown?

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posted on May, 12 2006 @ 08:49 AM
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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.
 



www.washtimes.com
New legislation from Congress would block access to social-networking sites like MySpace and Facebook in schools and libraries, including instant-messaging services.
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 information.
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 the US.
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 China.

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 concerning advocates.
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 libraries.
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

Related News Links:
tech.monstersandcritics.com
news.com.com
blogs.usatoday.com
arstechnica.com

[edit on 5/12/2006 by Jaryn]




posted on May, 12 2006 @ 09:02 AM
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Could be interpreted as a move to eliminate the anonymous avenue of dissent and discussion. Only privately registered connections to the Internet would be allowed this type of forum.

Makes it much easier to track back.



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 01:56 PM
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Wow within few months we have almost four new "bills' related to Internet privacy and freedom of information. Looks to me the same scenario as with those tagging devices to protect childrens from beign abbducted or the RFID and so on.
This guys are going to far



posted on May, 12 2006 @ 03:04 PM
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I am a computer forensics specialist and I agree it is going TOO FAR!!!
When are we going to stop trying to "Big Brother" everyone and put the responsibility back on the parents where it belongs?

and... No matter how they try to censor, there will always be someone that finds a way around it. I hope.

I mean we catch them. Sadly not all of them, but with more cooperation from parents, they system could work a lot better.



posted on May, 14 2006 @ 12:57 AM
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How will this affect newsgroup/usenet access in schools and libraries? And will this bill also be in effect for Universities and colleges? They are adults and should not necessarily be subject to this legislation. To be honest I would not mind access to mentioned sites being restricted in the school system up to high school. Kids should honestly not be on those sites, even this one, during school hours at school. They should be doing research for their school assignments. I would hope libraries and colleges will be exempted from these restrictions however because the majority of these users are indeed adults.

Minors in Libraries should be restricted through a verification system built into the comp that would identify them.



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