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COPA Suffers Yet Another Court Defeat

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the let-it-die-already dept.

Censorship 322

A US federal appeals court today struck down COPA, the Child Online Protection Act, a Clinton-era censorship law that the Justice Department has been struggling to get implemented for a decade. (The ACLU filed suit as soon as COPA was signed in 1998 and won an immediate injunction.) The battle has made it to the Supreme Court twice, and the DoJ has essentially never gotten any satisfaction out of the courts. This was the case for which the DoJ famously went trolling for search histories. In the ruling issued today, the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that COPA violates the First Amendment because it is not the most effective way to keep children from visiting adult Web sites. The law would require sites to check visitors' ages, e.g. by taking a credit card, if the site contained any material that is "harmful to minors," whatever that means.

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322 comments

What! (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#24295755)

But it's for the children!!!!

Re:What! (3, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 6 years ago | (#24295895)

-1 Redunant on a first post is a pretty impressive feat.

Children haters.

EVGA dumps Nvidia - XFX does same !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296315)

THE PAIN JUST KEEPS coming for Nvidia, this time in the partner space. Two of their key 'alpha' partners have just defected.

It is nearly impossible to make money selling Nvidia cards right now, NV squeezed partners margins too much, and when the going got rough, prioritised its own margins over partner survival. This gave partners the choice of popping like a zit financially or moving to less green pastures.

Like Gainward before them, two of the largest ones, XFX and EVGA have defected. Want to bet Nvidia doesn't know yet? In any case, partners leaving a company like rats leaving a sinking ship is never a good sign, lets see what happens in the coming months when the pain really piles on at NV.

The really interesting part is who they defected to, and it isn't ATI. Paperwork has been signed though, and it is a done deal.

Re:What! (4, Funny)

digitrev (989335) | about 6 years ago | (#24295963)

Fuck the children!

Re:What! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296003)

Ewww

Re:What! (5, Funny)

n dot l (1099033) | about 6 years ago | (#24296159)

Fuck the children!

George Carlin [youtube.com] FTW.

Re:What! (1, Funny)

stuntmanmike (1289094) | about 6 years ago | (#24296169)

Yeah, it was pretty funny. At least, it was until you explained it.

Don't be that guy.

Well then (4, Funny)

phorm (591458) | about 6 years ago | (#24296631)

I didn't know that Michael Jackson had a slashdot account?

Re:What! (1)

PakProtector (115173) | about 6 years ago | (#24296773)

Fuck the children!

I think that's what the makers or the law were thinking about when they made it...

Re:What! (3, Insightful)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | about 6 years ago | (#24296031)

I've seen COPA used on more sites I'd consider safe for children to visit than not (see: Neopets).

How many times have you seen a porn website with anything mentioning COPA on it?

cue the porn-site related jokes...

Re:What! (5, Funny)

digitrev (989335) | about 6 years ago | (#24296083)

Pen island [penisland.net] . Who represents [whorepresents.com] . Please, hold your applause.

Good (5, Insightful)

Smackheid (1217632) | about 6 years ago | (#24295757)

Parents, it's your job to watch your kids, not anybody else's.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 6 years ago | (#24295773)

True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

Re:Good (5, Funny)

Smackheid (1217632) | about 6 years ago | (#24295811)

Careful son, that's commie talk.

Wise King Solomon: (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295935)

I shall cut your country in two.

Re:Good (1)

TobiasTheCommie (768719) | about 6 years ago | (#24296351)

Careful son, that's commie talk.

What a load of bull.. i've never said that, not once in my entire life have i said that...

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295837)

That is the job of parents, if they can't do the job they should lose custody and be put up for a family that wants children, but can't have them

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24296367)

Or... Realize that it is stupid to "protect" kids from the internet. Now, granted you don't want your kid talking to MrSerialRapist997 on AIM, but some of the things that are censored are absolutely pointless. For example, its OK if an 18 year old swears once in a while, but a 10 year old shouldn't? It is totally OK for an 18 year old to play a game in which you kill people, but not a 16 year old? Really if censoring content is all people use to judge parenting ability, then that is just sad. Now, I think that if you are say, starving your kids, they should be relocated, but just because a kid can say some swear words, plays some violent video games and have seen naked people, doesn't make the parenting bad and our society needs to realize that.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#24295843)

By idiotic, unenforceable laws that anyone but a mental retard knows is a violation of the Constitution and is going to get kicked out (after, of course, costing all the parties involved a shitload of attorney's fees)?

This had absolutely nothing to do with protecting children or any other vulnerable group. It's called pandering. The politicians that enact it do indeed hope that their constituents are mental retards.

Re:Good (0, Flamebait)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 6 years ago | (#24296019)

By idiotic, unenforceable laws that anyone but a mental retard knows is a violation of the Constitution

Well then, I hope I can rest assured that you will be in the 2008 United States presidential election? Since you seemingly have a firmer grasp on politics then those that have devoted much more time and effort into that area of life.

Re:Good (1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#24296049)

Well then, I hope I can rest assured that you will be in the 2008 United States presidential election? Since you seemingly have a firmer grasp on politics then those that have devoted much more time and effort into that area of life.

What kind of fucking retort is that? What the fuck did that even have to do with what I said? I'm only allowed to criticize a law that clearly violates the Constitution if I decide to run for President? Just what exactly are you saying?

Democracy and liberties are wasted on people like you.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

digitrev (989335) | about 6 years ago | (#24296145)

Politicians understand politics. They know that by trotting out "Think of the children", any numbskull with kids will vote for them "because our precious baby will be hurt" if they don't. Politics and the law are two different things. Politicians write the law (well, some of them do, other times industry writes it for them and they just sign off on it), but they don't necessarily expect it'll get enforced. Just that they can say "I voted for a bill protecting America's children" when election time rolls around.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296237)

Cynical Idealist

"Scratch any cynic and you'll find a disappointed idealist."

- George Carlin

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296309)

Since you seemingly have a firmer grasp on politics then those that have devoted much more time and effort into that area of life.

When President Clinton signed the bill, he said he thought parts of it were unconstitutional and would be tossed out. I consider that a violation of his oath of office, but the point is you seem to be the clueless one here.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

bioradmeister (1308669) | about 6 years ago | (#24296381)

Well then, I hope I can rest assured that you will be in the 2008 United States presidential election? Since you seemingly have a firmer grasp on politics then those that have devoted much more time and effort into that area of life.

I think that is the problem. You think the Constitution is a political issue.

Re:Good (2, Funny)

strelitsa (724743) | about 6 years ago | (#24296229)

If a child is receiving pressure to have sex too early, is that a sexual harassment pander?

Re:Good (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#24296465)

If a child is receiving pressure to have sex too early, is that a sexual harassment pander?

Was there a sensible question buried in the bit of word salad?

Re:Good (1)

MSZ (26307) | about 6 years ago | (#24296289)

The politicians that enact it do indeed hope that their constituents are mental retards.

They don't just hope, they KNOW! If the majority of their constituents weren't brain dead retards, said politicians wouldn't propose these laws.

Re:Good (0)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | about 6 years ago | (#24296647)

Do you know what the Constitution is?

Perhaps you were born at the age of 35 by getting dropped from a mothership, fully clothed into a cornfield with a healthy circle of friends and a bulging checking account. Children are not psychologically-developed, self-sustaining individuals who are born knowing what's socially acceptable and what's not. The constitution is a system by which laws can only be structured to limit some freedoms in favor of greater freedoms. If indecent exposure and lewdness are constitutional, then what makes keeping pornography behind a beaded curtain unconstitutional? Is it unacceptible to go expose yourself to all the kids down at the elementary? If not, then you retardedly claim that it's your right to hand out pictures of yourself, exposed, to the same kids.

Perhaps you've never known girls attempting suicide from being sexually exploited at young ages or heard of young boys going to juvi for raping their girlfriends in what they thought was some sort of acceptible courtship ritual, but that stuff can be seriously psychologically damaging to kids before they start reaching the proper sexual development cycles. That's what the law was out to prevent -- at the expense of inconveniencing adults.

The law was in place to protect those who are, often enough, incapable of understanding why to avoid such things. Sure, we all used to steal peaks at dirty magazines and draw naked girls when we were growing up, but any psychologist charging more than a nickel an hour can tell you that such curiosity can be easily oversaturated until it becomes dangerous, damaging addiction.

Re:Good (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#24296765)

And what does this have to do with an unconstitutional law? Surely law enforcement has the power to pursue those sexually interfering with children without these sorts of laws. Besides, how precisely does this law prevent such abuses?

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
Benjamin Franklin

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295949)

Vulnerable to what, exactly? Learning what that funny plastic toy under Mommy's side of the bed is for? Yeah, sounds like a good reason to toss out the Constitution to me.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 6 years ago | (#24296009)

You assume that preventing children from seeing 'things that will harm them' online is a means of protecting them. It isn't, of course, not that this law would do that anyway.

What would protect children more than anything else would be stiff penalties for lawmakers who pass laws later found to be unconstitutional. Something on the order of losing your pension. They know what they are doing, and it is time we held them responsible somewhere other than on the campaign trail.

Re:Good (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24296411)

The problem with this though, it would discourage any laws that might be needed. For example, the Patriot Act one could say violated the constitution, but in the few months after 9/11 it might have been needed (now, if it needed renewing is up for debate...) but to penalize the making of bad laws is just stupidity. Think of it this way, if another attack on the scale of 9/11 to happen, would you want the government not passing any laws to catch the culprits or for them to be too scared of losing $$$ to do anything?

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

digitrev (989335) | about 6 years ago | (#24296619)

Damn straight I want politicians afraid to pass laws. They should debate it, talk to judges, talk to lawyers, and for god's sake think about these laws before they pass them.

Re:Good (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24296701)

But in a true emergency situation, you need politicians to think more about safety then their own paychecks. For example, if a hurricane came and leveled a town, would you want them to think about the funding and decide to authorize it 2 weeks later or just authorize it fast? Same thing with terrorist attacks or nuclear explosions.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | about 6 years ago | (#24296789)

I've never believed that an "emergency law" is ever necessary. The law should be able to handle situations in advance. If we need to have certain changes in the law to thwart terrorism, then it should be possible to know in advance what those changes are. I reject the notion that our legislatures need to "act quickly" after a terrorist attack in order to quickly modify the law to catch the terrorists or prevent another attack.

Re:Good (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 years ago | (#24296611)

What would protect children more than anything else would be stiff penalties for lawmakers who pass laws later found to be unconstitutional.

In other words, violate the Constitution to protect the Constitution? That doesn't make sense to me.

Re:Good (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 6 years ago | (#24296011)

Right: if the parents are incompetent, well, that's what DFCS is for.

Re:Good (1)

revlayle (964221) | about 6 years ago | (#24296187)

politicians?

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

tm2b (42473) | about 6 years ago | (#24296301)

The way to protect children is to world-proof them, not by trying to child-proof the world.

Re:Good (1)

asackett (161377) | about 6 years ago | (#24296331)

True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

There are readily available, affordable and even free technical means by which any concerned parent can prevent his or her child from being accidentally exposed to pornography. Should a parent fail to do so, the failure is on the part of the parent, not the society.

It's not the presence of a law that kept my children and so far has kept my grandchildren from being accidentally exposed to pornography (online, on television, wherever) but the presence of parents who care.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296341)

True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

From their parents ineptitude and at the cost of the rest of the populace? I think not.

Re:Good (1)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | about 6 years ago | (#24296581)

Who is society? There is no such thing!

[credit for this goes to Baroness Thatcher]

Re:Good (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24296645)

I like the quote on wiki from Judge Reed with the ruling that the government was appealing here:

"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:Good (4, Insightful)

john_anderson_ii (786633) | about 6 years ago | (#24296667)

True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

That's a laugh. The reason why 'society' can't take care of anything, much less it's most vulnerable members is because 'society' is incapable of shouldering responsibility. How do you punish 'society' for every kid that joins a gang or drowns in a pool? If 'society' is charged with a portion of the responsibility of raising a child, what are the consequences of shirking that responsibility? There are none, therefore the responsibility of society is a myth, and so is the idea that society 'takes care of' anything.
For each child there are a select few people who have an actual responsibility to rear that child. Family, teachers, coaches, etc. These people aren't 'society', they are part of a local community, not America as a whole. These people have real world consequences to face when they don't live up to their responsibilities.
Logically, "It takes a village to raise a child." is a ridiculous farce when that "village" is the whole United States & it's Federal Government. The only thing the "village to raise a child" philosophy has done to child rearing is to lessen the consequences when those who should be responsible aren't.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296719)

True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

So where's the law requiring pants with buttons instead of zippers?

Will all members please rise...

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296779)

It doesn't take a village to raise a child. It takes a parent.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295975)

I guess if your dad is a child-molester like mine was, your basically fucked.

He took pictures of me that were definitely child pornography. But there was
no internet for him to get caught on back then.

That was my situation. I should have picked better parents.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

digitrev (989335) | about 6 years ago | (#24296063)

Well, call me a bastard, but keeping kids off the internet would not have helped you in the least. If parents are doing a bad job, this is not society's fault. Your father was a fuck up and deserves to end up in jail. However, we rely on other people to notice and report those things. Ultimately, you cannot punish society because your father did a bad job.

tl;dr Censored tubes would not help your situation.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296077)

I should have picked better parents.

Or a shotgun.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296091)

Ah, but come on, I think it would be helpful to have a credit card check for posters on Slashdot.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 6 years ago | (#24296281)

Most parents would agree with you. Unfortunately, there are some very vocal and influential people who don't just want to "protect" their own kids, they want to protect everybody's.

Also, this is not entirely about "protecting the children". People wouldn't be so noisy about keeping something away from the kids if they weren't actually offended by it themselves. But just being offensive is no longer enough, by itself, to justify censorship, either legally or in the minds of most people. So it has to be about The Children.

Personally, I would like to see children protected — but not from porn. The fact is, I just don't see the harm in kids seeing graphic sex. It's not like it's not something they won't need to learn about eventually. On the other hand, it bothers the hell out of me that children are exposed to so much violence in their entertainment. And not just violence, but violence separated from any kind of emotional context. That cannot be a good thing.

Batman (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295771)

Asia Ferguson waited. The lights above him blinked and sparked out of the air. There were coasters in the park. He didn't see them, but had expected them now for years. His warnings to Dad were not listenend to and now it was too late. Far too late for now, anyway.
Asia was a hat wearing nigga for fourteen years. When he was young he watched the coasters and he said to dad "I want to be on the coasters daddy."
Dad said "No! You will BE KILL BY COASTERS"
There was a time when he believed him. Then as he got oldered he stopped. But now in the park at the base of the coaster he knew there were coasters.
"This is DAD" the radio crackered. "You must fight the coasters!"
So Asia gotted his hat and climbed up the wall.
"HE GOING TO KILL US" said the coasters
"I will shoot at him" said the coaster and he fired the a line of cars. Asia nigged at him and tried to blew him up. But then the ceiling fell and they were trapped and not able to kill.
"No! I must kill the coasters" he shouted
The radio said "No, Asia. You are batman"
And then Asia was dead.

BUSH = HITLER (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295783)

Another stunning blow to the Bush administration and their complete disregard for our civil liber...

a Clinton-era censorship law

Oh. Never mind. I'll just go back to my job at the New York Times now.

Re:BUSH = HITLER (0, Offtopic)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 years ago | (#24295841)

Oh. Never mind. I'll just go back to my job at the New York Times now.

Actually the New York Times has been complicit in just about every lie Bush ever told. They're notorious for constantly backing Bush (this Bush at least, they have historically been a lot more skeptical towards Republicans).

Re:BUSH = HITLER (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | about 6 years ago | (#24296021)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayson_Blair [wikipedia.org] Clearly you haven't met my friend, Jayson Blair.

Re:BUSH = HITLER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296129)

How is one reporter who made shit up without any clear agenda other than laziness a counterargument to what he posted?

Seriously, did you just read "New York Times" and start foaming at the mouth?

Re:BUSH = HITLER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296695)

"Seriously, did you just read "New York Times" and start foaming at the mouth?"

Doesn't everyone?

Re:BUSH = HITLER (2, Interesting)

Hyppy (74366) | about 6 years ago | (#24296569)

I recommend you read "Bush's Law" by Eric Lichtblau. It goes into detail about the issues between Bush and the New York Times. Most people in the Bush administration thought of the New York Times as an enemy, especially after the New York Times discovered and exposed the NSA wiretapping. Yes, mistakes were made, but they were explained as actions taken in good faith which the paper now regrets.

what happened to parenting? (4, Insightful)

andre3001 (976515) | about 6 years ago | (#24295825)

There are so many good options for parental control software today that this kind of stuff is totally unnecessary. Then again, I guess that means that parents will actually have to buy it, and pay attention to what their kids are doing online.

Put the computer next to Mommy. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 6 years ago | (#24295873)

Fuck parental controls. If you believe that your children are not old enough to "surf" on their own, then just put the computer next to you while your children use it.

"Parenting" - it doesn't end at birth.

Re:Put the computer next to Mommy. (3, Informative)

smussman (1160103) | about 6 years ago | (#24295947)

"Parenting" - it doesn't end at birth.

Parenting is an exponentially decaying function. Kids require a lot when they're young, and then less as they age, to the point where they don't really need it any more. But it's still barely there.

Re:Put the computer next to Mommy. (3, Insightful)

digitrev (989335) | about 6 years ago | (#24296001)

The problem is the time constant varies between children.

Re:Put the computer next to Mommy. (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 6 years ago | (#24296313)

Fuck parental controls. If you believe that your children are not old enough to "surf" on their own, then just put the computer next to you while your children use it.

Hey, isn't that a neat binary choice. Let's try applying it to say going anywhere unsupervised, I mean either the kid's not ready for going anywhere alone or he's ready to go everywhere at any hour right? Or maybe there's a small difference between walking one block down to a friend in a low-traffic street during daytime and hanging out with junkies and hookers downtown at 3AM in the morning. In the real world you got some control over what, when and where even if you're not hand-holding them so that you're teaching them gradually, but what about on the Internet? Just flip a switch, before you were supervised and now you're not? And at what age would that be??

Internet as a whole contains a lot of nasty stuff and nasty people. Ratings don't go by the average, they go by the worst and that should probably make the Internet a 18+ area. Except it's far too useful for that, but it doesn't mean it's not there. I don't know about you, but going from supervised to limited unsupervised to fully unsupervised sounds like a rather natural progression to me, kinda like growing up and taking on responsibility gradually. Fully supervised and fully unsupervised is easy - it's the in between that's difficult. Babysitting your kids until they're 18 isn't the answer, nor is thinking that kids can handle anything - both would be very lousy parenting. But hey, it's easy to be an armchair quarterback...

Re:Put the computer next to Mommy. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 6 years ago | (#24296491)

"And at what age would that be??"

That right their indicates a complete lack of understanding concerning good child rearing.

Re:what happened to parenting? (1)

Dude163299 (906461) | about 6 years ago | (#24296095)

I hate to say it but those internet blocking software are quite easy to get around. I found out how to get past those things before I had/knew how to access an email account, in the days before I had an internet connection or felt safe using a computer. I learned how to do that when I right when I entered junior high, I never had to use that knowledge myself but I sure did tell other people how to get around it. It was simple stuff to, like using google image search since some bad blockers allowed use of it to find porn. If that didn't work we instructed people to search for it in a forigne language, go to not so popular websites such as geocities or where people start their first websites, sign up for it on email, etc. And keep in mind I learned this before I even knew how to use email or use the internet, people had to walk me through it step by step when we used it in class back than. (and chances are if you reading slashdot your either old enough for this kind of stuff or already know better ways around this kind of software, so I don't feel bad posting this) So the best bet not to relay on software to teach your kids, and to just talk to them. And chances are if they want this stuff they can find it no matter what you do. After all nothing is really stopping them from buying the stuff at an Adult store, except the oddball cashier who may actually care their underage.

Get off my credit card! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295847)

Finally. Now my children don't have to keep bugging me for my credit card when they want to visit adult sites.

Depends on the POV (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | about 6 years ago | (#24295869)

COPA Suffers Yet Another Court Defeat

Better it than us. I'm tired of everything moving towards a nanny state.

Next stop: Cuomo (5, Insightful)

Relic of the Future (118669) | about 6 years ago | (#24295871)

Great, now maybe they can get New York's attorney general from implmenting the same law through the back door.

http://techdirt.com/articles/20080721/1545501748.shtml [slashdot.org] ">Techdirt's latest on the topic

Re:Next stop: Cuomo (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 6 years ago | (#24296071)

Just wait until they decide that political speech could destroy the innocence of youth. Great Firewall of China, here we come.

Re:Next stop: Cuomo (1)

Hyppy (74366) | about 6 years ago | (#24296603)

I cried a little inside when I read that. The truth hurts.

Harm to children (5, Interesting)

Black Art (3335) | about 6 years ago | (#24295883)

What causes more harm to Children? Porn or Religion?

I see reports of kids dying because their parents were too superstitious to take them to a doctor because of their religion. i have never heard of a kid dying because he watched a porno movie or read a dirty book.

Oh wait... These are Metaphorical Children. They don't obey natural laws, only metaphorical ones.

Re:Harm to children (4, Interesting)

Dan667 (564390) | about 6 years ago | (#24295951)

If they really wanted to protect children, they would ban things like stoves, weights, cars etc, because they can and do hurt children or enable the hurting of children. And they are not even just dirty pictures, real actual objects that in the right hands can hurt a child. To be safe a list should be made and all of these things banned no matter what the cost. Think of the children!

Re:Harm to children (2, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 6 years ago | (#24296163)

While we're at it, let's ban any books that teach dangerous ideas. We'll start with the most vile of books, e.g. hate speech, terrorism aids, anything about manufacturing weapons like The Anarchist Cookbook or nuclear physics texts, etc. Then we'll move our way up the chain to progressively more subtle subversive threats like 1984 and anything by Ayn Rand.

Helpful tip: after collecting the books, for easier disposal, heat them to 451 degrees Fahrenheit....

Yeah, these laws are absurd. It doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a parent. The sooner we stop expecting the village to raise our kids for us, the better off everyone will be.

Re:Harm to children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296417)

Car accidents killed more than 39,000 people last year. Let me repeat that, Car accidents killed more than 39,000 people last year. That is an order of magnitude more people than have died in all the terrorist attacks on United States soil in the country's history. In one year.

It would be nice if politicians took a scientific approach to prioritizing funding preventative initiatives rather than a fantasy-base religious one.

Re:Harm to children (1)

juiceboxfan (990017) | about 6 years ago | (#24296763)

It would be nice if politicians took a scientific approach to prioritizing funding preventative initiatives rather than a fantasy-base religious one.

It would be nice if voters elected politicians based on their scientific views rather than the politician's religious beliefs.

Re:Harm to children (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#24296497)

What causes more harm to Children? Porn or Religion?

And thus, in companion to this response [slashdot.org] :

God Addy [godaddy.com]

common sense from the federal government?!? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24295985)

I'm tempted to go for 'suddenoutbreakofcommonsense' except its taken them a few years to get around to this so perhaps 'delayedoutbreakofcommonsense'

Copacabana? (1)

Reason58 (775044) | about 6 years ago | (#24296043)

Somewhere in here is a Barry Manilow joke.

Old Hack (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296069)

COPA is just an artifact from the days when no one knew how to apply constitutional law to the Internet. Unfortunately, we are now in for years of quasi-successful bills that will only serve to screw up the structure and nature of cyberspace. I wish these politicians would at least try to learn about the Internet before they pass ridiculously unconstitutional bills.

Victory at last (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296197)

In celebration, I encourage you to visit my very appropriate site at www.ChildrenPosingInTheirUnderwear.com

Any lawyers in the house? (3, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | about 6 years ago | (#24296201)

Is/Was this the same law that required me to essentially ban anyone under 13 from my (kid friendly) forum website because I don't have the resources necessary to manage all those permission forms?

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (2, Interesting)

story645 (1278106) | about 6 years ago | (#24296727)

Not a lawyer, but yeah. I was in Potter fandom for a while and remember COPPA coming up in the weirdest instances, and kids coming on the forums and bragging about being 12 (and wondering how they got out of instant ban.) End result was that most of the big sites that allowed kids under 13 already had a legal staff. Here's the actual bill: link [ftc.gov]

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (2, Informative)

story645 (1278106) | about 6 years ago | (#24296749)

Oops, never mind, but yeah the law that affected you was COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protecion Act), not COPA (Child Online Protection Act).

wiki [wikipedia.org] has a good write up.

The Hypocrisy is Stunning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296207)

How is censorship going to protect the children?

I agree that children should not be exposed to pornography or religion. But censorship isn't going to protect them, it only harms freedom.

If they really care they should go after child abusers and child porn producers.

Re:The Hypocrisy is Stunning (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | about 6 years ago | (#24296399)

and priests

Hey! (4, Funny)

realmolo (574068) | about 6 years ago | (#24296347)

My children ARE porn stars, you insensitive clod!

Love,
Chris Matthews

The problem isn't really in parent's hands (3, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | about 6 years ago | (#24296395)

The problem is the unparented children that grow up. Would it be nice if "unparenting" was a criminal offence punishable by life in prison? Sure. But that doesn't help all the people that have to live with the "unparented child". I guess we could just put them on an island and hope for the best.

See, let's start with little Johnny that watches lots of porn. Hard-core stuff. Ends up getting out of high school thinking that (a) wimmen like surprises, like rape, and (b) wimmen don't like him. Yes, (b) is a logical corallary to (a) but we won't go there. How did little Johnny get so twisted? Simple: nobody ever paid any attention to him and let him go off and figure stuff out for himself, like relating to other people. In today's world this is pretty easy to imagine.

Whose problem is it exactly when little Johnny acts out his hard-core rape fantasies? His parents? His teachers? Nope. It is your problem and mine because we have to live in the society that little Johnny is living in.

Is little Johnny fit for society? Who exactly is going to take care of little Johnny if he doesn't fit in society and can't be left alone with anything female? Couldn't we just give him back to his parents? Sadly, we can't lock him up until he accumulates enough rapes with witnesses to actually get a conviction. And just locking him up for a while isn't going to "fix" him - we have to deal with little Johnny for life and thousands more like him. How did it get this way? Because as a society we were content to assume his parents were responsible adults and could foresee what would happen if they were not effective parents. We all assumed that "the village" would help raise Johhny right even if his parents were incapable. What we got was a disaster and a human hardly worth the name.

What is the answer? I don't know. But for parents using a TV or computer as a babysitter and ignoring the kid results in damage. Damage to the kid and damage to society. We are currently dealing with that damage today, mostly in the inner cities but believe me, it isn't confined there by any means. Would COPA be a solution? Not really, but it couldn't hurt in this sort of case. Where would we go for a real solution? I think we need to think about some points:

  1. Licenses and education required for breeding.
  2. Real penalties for not getting help when you can't parent your offspring properly. Providing parenting help and education, even when there is a kid in the picture already, is vastly cheaper than dealing with the results later.
  3. End absent-parent child support - no amount of money paid to the mother makes up for lack of a responsible two-parent family. If you can't be bothered with birth control you get to live with the results of your inattentiveness.
  4. Holding parents responsible for the actions of their children, really. This means that when the 10-year-old kills a neighbor child the parents and the child are responsible. Today often as not the child gets some slap on the wrist punishment because of their age and the parents get nothing. How could you be an effective parent and not know your kid is seriously screwed up when a 10-year-old kills someone?
  5. Undoubtably this means more "community resources" and "social workers" to help failing parents. But we are either going to spend the money on the front end or the back end. Right now you can check the prisons for the results of dealing with the problem on the back end.

Face it, today in the US a good deal of our troubles are parents that dump their children on "the system" and hope for the best because they haven't a clue. Or haven't the motivation. How exactly do we fix this problem? It isn't by hoping parents will do a better job. We have been hoping they would since the 1960s or even before that and it hasn't happened.

Re:The problem isn't really in parent's hands (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#24296509)

It's so encouraging to see someone who has thought things through, and has come up with a solution that's more tyrannical, more inhumane, more destructive to liberty and basic decency than the problem it purports to solve. Bravo, I say, Bravo!

Re:The problem isn't really in parent's hands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296633)

OK.... I'm not usually a spelling Nazi but "wimmen" Jesus f***ing Christ are you serious!!?

Give them what now?... (2, Interesting)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 6 years ago | (#24296405)

Yeah because going to an unsavory website and requiring access by giving them my credit card information without actually buying anything is a GREAT idea. I can't think of anyone I trust more with my credit information than a pr0n site... Not to mention a child would never be able to get access to a credit card, or the pr0n stashed in their parents' sock drawer, or saved on the hard drive, or on the recent documents list, or...

ID (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 6 years ago | (#24296473)

The law would require sites to check visitors' ages, e.g. by taking a credit card, if the site contained any material that is "harmful to minors," whatever that means.

Stupid laws like this is the reason we have so much Identity theft here in the US. The moment that people think that giving out your credit card number to some site just to say, register for a blog, or view some porn, is normal, is the moment that even more scam sites will emerge.

It was an absolutely stupid idea to check anything with a credit card when you don't know even *who* that is going to half the time. And what the card is being used for.

Slashtards (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24296495)

These stories show how bad Slashdot has gotten. The thought of keeping little kids off of porn sickens the average Slashdotter?

Absolutely pathetic excuses for humans.

Re:Slashtards (1)

digitrev (989335) | about 6 years ago | (#24296731)

The problem is not children accessing porn. The problem is the bill is so damn vaguely worded that /. would require age verification.

Re:Slashtards (3, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | about 6 years ago | (#24296755)

These stories show how bad Slashdot has gotten. The thought of keeping little kids off of porn sickens the average Slashdotter? Absolutely pathetic excuses for humans.

And the thought of restricting the rights of adults for little or no foreseeable gain doesn't sicken you? That sickens me.

Pathetic attempt at trolling.

Harmful to Minors (2, Insightful)

srobert (4099) | about 6 years ago | (#24296729)

If you ask me, any site that extols the virtues of Milton Friedman as an economists is "harmful to minors".

Not a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (1)

exley (221867) | about 6 years ago | (#24296733)

This law has been getting beaten down for years!

A modest proposal (3, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24296759)

A quote from Justice department spokesperson Charles miller: "We are disappointed that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Congressional statute designed to protect our children from exposure to sexually explicit material on the internet."

See, all they're trying to do is keep kids from seeing sex on the internet, they're not trying to limit your freedoms.

Here's a solution that will make both camps happy: pass a law that all children must be executed.

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