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Report On The Texas Censorware Bill

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the sorry-no-"texas"-icon dept.

Censorship 363

www.sorehands.com writes that yesterday, "in Texas, the Committee on Business and Industry heard testimony on HB1295. HB1295 is a bill which, if passed, would require PC sellers in Texas to include censorware on the machines they sell. Under this bill, if a "personal computer" incudes an operating system, the manufacturer would be required to provide fitering software. There are no exceptions for personal computers used for business, or for computers operating systems for which there is no censorware. This bill was prompted by SPAM to the author's, Garcia, AOL account popping up porn before being caught by the AOL parental controls. Garcia also said that downloading and installing the software over the net is too difficult for anyone over 30 years old to install. The committee seemed leary of the bill given that Texas B & C Code Sec 35.101 et seq requires that ISPs provide links to censorware." This lowers Texas on the list of "states to move to" when my lease runs out. Update: 03/21 06:10 PM by T : Jamie points to this earlier post at censorware.net as well.

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Re:Phirst (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#349580)

2000-03-21

No girl as pretty as she is has ever looked at me like I see girls in the
movies or whatever look at the guys they like. I think she's as pretty as
the girls in the movies, but I'm not as attractive as the guys they're
in love with.

Rather than collect pathetic half-baked imitations of the looks that
attractive men get, I would give up ever being looked at by an attractive
girl again.

Any looks I do get are painful to me. They are a rare disruptive event,
invariably leading to periods of deep depression as soon as I realize yet
again that my hopes are fucked.

Fucked because: the only reason she even flirts with me is to maintain
some semblance of consistency in her universe, where people like me don't
exist because our lives are too horrible to contemplate; so instead of
coming to grips with reality (which is: I am too ugly and not cool enough
to attract the type of woman I desire, i.e., her) she pretends I'm attractive
enough (on those relatively infrequent occasions she happens to become aware
of my existence for whatever reason - we pass in the hall, for example), she
lies rather than be forced to think about a world where pathetic frustrated
weak losers like me exist.

So she looks at me or talks to me briefly, acting as if (pretending to
herself and to me) I'm an equal.

But her looks are not real: they end too quickly, they are tense with
doubt she cannot mask. (So it seems to me at any rate.)

She moves quickly on, and won't think about me till the next time chance
sends me across her path.

No I am not one to inspire confidence.

If I were her, I would not be attracted to me, either.

If only she could broadcast what she's looking for, in XML format, then some
intermediary could match her requirements and characteristics with mine. Then
we would know with certainty if we were totally wrong for each other, or
maybe had a chance.

In other news. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#349581)

Texas announced that all Postal delivery personal must read each piece of mail in order that un-wanted mail not reach a persons mailbox. This was brought about when GW Bush was visiting his ranch and received mail from the DNC requisting money to defet the Republicians.

Hmmm.... (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#349584)

Maybe being a competent legislator is too difficult for anyone over 30 years old.

Jeez, Timothy. (2)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#349585)

Some of us wouldn't have moved to Texas *before* this announcement either. In fact, some of us would have to be dragged, kicking, screaming, or, perhaps, dead, to Texas.

- A.P.

--
* CmdrTaco is an idiot.

Between Dell and Compaq (2)

Don Negro (1069) | more than 13 years ago | (#349588)

I don't think this has a chance in hell.

I'm certainly not sweating it.

(But I'll be writing my state rep and state senator, just for good measure.)

Don Negro

I have a better solution... (3)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#349591)

(First, it's not 'censorware', it's 'filterware'. Until everyone is required to RUN it (not just have it), it's still filtering and not censoring).

But instead of forcing OEMs to install this on computers, why not simply have the gov't subsidize free copies on CD Roms that come with the computer, making sure that the installation instructions are as simply as "follow on screen instructions"? Yes, if you assume that there's about 10 million computers in TX, that means that it would be $300-$500 million in software costs, but I betcha that you could easily persuade the filterware companies to take a bulk sum per year, say, $50-$100 million, for an unlimited 'state' licence.

I don't think there's a problem in trying to enable any parent to have a easy way to include filtering software on a family PC, and if you put that cost into the cost of a computer or for free, and include software with the computer, all the better. But I do agree you need to distiquish between corporate sales and personal or educational sales, and it should not be preinstalled unless the person requests for it to be.

Karmic Wheel (1)

FFFish (7567) | more than 13 years ago | (#349603)

While I'm appalled that some nitwit would attempt to mandate censorware, I'm kind of amused that the Spam-arseholes may have messed in their nests enough that they can't live there (in Texas, at least) any more.


--

Why does it make me mad? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 13 years ago | (#349616)

Let's see, we have this product that noone wants because it sucks. Let's see if we can have a law passed to force it down people throats.

Thanks Bush, for giving us a nice example of how our country is going to be screwed during the next 4 years. Texas = the perfect example that Georgie Bush is going to leave our country.

what's next, a law passed that microsoft must be the only OS sold in texas?

Re:Never happen in a million years (4)

Spud Zeppelin (13403) | more than 13 years ago | (#349619)

Ahh -- but this bill is "good for Dell". Why?

It's painfully easy for Dell, Compaq, etc. to negotiate OEM licenses with Mattel, et al., to bundle a censorware product on their PCs at an oh-so-cheap price. Meanwhile, all of the little PC vendors in places like Beltline in Carrollton and N. Central Expwy. in Richardson would have to pay substantially higher prices for the censorware, driving up the prices of their PCs, and making the mass-produced hardware more competetive.

Don't be surprised if the AOL story that Garcia cited is nothing more than a red herring, and he's just shilling for Compaq (or maybe Dell, but it is less likely).

MOO;IANAL.

The Censorware Tax? (2)

sterno (16320) | more than 13 years ago | (#349624)

It seems to me that censorware is an excellent business to be in right now. Let's look at how a censorware business works:

1) You begin by building a piece of software that works at blocking a certain set of benchmark sites (and you build the list of benchmarks). The benchmark sites are compiled by a group of college students you pay to surf pr0n all day

2) You hype up the products abilities (based on those benchmarks), and when people find holes you just patch those few holes you can and say you are working on improving it. No need for perfection here because nobody expects it.

3) You get state legislatures and the federal government to mandate addition of censorware to computers. This gives you an automatic federally enforced income.

You get to develop a shoddy product, surf pr0n, and you get the government to pay for the whole damn thing. Wow, I think we've found socialist nirvana!


---

Damn it, I'm old and didn't know it (5)

rw2 (17419) | more than 13 years ago | (#349630)

I read the summary and kind of chuckled at how the old people were so out of the loop that they couldn't install censorware. Sadly, I didn't wake up to the fact that I'm turning 33 in a few days until I read your follow-up.

So I declare that the rep is both naive and fascist were before I only thought he was fascist.

--

What we need is Open Source Censorware (2)

Rovaani (20023) | more than 13 years ago | (#349634)

How do you define censorware? Is it mandatory to block peacefire.org? Do you need to have closed blocking list?

Why not have a GPL'd censorware that has an open, user-modifiable block-list? (Why am I asking all these questions?)

Could a simple firewall blocking all documents that had one of the seven dirty words(tm) in them, classify as censorware?

I believe a free, easy to uninstall alternative censorware would really be adopted by all the independent retailers.

I still hope this doesn't get thru.

Re:What's the big deal? (2)

Tarnar (20289) | more than 13 years ago | (#349636)

Becuase, now you're paying the Windows Tax AND the Censorware Tax on top of that. Just what we all needed, huh?

Re:It's like a whole different country... (1)

Chronoforge (21594) | more than 13 years ago | (#349638)

Actually, this wouldn't get very far in Utah.

aha! (1)

scabpicker (30933) | more than 13 years ago | (#349647)

Well, since there is no parental control software for linux, could we get the bill struck down because it requires you to run Windows (on X86 at least)? Seems to me like it is creating a government-sponsored monopoly.

Re:Network Cards (1)

Penrif (33473) | more than 13 years ago | (#349650)

Don't assume. They did state anything with an OS would need it... Time to open an OS reseller in Texas.

Re:A new level of suck (1)

Blindman (36862) | more than 13 years ago | (#349652)

Couldn't someone write a program that filters out whitehouse.com or some other site. Sure, it would be the worse piece of censorware in the world, but it would censor. I haven't looked at the text of the bill close enough to know if they use the word "effective." Of course, if they did, then they would effectively ban Personal Computers in Texas.

Re:I have a better solution... (2)

Hizonner (38491) | more than 13 years ago | (#349655)

  1. It is censorware unless the person who is doing the reading is the one who installs the software. This stuff is mostly used by one party (a parent or employer) to decide what another party (a child or employee) can read. That is censorship, whether you think it's good or bad. It's not government censorship, but government is not part of the definition of censorship.

  2. Especially for older children, it's not a settled question whether you have a moral right to control what they see, or whether anybody should help you out with that.

  3. Even if you do have such a right, the software doesn't work, and the state shouldn't be encouraging people to sell snake oil.

  4. Even if the software worked, different programs would have different blocking criteria. If you're going to control somebody else's Internet access using a piece of software, you should damned well be paying some attention to what the software is doing, not taking some random program chosen by the state.

  5. I don't want to pay extra for software that I won't use. I don't want to pay it in the price of the computer, and I don't want to pay it in taxes, either. If you want the software, you pay for it. If you think it's absolutely essential for you to have this software to raise a child, and you can't afford the software, then I guess you can't afford to have a child. Shit happens.

Don't get your panties in a knot, yet (2)

lost_it (44553) | more than 13 years ago | (#349662)

A _committee_ is _hearing_testimony_ on the bill. That's about the equivalent of you or I looking at Saturn's website while we're in the market for a car. It doesn't mean that we intend to buy a Saturn. It means that it's a possibility, if they meet certain requirements. Right now, this Slashdot story is about the equivalent of a Ford fanatic going nuts because he happened to look over your shoulder and see what you were doing.

Let me explain the steps that this bill will have to go through in order to be passed (as I understand it):
1) A committe hears testimony.
2) The committe votes on whether or not to recommend it to the House as a whole. I believe the committee can also modify the bill, or recommend modifications.
3) If the committe approved, then the House considers it (I'm not sure if they hear more testimony or not). This may also include modifying the bill.
4) The House votes on whether or not they approve the bill.
5) The Senate considers the bill (again, I'm not sure if they hear more testimony). The Senate can also consider modifying whatever the House sent them.
(I'm not sure which order the next two steps occur in)
6/7?) The Senate votes.
7/6?) If the Senate approved a different version of the bill than the House, then people from the Senate and House have to work together to reach some sort of compromise.
8) If the governor approves, he signs the bill.

That's no less than 8 steps (possibly more), and we are on the _first_ step. Along the way, the bill can be modified at 2 or more places. These modifications could include clauses for OS's that don't have censorware, and maybe a clause that will allow the buyer to opt out of the censorware. In fact, as I understand it, very few bills (possibly none) survive the process without modifications.

Or the bill could be outright rejected at no less than FOUR places (committe, House, Senate, governor). What this really means is that the democratic process is working. Someone wrote a bill that they think is being important. A small group of people are looking over the bill to see whether it's worth having everyone look at it. At this stage, if you're a Texas resident, this might be a good time to send one of these people a kind, well-worded letter about some of the shortcomings of the bill. If no one in the committee listens, then you still have two more opportunities to influence someone into making that change.

This is how the democratic process works: slow but steady. The entire thing was designed so that Joe Q. Citizen could provide his/her input at many places.

So, please remove the stick from your rear end, and report on what's actually happening.

By the way timothy, if you're going to knock states off your list because of the bills they've considered, you might as well knock them all off, and find a new country (maybe you could be Slashdots first foreign correspondent?). Actually, this might be a good idea, because you seem to have very little understanding of how the U.S. government works.

Also, to the person that submitted this story, where's your source for the thing about the AOL email? I followed all of the links, and didn't see anything about it. As far as I know, you made that whole thing up and then posted it as a fact.

Re:Err, 30-year olds need protecting? (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#349664)

> [ ... ] the old political logic:
> 1) This is terrible!
> therefore
> 2) Something must be done!

You forgot: 2.5) for great just^W^Wthe children!

Re:So, how exactly does this affect alternative OS (4)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 13 years ago | (#349665)

> Yeah, censorware exists for Linux.
>
> # route add default reject

Hmm... Now that I think about it, something like Junkbuster and a non-null sblock.ini should probably qualify.

After all, it's something its users use to block content they deem offensive ;-)

If it ever looks like the bill will pass, all we have to do is point this out and supply a suitable blockfile. The DMA will spend a small fortune on lobbyists to kill it.

Pisses off the control freaks. Costs the DMA money. Sounds like win-win all around.

This bill means MORE JOBS for Texans (1)

lildogie (54998) | more than 13 years ago | (#349666)

They're already going up: roadside storefronts offering to disable the pron filter on your computer.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

DaBunny (56964) | more than 13 years ago | (#349667)

I haven't dealt with censorware myself, but is it really that easy to uninstall? Seems like that'd defeat at least part of the purpose if it were that easy to get around.

I live in Dallas.. (1)

_marshall (71584) | more than 13 years ago | (#349679)

And this is the first I've heard of this outrageous bill. This seems like Just Another Parent's Overreaction(TM) to his kid seeing porn on the internet. Yes, kids shouldn't be looking at this sort of thing, but no, putting censorware on every computer in Texas sure as hell won't stop that. Dallas is a very tech-savvy industry, and I'm sure this won't pass, (Nortel Networks alone has something in the order of 15,000 employees... imagine their delite in this bill) Maybe this is one time where Corporatocracy could actually help our freedom.

~Marshall

-------------------

Never happen in a million years (2)

selectspec (74651) | more than 13 years ago | (#349680)

Dell is in Austin Texas. I would image they wield some serious power down there.

If... (1)

Dijital (74753) | more than 13 years ago | (#349681)

If you don't know how to use a computer, please RTFM. If you don't want to learn how to use a computer, then DON'T BUY A COMPUTER. There, the demons have been purged. This place is clean.
Dijital

Re:Texas? (1)

D'Arque Bishop (84624) | more than 13 years ago | (#349686)

Just a couple of nitpicks...

any state where Guinness can not be sold as "beer" (it is a "stout", therefore not sold as beer and harder to find than hens teeth),

Funny, I have no problem finding it at my local Kroger's or Randall's...

hand guns can be carried anywhere, concealed, even in church

Illegally? Sure, you can get that anywhere. Legally? Um... no. You have to have a permit for said firearm. Also, I'm not sure about churches, but for example, it's HIGHLY illegal to have a firearm anywhere NEAR a school, permit or no. AND, all a company/church/business needs to do is post a sign stating that firearms are not permitted on the premises, and said permit won't help you if you're caught with the weapon.

As for the topic at hand... I don't see this going through, simply because Dell and Compaq are going to fight this through their teeth, if only because the corporate customers won't be too happy... :)

It's like a whole different country... (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 13 years ago | (#349687)

That ad campain about it being a different country was right. Library censorship is one thing, but I cannot imagine that any other state (Well, maybe Utah.) would let this go anywhere. Makes me glad I decided to pass up going to the University of Texas and become a dotcommer (Ok, given my company's stock price, that isn't true :).

Re:Network Cards (2)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 13 years ago | (#349691)

Let alone the court of the free market. Idiotic laws like this would pretty much halt any new computer manufacturing plans in Texas, and give the present manufacturers plenty of incentive to move out.

I can't see this becoming law - companies that large should have more than enough politicians on their payroll (oops, did I say that?). Of course, the digital industry has often lagged its Old Economy predecessors in the political arena.

As usual... (2)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 13 years ago | (#349696)

...they hype is bigger than the fact. If one actually reads the bill, the only requirement is that software is included with the machine. Nowhere does it say "include censorware on the machines..."

Yet another dreamland article courtesy of /.

April 1:st allready? (1)

guran (98325) | more than 13 years ago | (#349697)

Or have the trolls taken over Texas?

Re:Never happen in a million years (1)

glaci3r (99786) | more than 13 years ago | (#349699)

Yeah, imagine, every Dell you buy has censorware already installed in it. I guess if Dell loses this battle they can stamp a $50 charge for selling u the censorware software w/ installation.

Re:If he had two brain cells to rub together... (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 13 years ago | (#349703)

You've obviously never dealt with Texas politics before. Everything below the national level (congressmen, senators, etc..) is humorously amateurish.

It can be a good thing, because not much gets done, and this remains one of the more free states.

Re:Never happen in a million years (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 13 years ago | (#349704)

Yea, purchasing a computer will begin to look like buying a plane ticket. You'll get a $35 tickect across the state, and pay $30 in taxes and airport fees.

Re:Network Cards (5)

haystor (102186) | more than 13 years ago | (#349705)

Well it does say all computers sold with an operating system. That, and I'd bet most people still connect by modem.

What I'm thinking is that if they want to legislate inclusion of censorware because its too complicated for people to possibly install, then they need to legislate the inclusion of other things. In fact, PC sellers should include everything the buyer might ever need on the computer because it would be too difficult to install.

And when I go to fill out my taxes, they should be done for me when I pick up the forms because that is too complicated.

As long as we can just pass laws and make solutions, if I buy a car (I bought a Saturn) then I should be provided with a car that would fill all my possible needs. Choosing the right one is too complicated for me.

Hmm. We could pass a law that all medicine should work, and be applied successfully.

Damn, this is easy.

That'll teach him to use AOHell. (1)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | more than 13 years ago | (#349712)

This bill was prompted by SPAM to the author's, Garcia, AOL account popping up porn before being caught by the AOL parental controls.

First, AOHell is a major target for spammers. In the past, at least, they've published easily accessible directories of their email addresses.

Second, those of us who use Internet standard email clients, as opposed to the proprietary bloatware that AOHell provides, don't seem to have this problem.

Third, maybe they should try outlawing spam.
--
Ooh, moderator points! Five more idjits go to Minus One Hell!
Delenda est Windoze

Texas? (1)

Raymond Luxury Yacht (112037) | more than 13 years ago | (#349713)

"This lowers Texas on the list of "states to move to" when my lease runs out."

Let's face it... any state where Guinness can not be sold as "beer" (it is a "stout", therefore not sold as beer and harder to find than hens teeth), hand guns can be carried anywhere, concealed, even in church, and automatic weapons are easier to get than, say, renting furniture... Uh uh... not for me.

If he had two brain cells to rub together... (5)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#349714)

"Garcia also said that downloading and installing the software over the net is too difficult for anyone over 30 years old to install."

Maybe Mr. Garcia should learn that just because he's an idiot, not everyone in his age-group is equally idiotic.

Or in other words, "I'm stupid, I've got power, I'm going to keep dangerous objects away from EVERYONE else, because I can."

You got knocked because (1)

moogla (118134) | more than 13 years ago | (#349717)

it's "SOMEONE SET UP US THE CENSORWARE" Just doing my duty.

Re:Don't trust (1)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 13 years ago | (#349724)

If I'd come from Texas that would mean you shouldn't trust me into not trusting myself.
--

Time for some cleverness (5)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#349726)

It seems to me that there are two arguments here. One is the common one about censorware being evil and the other is that there is no censorware available for some (i.e. Free Software) operating systems that people want to sell. I don't have any solutions to the first other than to try to stop the legislation from passing, but I do have an idea about the second. Well just install Junkbuster and call it censorware.

If you think about it, Junkbuster is capable of doing everything that people expect from their censorware. It can block a whole list of sites based either on domain names (like whitehouse.com) or regexs (like domains including the word sex). With a bit of work you could make it look just like any other piece of censorware. Of course the big difference is that you'd also include the traditional anti-ad blocklist and a set of instructions- maybe even a shell script- to switch from blocking pr0n to blocking ads. This would allow you to dodge the law while providing something that your customers actually want. It's also easy as hell to disable if you decide to do so.

Re:Never happen in a million years (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#349732)

If this bill doesn't properly define a PC this could bite Compaq pretty bad - you want to explain to a client why their nice new Alpha box needs censorware on it?

too small! (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#349733)

sorry, but you're not thinking far enough - I want legislate that all cars should get me where I go without having to learn to drive not just satisfy my needs; its far too complicated for someone who can't even insert a CD in a drive and click 'ok' to be expected to operate a motor vehicle.

Re:Err, 30-year olds need protecting? (2)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#349737)

ok, so I know they mean parents. Still think that this sounds like someone following the old political logic:

1) This is terrible!
therefore
2) Something must be done!

3) This is something
therefore
4) This must be done!

So, what platforms have it? (2)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#349738)

Anyone seen censorware for Solaris clients?
OS/390?
VMS?
Tru64?
HP/UX?
etc etc
This bill seriously needs to include a clue as to what they are legislating...

Err, 30-year olds need protecting? (3)

iainl (136759) | more than 13 years ago | (#349739)

"installing the software over the net is too difficult for anyone over 30 years old to install"

Oh no! We better legislate to protect those innocent little 30 year olds minds before theyre corrupted!!!

This sounds like the most dumbly worded bill I've ever heard.

too many laws (1)

Rev.LoveJoy (136856) | more than 13 years ago | (#349740)

I'm surprised people are debating this law's complete lack of merrit and not debating the obviousness of this trend. What I mean is:

We need a law for this kind of shit?

Seriously ... when was the last time you felt like you needed the good ole' boys on this Hill (or the Texan equivolent) to tell you that you must purchase X, Y and Z with your new DELL or Compaq?

What's next? Oil purchased from Texas must be accompanied by the purchase of child safety seats? I mean, gasoline comes from oil and cars run on gas and some people have kids and those kids need safety seats!

SAVE THE CHILDREN!!!

No, I don't think so, mayhaps a better rallying call would be: fuck the lawyers, vote the clown Garcia out of office.

-- Cheers
-- RLJ

Re:Network Cards (1)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 13 years ago | (#349743)

Read the article again:
Under this bill, if a "personal computer" incudes an operating system, the manufacturer would be required to provide fitering software.
Pretty crazy, if you ask me. Of course, this will never live through the court challenges...

Re:Yet Another Reason (1)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 13 years ago | (#349744)

Alright, I use Linux, but this post really upsets me...

Not everyone can download and install an OS - and downloading several hundreds of megs is quite difficult if you have no OS to start with.

Just because someone uses Windows does not mean they deserve to be subjected to censorware.

Re:Network Cards (1)

Pakaran2 (138209) | more than 13 years ago | (#349745)

Not just new manufacturing - my interpretation is that this applies to all computers sold in Texas.

Needless to say, that pretty much would cut the state out of the modern world. Of course, since most of the world doesn't execute 300 people per year...

Wrong (2)

Srin Tuar (147269) | more than 13 years ago | (#349758)

Its censorware if even one person is required to run it.

Same old story (1)

MrPCsGhost (148392) | more than 13 years ago | (#349759)

They're also trying to pass a bill to arm public school teachers. Get me out.

According to the law you can't sell computers. (2)

e_n_d_o (150968) | more than 13 years ago | (#349764)

The text of the law:

A person in the business of selling personal computers shall provide with each personal computer sold by that person software that enables the purchaser of the personal computer to automatically block or screen indecent material on the Internet.

There is no software in existance that enables a person to automatically block or screen indecent material on the Internet. We all know censorware doesn't work, and I don't just mean in terms of false positives. It fails to actually censor indecent material. If I SPAM you and 5,000 other texans with naked pictures of your mothers there is no way that you are going to be able to stop me using censorware. Censorware still can't determine if an image is naughty until its been listed in their databases.

So requiring that computers be able to block indecent material isn't possible. In all truth, no one can comply with the law.
---

Network Cards (2)

clare-ents (153285) | more than 13 years ago | (#349766)

I assume you don't need to provide censorware if you don't include a network card with the machine.

Time to open a network card reseller in Texas.

Re:So, how exactly does this affect alternative OS (1)

shepd (155729) | more than 13 years ago | (#349767)

Yeah, censorware exists for Linux.

# route add default reject

all done... I think that should block any site on "the list". :-)

Re:Err, 30-year olds need protecting? (2)

Misch (158807) | more than 13 years ago | (#349770)

"installing the software over the net is too difficult for anyone over 30 years old to install"

:%s/Texas/Florida/[thought]

"Voting using punchcards is too difficult for anyone over 30 to do."

I wouldn't be surprised if this happens in Texas... i mean, look at the moron who came from that state already...

Promise? (1)

TheAngryArmadillo (158896) | more than 13 years ago | (#349771)


This lowers Texas on the list of "states to move to" when my lease runs out.

Good. Please stay out. We already have enough people here.

The Angry Armadillo
--
We don't need no steenking .sigs!

The Tax?!?! (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#349779)

The Tax on the Censorware. Lemmie see... that'll be under $2, right?
Most nerds on /. can easily afford $2000 machines and are whining about paying an extra $2? I'll eat at McDonalds for a lunch instead of a nice restaraunt today. That should cover my next two or three computers if this bill ever passes.
I don't mean to troll, but if you are truely a nerd in the computer industry, you *should* be well paid (if not, just look for a job with your qualifications on Monster.com [monster.com] and see what you could be paid). Whining about $2 on a $2k purchase? Geez...

--

What's the big deal? (2)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#349780)

My computer came with Windows installed, yet I was fully capable of uninstalling, reformatted and installing linux. Most people can find the "uninstall" for the filtering program and remove it if they don't want it.
If TX is insistant on the "30+ year olds can't figure out how to install it", then pass a law that makes computer sellers ask if the customer wants it installed. Asking is polite, and won't cause as much dispute...

--

What about 30+ year olds who want porn. (1)

Marty200 (170963) | more than 13 years ago | (#349781)

Removing the software is harder than installing it. What are all thoses 30+ aged people going to do when they find out they can't get there porn when they want it?

MG

I am insulted! (1)

stephenbooth (172227) | more than 13 years ago | (#349788)

Garcia also said that downloading and installing the software over the net is too difficult for anyone over 30 years old to install.

I find that really insulting!

Stephen Booth (31 next month)

Yet Another Reason (3)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 13 years ago | (#349794)

To purchase a computer without an operating System.

I'm over 30 but I can download and install Debian.

Censorware must be really complex.

Re:Network Cards (1)

DFossmeister (186254) | more than 13 years ago | (#349797)

I diagree. It says nothing about network cards. Mr. Garcia has an AOL account, and since he is a Texax delagate, is probably over 30 himself. If he cannot figure out how to install censorware himself, I'm sure he dials up to AOL.
This legislation is silly. It is attempting to force the mandatory bundling of software, whether you want it or not. Isn't that the gist of the IE in Windows argument in the Microsoft lawsuit?
Its also silly because although it may be too difficult to d/l the software over the net and install it, its not that hard to walk to CompUSA, buy a CD off the shelf, pop it into the CD-ROM and click Yes a few times. My grandmother just turned 80 this year and she volunteers at the local "Adult" center, helping with their computer problems (yes, I have good genes!).
I think this legislation is doomed to fail, or at best, be unenforceable.
On a side note, has anyone looked at the stock price of any of the censorware manufactures today?

Donald E. Foss
Need cutting edge web hosting? Find us at www.coloexperts.com [coloexperts.com] !

um, interstate commerce? (3)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#349803)

How does Texas have authority over computers sold to Texans by out-of-state PC makers? Of course CPQ and DELL are Texas makers, but everyone's favorite PC maker, [valinux.com] based in California, won't be affected as it's engaged in interstate commerce, clearly the authority of the US Congress.

oh goody (1)

Big Torque (196609) | more than 13 years ago | (#349805)

Now all we need is to make it law that computers need to me secure and crash proff as well. Good bye windows.

Re:A new level of suck (1)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#349807)

Remember, in legal terms "effective" doesn't mean what it means in the "real world". Look at the DMCA and how its "effective" copyright controls include CSS, and even simple XOR schemes. So I guess "effective" means that you can put together whatever half assed filter you want andcall it effective.

The solution (after the fact) (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 13 years ago | (#349809)

If the bill does pass, and you get a copy of the software (on CD as a backup hopefully) with your new PC, simply delete the offending program and mark your territory as NOT wanting the censorware by hanging the CD from a noose off of the front fencepost.

In other words, fly the flag of what you believe in. If you don't want forced censorware, demonstrate your dislike.

Now, where's my Tux flag...?

Re:Never happen in a million years (1)

CraigoFL (201165) | more than 13 years ago | (#349810)

Not to mention Compaq (Houston). IBM also has a pretty major presence in Texas, although I believe that's more for servers.

Define censoreware... (1)

CraigoFL (201165) | more than 13 years ago | (#349811)

It just struck me that this bill doesn't define what internet content should be filtered (the word it uses is "indecent").

Could I write some (free) software that only blocked Texas government sites, then offer it to computer resellers as their solution to this bill?

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

CraigoFL (201165) | more than 13 years ago | (#349812)

True, but you paid for the Windows license; are you also OK with paying for the cost of the censorware?

RTFB (3)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 13 years ago | (#349817)

SOFTWARE TO BE INCLUDED WITH SALE OF PERSONAL COMPUTER. (a) A person in the business of selling personal computers shall provide with each personal computer sold by that person software that enables the purchaser of the personal computer to automatically block or screen indecent material on the Internet. (b) Software provided in compliance with Subsection (a) must be compatible with any operating system that is provided by the seller to the purchaser of the personal computer at the time of purchase.
If an operating system is not provided by the seller of the personal computer, the software required under Subsection (a) must be compatible with at least one operating system that may be installed to operate on the computer.
(emphasis added)

So where did the "every personal computer sold with an OS" come from? This reads to me like "every personal computer".

This is the state that is big on "protection" (1)

Mynn (209621) | more than 13 years ago | (#349821)

Again, I think you missed the point here that this bill really has no chance of passing. Computer manufacturers have no desire to do this, and Dell being the biggest company outside of Austin, there isn't much chance this will pass.


I dunno, this is the state that is protecting us from buying or shipping realistic dildos within its precious borders as well... I can see where they'd pass a stupid law like this. Also a state where grandparents or abuseive, drunken husbands can get custody of children if their mother is a "witch".

And what defines a personal computer? What about those email machines? Or other 'netpliances? Can't *gasp* porn show up on those too? So are palm pilots and visors personal computers? how do we stop the spam of porn? Run away! Run away!

I grew up in that damn state and sometimes I wonder how they get all that sand out of their ears.

Re:Missed Point (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#349823)

Computer manufactuers don't desire anything be put or not be put on their computers. They want people buy the machines, period. If people are going to buy machines with censorware, they'll install censorware. If people want machines that don't have censorware, they won't. If people want machines that sing the Star Spangled Banner backwards on boot, they'll make machines that do that. Corporations are whores. They're just doing whatver the customer wants for the money.

Re:Err, 30-year olds need protecting? (2)

agentZ (210674) | more than 13 years ago | (#349824)

Conspiracy theory #829382: George W. Bush from Texas. Jeb Bush governor of Florida. Hrmmm......

What me worry? (1)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 13 years ago | (#349825)

This is not really newsworthy. Texas politicians will shoot this bill down like a bad habit. Why? Cause Dell and (I believe) Micron have some *serious* pull down there, and they sure as hell aren't going to agree to this.

Plus the bill is attempting to create a "positive right" (one that requires someone to act on your behalf) and those are generally frowned upon in Texas, unless they have something to do with religion. Check this out:

b) Software provided in compliance with Subsection (a) must be compatible with any operating system that is provided by the seller to the purchaser of the personal computer at the time of purchase. If an operating system is not provided by the seller of the personal computer, the software required under Subsection (a) must be compatible with at least one operating system that may be installed to operate on the computer.

Does censorware even exist for Linux? Doesn't that kind of go against all the foundations *nix OS's are founded upon? I expect this bill to die a horrible, miserable, death.

Re:Too Extreme (1)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 13 years ago | (#349826)

As I've mentioned in the past, I use censorware at home to protect my children when I'm at work. However, I think the installation of such software should be up to the individual computer owner.

Good point, mimics a political party I know of:
www.lp.org

I'd suggest looking into it if you feel this way about most issues.

The author has some seriously odd perceptions (1)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 13 years ago | (#349827)

The author of the bill seems to be one fry short of a Happy Meal:

This bill was prompted by SPAM to the author's, Garcia, AOL account popping up porn before being caught by the AOL parental controls.

When I last saw someone use AOL, web integration wasn't around, so my question is: If AOL parental controls can't catch their own program spitting porn, what software did this guy find to do it for him?

And if you really think about it, Dell already ships their computers out with censorware. Last I remember, AOL came on Windows 95, 98, and ME. I haven't checked NT or 2000. If AOL has these parental controls, then that already is a censorware package. (The bill doesn't state that the censorware has to work for any particular ISP, only "the Internet").

Like I said in a previous post, I would not worry about this bill if you live in Texas. It requires buisinesses to act within 30 days, which is too short of a timespan. I would worry if Dell starts seeing this bill as a way to oust competition and promotes it, which they actually might do now that I think about it.

This is so silly (1)

Preposterous Coward (211739) | more than 13 years ago | (#349829)

Another example of government sticking its nose where it shouldn't be. If there were really a demand for computers with censorware preinstalled, don't you think Dell et al. would be falling over themselves to provide it?

We *don't* have two brain cells... (1)

tigrrl (219188) | more than 13 years ago | (#349836)

Y'all are failing to take into account the Texas Legislature Factor. Contemplate our current Fearless Leader, realize where he cut his political teeth, then *all* of this will make sense.

Our Leg is packed with low-functioning idiots elected (on the whole) by people who vote for the guy with the prettiest and/or meanest political ad. Over the years, their decision making has caused us to consistently duke it out with Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas for the lowest rung on the ladder with respect to social services _including_education_ and basic quality-of-life issues. This is much more an indictment of Texas (home to 3 of the nations 10 largest cities) than it is of those other states (since agriculture provides less money than industry overall).

I'm not too concerned about this bill - it probably requires an amendment to the Texas Constitution (not kidding).

Texas: Living proof that Corruption Is Unnecessary Where Ignorance Will Do.

Re:Texas? Check your facts. (1)

wanderung (221424) | more than 13 years ago | (#349837)

Straight from DPS:

It is unlawful for a handgun license holder to carry a handgun onto such places as the premises of a business that derives 51 percent or more of its income from the sale of alcohol on premises, a correctional facility, hospital, an amusement park, a place of worship, or any meeting of a governmental entity,

Federal law already makes it a massive pain to own automatic firearms, there's no state left in the union where it's easy to lawfully own automatic weapons.

As for the Guinness, I've never had any trouble finding it on tap. It's crap from the bottle or can, so I've never looked for it.

Where "Stupid Laws" spawn (1)

Darth RadaR (221648) | more than 13 years ago | (#349842)

How typical. Some idiot gets a spam that JavaScripts up a pr0n page and decides that there has to be a law that will put filtres on all computers. Sounds more like this clown got busted surfing for pr0n and is making a lot of noise to make himself look innocent (protesteth too much?). Or he's getting some sorta fat cheque from a filtre ware company

There's no magic filtre that's going to make the world go away, because people will find ways around it (either the spammer or pr0n surfer).

If this Garcia clown is too stupid to either not open mail from questionable sources, or to shut off javascript, what makes him think that he's clued enough to make up some sort of law about it.

Oh, and BTW, it's illegal to paint a duck in Cincinnati, Ohio too.

Interesting (2)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 13 years ago | (#349844)

This is a suprising to hear coming from Texas. I wonder what kinda of reasoning this is. This isn't like the V-Chip where there was an agreed on standard for rating that is used by most if not all stations. This is the lowest common demoninator applied in an inaffectual manner. Most censorware ban entire ISP merely because they allow porn sites to do business with them, when average Joe has no idea his ISP is on that list.

I wonder if the people of Texas ever heard of something called Market Economics. As time goes on, ISPs and OEMs will compete more and more based on how consumer friendly they are, and people who need censorware will be able to get it with their machine, ISP service, or favorite shrinkwrapped package; pretty much like they can today, except then they will have something that works.

A new level of suck (3)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 13 years ago | (#349846)

This is also another strike against the possible inclusion of Linux preloads on machines, because last I knew there is no censoring software for Linux. Also, aren't Dell and Compaq, two of the biggest PC distributers around, both based in Texas? Since both are "PC Sellers", esp. Dell, who sells direct, won't that affect prices (system+Windows+Censorware) all around the country?

Too old to do what?! (1)

kenthorvath (225950) | more than 13 years ago | (#349847)

installing the software over the net is too difficult for anyone over 30 years old to install.

ANYONE? what about those under 30 years old? Can a 5 year old do it? What about an 18 year old with no computer training?

Moral: Those who don't know how to use a computer have no business complaining about it.

Furthermore, I doubt that there is any good censorware for Linux platforms... This could be a real kick in the but for Server sales in texas, as Linux DOES qualify as an operating system. But then again, I don't remeber reading that the censorware provided had to support the provided OS... Get your free BeOS/QnX censorware with every purchase of Windows 2000/ME!

ummm, no (1)

Overphiend (227888) | more than 13 years ago | (#349848)

Ok, so when Microsoft decided to include a browser with its Operating system, the government said it was unfair business practice. But now a states government is requiring computer sellers to include a program with their product. I fail to grasp the logic here

Re:Huh? (4)

Krow10 (228527) | more than 13 years ago | (#349851)

This lowers Texas on the list of "states to move to" when my lease runs out.

What do you mean? The bill hasn't passed.


What does he mean ``lowers Texas on the list of "states to move to?"''

WTF was Texas doing on such a list in the first place?

Everything's bigger in Texas - the hair, the drawl, the delusion that Texas isn't a state full of pig-ignorant rednecks with unjustified superiority complexes.

-Craig (formerly of Schulenburg, TX)
--

Do the even realize... (2)

Xibby (232218) | more than 13 years ago | (#349855)

That this isn't much better than MS deciding that all Windows machines much have Internet Explorer preinstalled? I know I don't want the government forcing me to pay for software I don't want and will never use. It's bad enough that MS does it.

Will this filter violent content? (2)

MeowMeow Jones (233640) | more than 13 years ago | (#349857)

It'd be a shame if the people at ID couldn't access thier own intranet.

Trolls throughout history:

Huh? (2)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 13 years ago | (#349863)

This lowers Texas on the list of "states to move to" when my lease runs out.

What do you mean? The bill hasn't passed.

Damn backwater, I wish I didn't live there... (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#349865)

Yeah, hah ha, it's real funny to make jokes at Texans' expense, but the simple fact of the matter is that there are over a DOZEN of us who live in this state who disagree with this legislation and have been doing our damndest to keep hold of our freedoms in the overwhelming face of the religious right, corporate doublespeak and BLATANT STUPIDITY.

More money to bye a Computer (2)

tenman (247215) | more than 13 years ago | (#349869)

Every unnecessary addition to preloaded systems just makes the system more expensive. This is the government taking more money out of our pockets, and putting it into the pockets of big companies, that step all over our rights, and whets more I haven't found a competent censorship software on the market yet!
TEN

Re:A new level of suck (2)

Sven Tuerpe (265795) | more than 13 years ago | (#349880)

This is also another strike against the possible inclusion of Linux preloads on machines, because last I knew there is no censoring software for Linux.

Not really. A whole bunch of filtering software is included in every recent Linux distribution. Of course it has to be, ehr, configured, but the software is there in various incarnations from packet filtering deep down in the kernel over application layer proxies like Junkbuster up to browser source code that can be hacked to refuse connecting to all but one single URL. One just has to tell the system what it should filter. ;-)

Re:The Censorware Tax? (1)

markmoss (301064) | more than 13 years ago | (#349883)

Unless being mandated by the gov't turns out to mean that they can be sued for violation of civil rights every time they block the wrong site...

Re:Same old story (1)

markmoss (301064) | more than 13 years ago | (#349884)

Where's your homework?
The dog ate it.
BLAM BLAM BLAM
Anyone else doesn't want to do their work?

Re:Define censoreware... (1)

markmoss (301064) | more than 13 years ago | (#349885)

"Could I write some (free) software that only blocked Texas government sites, then offer it to computer resellers as their solution to this bill?" I'd agree that the Texas gov't is indecent, so the only problem is how to get me on the jury -- somehow I don't think they are going to try the case in Michigan...

Re:Too Extreme (1)

MarchingAnts (301730) | more than 13 years ago | (#349890)

"I find this especially disturbing since it amounts to government subsidation of the censoring industry. Censorware is not perfect, and without the impetus of competition, there is no drive for manufacturers to improve their product. Rather than having lawmakers force people to use their product, censorware makers should strive to make their product most appealing to concerned parents such as myself."

Too late! Under the recently passed CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) headed by McCain, all computers in schools and libraries are required by law to have filtering technology if they want to recieve federal eRate funds.

And while the Dubya administartion is dangling this carrot on a stick, there are whispers on Capital Hill that Bush might be going through with a proposed idea to consilidate each eRate payment to a school or school district into one huge block grant as well, making the issue moot. But since there's nothing but vague, unclear positions being put forth ion this issue right now, schools and libraries are over a barrel.

So don't worry about the gov't susidising filter companies.. it's happening already!

Missed Point (1)

PorcelainLabrador (321065) | more than 13 years ago | (#349913)

Again, I think you missed the point here that this bill really has no chance of passing. Computer manufacturers have no desire to do this, and Dell being the biggest company outside of Austin, there isn't much chance this will pass.

Really, all that Dell needs to do is send a couple of 1Ghz laptops to the representatives, and this bill will be out the door.
Remember, everything's bigger in Texas.

Too Extreme (1)

Jakob Sorrel (321598) | more than 13 years ago | (#349914)

As I've mentioned in the past, I use censorware at home to protect my children when I'm at work. However, I think the installation of such software should be up to the individual computer owner.

I find this especially disturbing since it amounts to government subsidation of the censoring industry. Censorware is not perfect, and without the impetus of competition, there is no drive for manufacturers to improve their product. Rather than having lawmakers force people to use their product, censorware makers should strive to make their product most appealing to concerned parents such as myself.

While I would encourage all parents to not give their children unrestricted and unsupervised Internet access, laws like this one are far too broad to be fair.

So, how exactly does this affect alternative OS's? (1)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 13 years ago | (#349931)

What if a company decides to market PC's that feature Linux instead of that other 'life on the edge of a crash' OS? Do censorware packages exist for Linux (I don't imagine how they could)? If this bill passes, would it mean that companies would be breaking to law if they sold PC's with *nix?

Texas legislature has history of idiotic bills (2)

Kirsche (409328) | more than 13 years ago | (#349932)

Don't worry this won't pass. So many flagrant bills get filed each session here it makes the federal Congress look like a well run. Texas is too pro-business for this type of legislation to pass. Each session someone from Houston files a bill which will make the the State of Texas take over the City of Austin- make it similar to Washington D.C. Did you know its illegal to milk someone else's cow in Texas?
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