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Appeals Court Rejects Child Online Protection Act, Again

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the think-of-the-children dept.

The Courts 319

mabesty writes "From The Washington Post: A panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that COPA restricts free speech by barring Web page operators from posting information inappropriate for minors unless they limit the site to adults. The ruling upholds an injunction blocking the government from enforcing the law." We last covered COPA when the Supreme Court handled it last year.

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First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458260)

Aw yeah.

Post.

Re:First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458289)

first post first reply!

Micheal is a cunt.

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458263)

micheal is a cunt

off topic, but true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458367)

subj

How strange (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458271)

How strange it is.

Fucking 404... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458276)

couldn't get FP because of it.

Be right back... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458291)

I'm heading to the elementary school library to do some research!

What a relief. (5, Funny)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458297)

I was afraid they might set up some sort of recreational club under this law, a COPA-cabana if you will.

First logged in user bash! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458327)

Wow. You think you're so fucking special, don't you? You're logged in. BIG FUCKING DEAL. You're user number 523006 and you think you're better than the lowly anonymous cowards. Well, you're not. YOU STUPID PIECE OF shit, any fuck head in the world can login, only a true jew can be anonymous. FUCK YOU KARMA WHORe.

First Logged in user bash!

First Logged in User Cuddle (1)

patch-rustem (641321) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458392)

I know your only logged in so the comment are automatically displayed with your prefered settings. Don't let the nasty coward upset you. There, there.

ONLY SUCKA MCS HAVE ACCOUNTS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458420)

I keep it real, like 4 years reading this trash and no account...

Way to Go Absentee Parents! (5, Interesting)

Talking Goat (645295) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458302)

Finally, a decision. Now will parents stop pushing legislation and start monitoring their children's online activities? No, they'll just push another bill. But at least we have a precedent, again... Wait, what was the point of a precedent? Apparently, parents haven't caught on yet.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (2, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458362)

Something has to be done to give parents a fighting chance, however. Chances are that most kids are going to be more adept at using the computer than their parents, resulting in either ineffective monitoring by the parent or evasion of monitoring by kids.

Nobody denies the right to have adult-oriented content out on the web, but it shouldn't be shoved in your face quite so easily. When I signed up for cable-modem access, for example, and the guy came out to set things up, the first time I accessed the email account it already had about a dozen spams, some for porn sites. While COPA may not be a good idea, something needs to be done, period.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (5, Insightful)

Talking Goat (645295) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458463)

The parents' "fighting chance" should be fought by the parents, not the government. Legislating child-rearing is yet another cop-out from a generation of parents that refuse to take responsibility for their children. If you are disturbed enough by the content to be found online, and you haven't raised your children well enough to trust their judgment around such content, then you need to be responsible and watch your kids. What's so hard about that?

Parents are so quick to scream for laws to protect their children, regardless of the restrictions it places on rest of the public. and yet if we were to legislate parenting licenses to ensure parents were watching their children properly, you'd see the biggest hell-storm to ever sweep across the nation. Where's the fairness in that?

If we can't tell you how to raise your children, then don't tell us how to raise our Internet. Watch your kids, for god's sake.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458677)

You, obviously, are not a parent. It's not like you spend time raising your children and teaching them right from wrong, and only then do you allow them to be exposed to the wide world, wherein they will be guided by your paternal wisdom.

Common sense dictates that some standards need to be put in place, whether commercial or legislative. If you go into a magazine store, it's not like they have Hustler out there along with everything else - instead, magazines like that are usually obscured by placards above which you can see the title, if that's what you're looking for. I think a mechanism similar to that is what is needed online - something of a barrier to child access, but doesn't require specific identification of the viewer (to protect privacy). It's not a simple issue, to be sure. There doesn't seem to be an obvious way to enact such barriers ("Click here if over 18" is a joke). But something needs to be done. Personally, I think the spam side is worse than the web browsing. Spam arrives indiscriminately, whereas browsing requires more intent.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (5, Insightful)

AyeRoxor! (471669) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458732)

"If you go into a magazine store, it's not like they have Hustler out there along with everything else - instead, magazines like that are usually obscured by placards above which you can see the title, if that's what you're looking for. I think a mechanism similar to that is what is needed online - something of a barrier to child access, but doesn't require specific identification of the viewer (to protect privacy). It's not a simple issue, to be sure. There doesn't seem to be an obvious way to enact such barriers ("Click here if over 18" is a joke). "

How is "Don't remove this placard if under 18" any different from "Don't click here if under 18" ?? They're both the honor system. They can both be enforced by the watchful eye of a responsible adult, and they can both be defeated by the absence of such supervision.

Anonymity (2, Insightful)

Ececheira (86172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458863)

On the other hand how do you propose to put an access control that won't violate anyones privacy?

<em>The court also said screening methods suggested by the government, including requiring Web-page viewers to give a credit card number, would unfairly require adults to identify themselves before viewing constitutionally protected material such as medical sites offering sex advice. </em>

That last issue seems like it will be the downfall of any access-control system. How do you both prove age while maintaining anonymity? They're mutually exclusive things.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (2, Interesting)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458908)

I think a .xxx for any material worse than Playboy would be a good 'standard' for the internet, but not legislated. Or just force them all to use Usenet. If a kid can learn to navigate newsgroups, he's probably smart enough to mentally deal with porn (but that's probably just me). ;)

It should be interesting to see just what kind of timetable it takes my son to get into such things. I'm surely going to be running filters and blockers of some sort while he's really young. Haven't really looked into yet (got a few years and hope to keep him OUTSIDE instead of stuck inside in front of a screen going blind like his father)

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

sheddd (592499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458933)

"Common sense dictates that some standards need to be put in place, whether commercial or legislative.

How about some parental standards? I'd prefer not to pay extra taxes to fund some project you think will help you do your job(raising your kid(s)), but which will be an ineffective waste.

"I think a mechanism similar to that is what is needed online - something of a barrier to child access, but doesn't require specific identification of the viewer (to protect privacy). It's not a simple issue, to be sure. There doesn't seem to be an obvious way to enact such barriers ("Click here if over 18" is a joke). But something needs to be done."

If you feel the dangers of the internet outweigh the benefits for your child, pull the plug.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458988)

You're absolutely right, free speech doesn't mean 'anything goes'.
I wonder if the spam we get in our emails were to advocate Communism or other anti-american ideals, the pro-internet-free speechers in /. would still be fighting for it.

So
'Join our commune and share in $1000000'
'You too can look 10 years younger by being a Commie'
'join the taleban and help us kick the governemnts ass'
'get an islamic mortgage and save $$$'
'You too can have a penis as large as Comrade Lenins'

would be inappropriate, but 'girls banging their dogs' is Ok.??

I completely agree (5, Insightful)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458818)

Personally I think a lot of legislation forced down on children is entirely unfair, especially considering they have no vote or say in it. LIke I still thinks it's rediculous to have a drinking age of 21 but a smoking age of 18. I think that if kids are old enough to have an M16 tossed into their hands and told to go die for their country, they are old enough to have a couple of beers. Sexism is heavily frowned upon, and so is racism, why not ageism? Because all the policy makers are old and have forgotten what it's like to be young. It made me so angry when I was 18 and I signed up for a 20K loan to cover my first year of college. It made me angry I was old enough to put myself 20 thousand dollars in debt, but not old enough to drink certain kinds of beverages.

Re:I completely agree (3, Funny)

arkanes (521690) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458959)

The thing that pisses me off the most is that we'll draft people who can't vote. That's just fucked up. And you can vote, but not drink. In my mind, there shouldn't be any age limits on anything that are greater than the age of majority - it just doesn't make any logical sense. Especially since the only things I can think of are alcohol and running for public office, neither or which are nearly as important or as life-changing as all the other things you can do at 18.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (5, Insightful)

gorilla (36491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458488)

Something has to be done to give parents a fighting chance

Why? If you're a parent, then it's your responsibility to do whatever you feel is appropriate in terms of looking after your kids. It's not the rest of societies problem. Parents are doing far too much insisting on protection 'for the children' which ends up restricting what adults can do. Do your job, don't expect me to do it for you.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (2, Troll)

4of12 (97621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458667)


It's not the rest of societies problem. Parents are doing far too much insisting on protection 'for the children' which ends up restricting what adults can do.

I agree with your second sentence, but I have reservations about feeling so absolutely correct about the first.

Yes, it is quite correct that the majority of parents are underqualified and have unrealistic expectations that society will assume some responsibility for raising their children. Talk to any public school teacher and you can find out pretty quick just how bady most parents are neglecting their jobs.

And so I believe that heavy-handed Internet porn filters at libraries are bad policy. That parents should be monitoring their children's activity and not complain so much. Automating the monitoring to save money doesn't wash as valid excuse to me, no more than using a VCR and TV as a convenient babysitter does.

But, unless you can afford to home school your own children, there is a necessity for you to go a job and to send your kids to some public school somewhere where you are physically unable to monitor what your children are doing.

In that case, I think parents have a reasonable expectation that society will fulfull some responsibility for monitoring their children and preventing them from exposure to things that they would rather their kids not see at a young age.

Zoning restrictions that prohibit the establishment of adult movie theatres near schools are another example of where society has collectively decided it is their problem and made some policy decision.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458704)

I completely agree.

Pr0n and really gory stuff has been on tv for ages, and I never was subjected to it as a kid. I guess my parents didnt use the TV to babysit me. I was outside playing and doing sports, visiting friends, building stuff with my dad, etc when I was young. This is a poor bill for poor parenting. But I do feel for the young kids whose parents do not look after them, and they do need some protection.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (4, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458515)

Sounds like we need some SPAM laws instead, then. Seriously...how likely is it that johnny is going to get a sexual image on the internet (likely http) unless he is explicityly looking for it?

My inbox, however, gets flooded with tons of offers from 'Women who want to meet me' and 'office secret admirer's' every day. The penis growth stuff is mostly filtered, now, though.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458599)

how likely is it that johnny is going to get a sexual image on the internet (likely http) unless he is explicityly looking for it?

You gotta be kidding.

Try doing a google on Britney Spears, and see how many celebrity porn sites show on the list.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458833)

Exactly, my girlfriend has done two searches recently for education purposes, the first about KISS dollz, and the second about grizzly bears: both turned up obscene results which she, as a non-native speaker, wasn't able to screen out. (OT, I didn't know that grizzly bear meant two hairy, fat men getting it on. It may be a year before that picture is out of my head.)
I don't see her problem as any different than most children would face. These were innocuous searches, after all.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458916)

Go to Google's preferences [google.com] and select the radio button for either moderate or strict SafeSearch.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458547)

Educating the ---ing parents might be a good start, don't you think? After all, parents are supposed to be responsible for, and interested in, the education and upbringing of thier children - what an increasing number of people fail to grasp is that this is a two-way process: children should learn from the adults and vice versa.

Arguments about "but I don't have time" or, "I can't understand" should result in the children being taken into responsible care and the parents shot as an attempt to keep the stupid gene out of the gene pool: if you don't have time for your kids, if you don't have the patience to live and work with them, if you don't want to make the effort to learn with them, you shouldn't ----ing have them in the first place.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (3, Insightful)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458576)

It's going to be tough. You gotta think back to your childhood. Back then all we had was cable TV and the "Playboy Channel." Granted it was only softcore porn, but it was the unspoken goal of all 13 years old boys to sneak a peek at the verboten channel, even if it was scrambled. (You had to hope for scenes with a heavy white background in order for it to come out straight.)

Even if you lock everything down in your house, you know damn well, there's gonna be some other kid on the block whose parents are less watchful. If you impose all these restrictions, I predict your child will begin asking to spend an inordinate amount of time over a friends house to "study." Forget the laws. This is the Internet. No one is going to be able to regulate all the offensive material coming from all over the world all the time. Once kids find something that gets through the filter, the URL will spread like wildfire.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

peter_gzowski (465076) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458671)

1) Create a profile for your child in Netscape/Mozilla
2) Monitor their history (ctrl-h)
3) Let them know that you are monitoring the history and that you do not want them to clear it.

This is what I recommended to a friend of mine who is the parent of a 9 year old. Part 3 is optional, I guess, if the kid doesn't even know what the history is. They will figure it out, and learn how to clear it, but maybe it gives the parent a few weeks to monitor what their child does. After that, the parent would probably have to do part 3, and punish the kid if they find an empty history. Soon they will figure out how to edit the history, though. Does anyone know how to lock down the history? Read and write, but no deletion?

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458773)

Well we could cry, that's what I do when I get spam and my four year old reads it. Oh wait, nope, not the case. Listen talk to your kids about sex and they won't go looking for it on the web, and if they are looking for it, they're probably at the age where a little nudity won't kill them. Lets face it, your not allowed to look at porn till your 18, when I was in high school I didn't know many 18 year old virgins, so what's up with that, kids have to go into a sexual relationship with no experience, that's dumb, and besides, even when there wasn't the internet, we got a hold of dirty magazines, If it wasn't for porn when I was 15 going to an all guys boarding school, I probably would be way screwed up now. Plus, what's everyone got against masterbation. lol

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (2)

rimberg (133307) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458953)

If you objection is with content being pushed to you that a reasonable person (legal term) would find offensive, then this is already illegal in law in many countries, pursue it as if you had received it through your mail through the front door.

On the other hand having content that some one has to go out and look for that you wish to prevent kids from seeing, this is a parental monitoring issue. Parents do not lobby for train stations to be closed because kids may go and play their, and even if they did lobby they should not be allowed to have their will enforced.

If a parent wants to prevent their child from doing or seeing certain things on the internet they have at least three options, there is no restriction on not applying several of these at the same time.

  1. Be in the room when the child uses the internet.
  2. Client side filtering can easily be install on a computer this may block some content that should not be blocked but this may be acceptable as it is the parent choice to install the software.
  3. Client Side logging, if you can not be in the room but are worried about the child having looking at things that the child knows she/he should not look at install loggin software and tell the child it is there. This way the child may look at some thing thatâ(TM)s inappropriate but they know you will catch them and apply an appropriate punishment.
Related to point one, the FBI has a list of things you can do to minimize the likelihood that a stranger will victimize your child online. Communicating with your children is the No. 1 thing you can do to help; talking to your children about sexual victimization and the potential dangers online is paramount. The FBI recommends taking time to sit down with your child and having her show you what she likes to do online. It also suggests that you not let your child have the computer in her room; set up the computer in an open area with a lot of traffic. This makes it difficult for her to carry on inappropriate interactions.
http://www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguide.htm [fbi.gov] For more information and debate on this see. http://www.teekosoccertips.com/safelinks.htm [teekosoccertips.com]

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (2, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458369)

Hell, its not hard to check even if you're not watching them - the browser keeps a hundred different logs of the user's activity, very few children under 16 know how to clear them all (history, file cache, typed-URL history, cookie cache, downloaded ActiveX controls, Recent Documents if they save anything for later, etc). If they just purge any of these, they become conspicuous in its absence (they were on all day and the history is empty).

Yeah, watching your kid is better, but this works if you want to know what they've done on it.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

doomdog (541990) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458664)

the browser keeps a hundred different logs of the user's activity, very few children under 16 know how to clear them all (history, file cache, typed-URL history, cookie cache, downloaded ActiveX controls

What? That's child's play. How many of them know how to clear the DNS resolver cache???? :-) Sure, it won't give you the specific pages visited, but it will surely show the domains that were visited...

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

Alcohol Fueled (603402) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458668)

What makes you think that the parents know how to check these things? Most of them just use their computers for checking email from grandma and shopping online. I wouldn't think that they worry about looking at the history, because it doesn't affect their simple activities. The kid using the computer often knows how to do so much more than their parents, because they want to learn and experiment.

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

Sethus (609631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458423)

An easier way to understand this is to replace Absentee Parents or just parents with the phrase Soccer Moms

Re:Way to Go Absentee Parents! (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458840)

Soccer Moms

Y'know, someone asked me the other day, "How did Conservatives ever manage to so effectively turn 'Liberal' into a dirty word?"

"Easy," replies I. "The same way Liberals accomplished it for 'Soccer Mom.' "

Seriously, my world was once wonderfully black and white before I had kids too. Y'all should make a point of bottling your vitriol in a time capsule to be opened and re-examined around about your child's sixth birthday. I'm not saying you'll arrive at an opinion different then the one you express today, just that the mental path you take will be a little more curvy, a tad more bumpy and twisty, than the well-paved express lane of 20-something conviction on which you're driving today.

Get back to us then, won't you?

WOW (5, Insightful)

Sh0t (607838) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458311)

I'm surprised the moral majority didn't win out and make this a reality. Especially considering how they tightened the noose around tv and radio.

I think everybody would benefit if the gov took a more laizze faire stance on the internet, even if the result is a little anarchy. I know things like spam and such really suck and make the net somewhat gay but, There is so much good stuff tht would be threatened if the moral majority really got a strong foot hold in and turned the internet into disneyland online.

I'm surprised the moral majority (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458384)

you mean moral minority. forcing their opions/views on majority. fricking bible belt, i live in the rust belt.

Re:WOW (1)

RealBeanDip (26604) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458416)

OK... Where's the good stuff?

Seriouslly, where is it?

Specifically, where is the good stuff that suddenly won't be there if the Govt (the US Govt that is) decides to tighten the noose a little more.

And once you point this "good stuff" - tell us why it won't be there and what the great loss will be.

You're soaking in it! (4, Informative)

Bonker (243350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458563)

Some good stuff that could be filtered based on adult content:
http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?a=cf rm&s=50009562 [infopop.net] - Ars' Soapbox and Velvet Room forums

http://www.gutenberg.org/ [gutenberg.org] - Many texts not suitable for children.

http://sexuality.about.com/mbody.htm [about.com] - The first place many people find when looking for non-porn sex information

and

http://www.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] - You're soaking in it!

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458594)

Well with a bunch of fucking swearing, and links to goatse.cx [goatse.cx] everywhere, its pretty unlikely that Slashdot would stick around in its present form.

Before you complain that Slashdot isn't "good", well you're reading it, arn't you? Even if you don't think it is "good", it is still valid content which would be impacted by tighter controls on the Internet.

Re:WOW (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458588)

"Especially considering how they tightened the noose around tv and radio."

That's an interesting notion, since the (relatively) new rating system allows shows like South Park, NYPD Blue, and CSI to exist on non-pay-per-view television.

Think the language/content in those shows today was allowed 15 years ago?

Re:WOW (2, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458619)

>I'm surprised the moral majority didn't win
>out and make this a reality. Especially
>considering how they tightened the noose
>around tv and radio.

Moral Majority

Who?

Did I just time warp back a decade?

Did you?

The "noose" around TV and Radio has never been more loose! Broadcast TV is showing more as they endeavor to match the critical success of HBO's "Sopranos" and "Sex in the City," and cable TV is more over the top than it has ever been. Stern and Savage are the most extreme voices on radio, and the groups going after them, well, I wouldn't exactly say they fit your definition of the "Moral Majority."

Ashcroft's a loon, no doubt, but he's been so busy trying to figure out what I am watching and reading that he has not had time to chase after the creators of that content.

Unless you have an Arabic surname, there has never been a more relaxed climate in which to create and distribute entertainment (in the US, at least).

Now, whether anybody at the end of the day has any money left to pay for that content, or support it's advertisers, well... that's a different topic.

disneyland
Remember that, as the power and influence of various media congloms grows in government, the less likely it is you will see any kind of media "sanitization." When everybody is forced to be like Disneyland, the *real* Disneyland has to work harder, and Big Mickey, he don't like dat...

Re:WOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5459004)

Moral Majority

Who?

Did I just time warp back a decade?

Did you?


One decade? Try two.

law not refined enough (3, Insightful)

thadeusPawlickiROX (656505) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458314)

It appears that this law tries to cover too much ground, and does not define itself well enough. Rather then blanketing all of the "minor" population, some scale would be more appropriate. But there lies the problem, as who should determine what is appropriate for a ten year old, or for a five year old, etc. It's a good idea, but unfortunately, the current properties of the law do restrict First Amendment rights.

Good! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458318)

It restricts free titties too.

1st Amendment (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458335)

Wair a minute... I thought the First Amendment was repealled with the Patriot Act and the DCMA. How does this ruling make a difference, then?

Free speech (4, Insightful)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458339)

Free speech is almost as idealistic and hard to obtain in real world situations as communism!

In both cases you have a few bastards who screw everyone over, and a few bad apples spoils the bunch [ouch sorry for that.] But, in a "free" society we need freedom of speech.

I was always taught as a youngster that you had a set of rights, such as free speech, right to vote, etc; however these rights only extended so far until you were infringing on someone else's rights.

So sure, I have the right not to get kicked in the nuts, and so does Bob over there. I also have the right to kick wildly. But I do not have the right to kick Bob in the nuts; because it is infringing on his right to not get kicked in the nuts.

Thats where it gets complicated; especially considering where you begin infringing on people's rights. Do young people have a right not to be exposed to some pr0n on the internet? Do I have the right to put naked pix on the internet without any warnings? Who really controls the Internet anyways, and does some guy have a right to put pr0n on his website in [insert country here] that my kid gets exposed to in [insert other country here]?

Not an easy problem to define, therefor no easy solutions to come across. All i know is that the american gov't cannot dictate Internet laws, although they may be able to enforce a few in their own country (if they have the time/effort/etc)

I dunno this is a "dont hate the playah hate the game" sorta situation, because there wouldnt be so much pr0n on the internet if people werent paying for it!

Re:Free speech (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458395)

Speaking of apples, what is the difference between a baby and a golden delicious apple?

I don't cum all over the apple before I take a bite out of it

Delicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458426)

MMmm... baby... now there's a fine meal. Tastes like girl scout, only a bit crunchier.

Re:Free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458637)

That's got to be one of the most tasteless things I have ever read on this site.

I don't think I'll ever be able to eat an apple again. *gag*

Re:Free speech (1)

bizitch (546406) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458652)

Who's paying for pr0n? ;)

Blah blah rights blah, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458695)

Its funny, all this talks of rights yet no talk of morals or responsibility. Let me add some to the discussion.

Do young people have a right not to be exposed to some pr0n on the internet?

Technically speaking, young people (By which you no doubt mean minors) have no rights at all other than those basic rights which any human being should expect. So the straight answer is "No, they do not have that right".

Beyond that, and leaving rights behind, the minors parents have a responsibility to their child. If they do not want their child to be looking at pornography on the internet, then it is their responsibility to watch over their child when they use the Internet. If you are providing pornographic content on the Internet, then it is also your moral responsibility to take resonable steps to ensure that a minor cannot access that content. Of course you have to define "resonable", but no matter what the definition is, it should never simply be a replacement for responsibility.

Simply put, it is the responsibility of the minors guardian to provide a moral framework for that child. As a society, it is our right to expect this to happen.

Its interesting that many discussions, both on Slashdot and the mainstream media, focus on "rights" when they should really be focusing on responsibility and morallity.

They'll just try again.... (4, Interesting)

Visaris (553352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458340)

... using community standards to determine what could be harmful to minors was not overly broad and thus not unconstitutional ...

What?? shouldn't that read: ... using community standards to determine what could be harmful to minors was overly broad and thus unconstitutional ... ?!? I know people are becomming terrible parents these days, but I don't think the government should try to play dad here. Parents need to be responsible and filter things that they don't want their kids to see.

I think a lot of legislators realize that they can pass some really crazy laws regaurding children because minors have almost no rights to begin with.

I am sure all you sick pedophiles are happy now (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458341)

I think a shotgun is the best deterent to freaks like you trying to use the internet to get to little kids. Michael will still be punished.

Sometimes the system works... (5, Informative)

mosch (204) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458355)

It's refreshing to see that the system, as inefficient as it may be, occasionally works.

If you find yourself feeling relieved at this decision, I strongly suggest that you consider making a donation to the EFF [eff.org] , EPIC [guidestar.org] or ACLU [aclu.org] . For without the efforts of these fine organizations, this law might have been enacted, and the whole of the Internet legislated to the morality of the most conservative town in America.

Let's not just say thank you for the win, let's SHOW our thanks, by breaking out the Benjamins.

Re:Sometimes the system works... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458693)

Let's not just say thank you for the win, let's SHOW our thanks, by breaking out the Benjamins.
I don't have any Benjamins, but I might chuck a few elgars [bbk.ac.uk] their way.

I fought the law and... (2, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458393)

The law, signed by President Clinton and endorsed by President Bush, has never been enforced.

Ah, I love basking in the irony of unforced laws.

Re:I fought the law and... (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458495)

"unforced laws"

Hehe, I am assuming you meant unenforced laws; but I will probably get nasty replies unless I add this nasty little comment

Those laws are to punish people that the government gets angry with! Like cloneaid leaders and their tax evasion! Or people wearing peace tshirts in a mall!

Oh, America, the land of the free.....

Meta tag (5, Insightful)

Khalidz0r (607171) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458396)

Why not inforce a rule asking people providing adult material to have a meta tag specifying this exactly, or send it some way or another, so that censorship programs can read this and disallow it for children, I think a kid wanting to see adult material will know his way through clicking buttons telling he is over 18 years old.

Khalid

Re:Meta tag (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458560)

The moment you do this, the government will ensure that every school, library, or other government nstallation filters on that tag.

So, therefore, the porn merchants have a significant economic interest in not identifying their wares, similar to spammers, who also rely on that lack of identification.

The porn is hiding in the shadow of the legitimate Free Speech right. There's no way to get rid of it, and as we've seen from the last two attempts to write a law that dances around the First Amendment and outlaws internet smut...

It's hard to write a horseshoe-shaped law.

Re:Meta tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458568)

Actually this sort of self-rating thing has been tried before and the pr0n companies usually go along but people like di$ney don't (I don't know why hubris probably).

However I would think that some pr0n companies
would violate it as competitive advantage (same mentality as the spam people).

Futhermore if you saw the garbage people actually
wrote as html you'd know that there really aren't that many people who could implement this, even large sites with big departments, trust me I've looked at a lot of html source.

Re:Meta tag (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458678)

Because then it will be up to the author of the Web page to decide what constitutes "adult material," and if he guesses wrong, he goes to prison.

In some cases, it's obvious: porn site operators and the proprietors of sites like rotten.com would be idiots if they didn't use the tags. But there's a huge gray area. Is my personal home page "adult" because it contains a few four-letter words? I don't think so -- but some prosecutor, somewhere, might, and then I've got big problems. What about medical sites which, by their nature, include detailed discussions of human anatomy?

I wouldn't object at all to the creation of a standard (I'd rather have it done by the W3C or some other private entity than the government, but whatever) for "opt-in" kid-safe sites: a clearly published set of rules that says, "If your site does not contain any of the following [naked people / dirty words / etc.] then you are authorized to use this tag." Then the more extreme censorware could look for this tag.

I would still object to public libraries and the like being required to block stuff that doesn't contain the tag, for all kinds of reasons, but it would be a start.

Re:Meta tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458805)


The meta tag is a good idea, but it shouldn't be a law per say. I don't see why the W3C can't put together a standard of decency that basically says if you want to designate a page as being adult themed only you can put the adult meta tag in there, of course it will be your own free will. I can't really see any justification for a site operator to NOT put the tag in their page unless they specifically want children viewing their page and since children don't have credit cards I can't imagine children being the target audience. By being opt-in and choosing to make your site inaccessible to identified minors no infringing on free speech and everyone should be happy.

And the bonus side, some of the web boards I go to can set an adult flag and keep the kiddies from ruining our discussions

Re:Meta tag (1)

gallen1234 (565989) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458900)

Because this is an international issue. Certainly we could force American web site operators to do this (subject to the other issues raised in previous responses) but what good would this really do? Asian operators will ignore the law, American operators will be at a disadvantage and the porn will still be as freely available as it was before the requirement.

Complexities inherent in this issue (5, Interesting)

Dukeofshadows (607689) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458404)

Some people will define "protecting" children by different means. The Christian Right around here would deny children access to everything they don't agree with, cinluding evolutionary textbooks since they might "corrupt" their kids. Other people will take their 7-year-olds to go see Robocop or the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the hell of it. Trying to protect children requires good parenting first and foremost, not just overly protective laws. Public schools are trickiest of all since so many ready-to-litigate families have different concerns for their kids. I think the easiest solution would be to either have all of the computers monitored by a faculty member. Maybe they could also tell the kids well in advance that their activities will be monitored with justification neccessary for visiting sites deemed "questionable". Granted, that system could be abused and not all kids need protection, but for Johnny trying to e-mail the president and instead visiting a .com instead of a .gov (whitehouse.com is a notorious porn site), some measure of protection should be in place.

Re:Complexities inherent in this issue (1)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458511)

Ya know, the Christian Right is neither Christian nor right, what they are is just a bunch of religious dictators who'd like to enforce their narrow view upon the world in the name of God. Sort of like New World Mullah's. I think it interesting that the idea of teaching their kids evolution invokes such anger when if you take the Bible away and ask them "find proof of God" in any source outside of the Bible or in any way that doesn't self reference they can't. Yet there are oodles (there's a technical term for you!) of studies and tests that come close to damn near certain that evolution is the exact thing that happened. Nevermind the fact that, really, evolution and creationism can be combined...they don't want to even consider that! 1000 years ago, they would be burning people at the stake for claiming we came from apes. It's the same mentality all over again. As knowledge increases and the realm and understanding of Science grows the realm and power of the idea that creationism is correct shortens. Out of the dark one comes into the light...if you catch my meaning.

Re:Complexities inherent in this issue (1)

fanpoe (598824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458757)

Let there be light ;>

I propose a new law (4, Insightful)

ReelOddeeo (115880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458425)

How about this one.

Whenever congress (or state legislatures) pass a law that is later found to be unconstitutional, public funds must be used to reimburse all legal costs that were incurred in bringing the suit and having the unconstitutional law found to be unconstitutional.

Why should private or industry money have to be used to combat ridiculous laws that legislators can freely pass at a whim? Let's make them at least have to budget the cost of overturning their unconstitutional laws.

Example. Some hypothetical attorney general, let's call him "Asscruft", proposes to congress, and congress later passes, and the president signs a bill making it illegal to think bad thoughts under penalty of 5 years of $500,000.

Everyone would be screaming to have this overturned. Lots of private money would have to be used to get this nonsense overturned. Why should the citizenry be forced to overturn bad laws that they didn't want but that their "representatives" thought would be good for them, or that corporate interests bought and paid for?

Re:I propose a new law (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458527)

So it would be better if our tax dollars funded every whiners agenda?

For every 'just' cause citizens take in court, there are three hundred frivolous ones.

The ACLU is hell-bent on making sure noone ever says the word 'God', or celebrates Christmas in public. I don't want to fund that bullshit with my tax dollars.

And if the RIAA gets the "Freedom to listen to whatever the hell you want Act" overturned in Supreme Court, do you want your tax dollars reimbursing them?

Re:I propose a new law (1)

royalblue_tom (557302) | more than 11 years ago | (#5459020)

I don't think it should be public money. I think the senators who sponsored the bill should be personally liable. Then they might spend a bit more care in thinking through the bills they pass. They swear that they will faithfully uphold the constitution when they take office, after all.

Re:I propose a new law (1)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458891)

Whenever congress (or state legislatures) pass a law that is later found to be unconstitutional, public funds must be used to reimburse all legal costs that were incurred in bringing the suit and having the unconstitutional law found to be unconstitutional.
In other words, taxpayers will have to pay twice for every stupid law that makes it through? Remember, public funds are paying for the legislators' salaries, the upkeep of the Capitol buildings, etc. The entire process of passing a law which is later found unconstitutional is already a financial burden borne by taxpayers.

If you want to double your income tax, fine by me, but I'd rather not.

Re:I propose a new law (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458989)

Here's a better idea. When a law is overturned on constitutional grounds...

  • All politicians who wrote and backed the law are immediately removed from office and never allowed to hold public office again.
  • All politicians who voted for the law are immediately removed from office and must "sit out" a term and demonstrate knowledge of the constitution before running again.
  • All lobbiests who supported the law, both groups and the individuals that compose those groups, are banned from any further lobbying efforts of any sort.
  • Any president who signs such an unconstitutional bill without exercising his veto power is immediately impeached and tried for treason.

Great news.. (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458434)


It's bad enough I buy booze for underage kids, I wouldn't want to be buying them pr0n too!

Will no one think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458444)

Oh wait they did, and decided that those little bastards shouldn't interfere with my being an adult and doing adult things.

Here is the deal. You want kids? ,you parent them, otherwise move along and don't breed.

This sounds trollish but i really hate building a society to the lowest common denominator.

This is GREAT news for homos and Apple fans (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458450)

Dear Apple,

I am a homosexual. I bought an Apple computer because of its well earned reputation for being "the" gay computer. Since I have become an Apple owner, I have been exposed to a whole new world of gay friends. It is really a pleasure to meet and compute with other homos such as myself. I plan on using my new Apple computer as a way to entice and recruit young schoolboys into the homosexual lifestyle; it would be so helpful if you could produce more software which would appeal to young boys. Thanks in advance.

with much gayness,

Father Randy "Pudge" O'Day, S.J.

$$$$$exyGal is, in fact, ekrout (-1, Offtopic)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458460)

For details and evidence, go here [slashdot.org] . Please post your comments in my journal area to let me know what you think.

Good. (1, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458475)

I'm sick of laws trying to be passed to make up for bad parenting. It is not the government's responsibility to raise your children, people.

Re:Good. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458557)

It is not the government's responsibility to raise your children, people.

But it is the governments responsibility, their only real responsibility, to make sure the environment in which we raise our children is safe.

Online porn (4, Interesting)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458491)

One reason that I would think twice about letting my kids (if I had them) use the net would be for the amount of accessible porn, and the like that is so freely, and easily available. Over a certain age (15 maybe, maybe more) then anything goes, but, as it stands, I can click on a page within a presumably benign google search, and be presented with something that isn't. Allowing sites to show 'information inappropriate for minors' to minors is like selling kids top shelf mags, or allowing them in to the movies see uk cert 18 movies.
I'm completely against censorship to those of us who have arrived at adulthood, but saying that kids should be allowed to view adult material because of 'free speech' is wrong.

T.

Re:Online porn (2, Interesting)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458828)

No, it's not wrong.

What's all this bullshit about shielding the children anyways? The children don't need, nor want your shielding.

I'm not saying we should starting selling pr0n in all elementary schools world wide, but kids are going to have sex. They're going to look at other, naked, kids or adults or whatever. They're going to be curious; this is what kids do.

So instead of shielding your [proverbial] kids from the "horrors" of porn, how about educating them instead?

There is such a thing as tasteful porn (that doesn't involve anal sex followed by the guy blowing his load all over the girl's face .. that should be saved for their mid-late teens, but if they really want it, how the hell are we going to stop them?).

STOP LYING TO YOUR KIDS.

Don't make them grow up in an imaginary world you've built for them.. They will be totally unprepared for the real horrors, or the real world. Your job as a parent is to educate your kids as to what is [relatively] right and [relatively] wrong. Don't be afraid of sex, it's not wrong, and it doesn't have to be dirty (I still remember the first pr0n pic I downloaded from a local BBS, it was a girl who had a sweater on, the kind with lots of holes in it, and you could ALMOST SEE A NIPPLE! me and my friends were amazed. This was more then enough for us.)

Kids get curious around the age of 12 .. waiting until they're 21, 18, or even 15, is FAR TOO LATE. If you don't educate your kids, the world will, and the world isn't a very caring, nor loving teacher.

Re:Online porn (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458892)

>> Kids get curious around the age of 12 ..

And until that age they should be allowed to be children.

Making kids grow up too soon, and expecting them to be miniature adults when they're 5 or 6 is probably the most damaging thing you can do to them.

Re:Online porn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458957)

You're a NAMBLA member, aren't you?

Re:Online porn (3, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458872)

I agree with the parent. Kids shouldnt be allowed to view adult material, and it really shouldn't require anything but some common sense and good faith from the web community to prevent it. But that good faith doesnt exist.

I built a PC for each of my children, for their rooms to do whatever they want with. I dont want to have to sit over their shoulders and watch them constantly, because I want them to be able to learn the computer the way I did, by just screwing around on it. I want them to be independent and learn from doing, like I did.

So I set up a proxy for them, with PICS filtering and other 'standards' (squid and dansguardian, OT: anyone know how to transparently proxy with dansguardian?. The idea was it would make a good enough whitelist.

Now, I'm more worried about the kids finding a pokemon chat room and being stalked by some pedophile than I am about them accidentally seeing a boob.

cartoonnetwork.com has a really cool (kid speaking) c-toon trading game my one kid loves. You watch TV on fridays and they give out codes, which you punch in to the website, to get c-toon cards, and then can play a card game (pokemon like) online with other kids. Whats great about it is that there's absolutely no way for personal information to get across. You dont pick a username, it presents a list of made-up silly names that you choose. You cant chat, you can pick from lists of prewritten phrases. (So no trolls posting ascii goatse)

Anyways, back on topic. I've noticed that some pricks out there put fake PICS and other codes into their porn websites. IMO it's a pretty contemptable way to make another nickel or two off of their banners. Its also IMO criminal, since they're basically marking the content as a childrens site, which is like sticking copies of Hustler into kids hallowe'en bags.

Meh anyways. I dont know what my point is. Some people are just pricks. We wouldnt need laws if they werent. Personally I'm in favor of the kids.us domain, I think it's the best compromise. It gives parents a very simple way to whitelist for younger children. It would be nice if it didnt have to be mandated by government, but if you left the registrars to regulate it, well, they wouldnt.

Re:Online porn (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458932)

So...uh...what's your position? Your first paragraph indicates that you would take the responsibility for what your kids - if you had them - are exposed to. But your ending indicates that you feel the government should have that control - and, implicit in exercising that control, should have the ability to limit everyone's access to that material.

Which is it?

Protecting the kids? (4, Insightful)

ChuckDivine (221595) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458595)

I'm sure we're going to hear again from the gang that just wants to "protect the children." And we're going to hear from the people who want parents to surf the Net with their children, thus combatting the problem from another approach.

Might I suggest a different approach?

Children are going to be exposed to bad things. They always have. At home I have a book titled "Pioneer Women." It's about the roles of women in settling the western United States. One photograph is particularly memorable. It's of a small child looking at the body of man who's just been killed in a gun fight. I suspect that's more traumatic than seeing a bit of pr0n on the Internet.

When I was a child, I was exposed to information about the Holocaust and World War II. As a teenager I lived through the Cuban missile crisis and the Kennedy assassination. Children today have been exposed to the horrors of 9/11. All these things are far more troubling for children than a bit of pr0n on the Internet.

So, short of shutting up children in some sort of tightly controlled, heavily censored environment (hmm, sounds like a jail), they will be exposed to bad stuff. Perhaps, instead of trying to shield our little darlings, we should instead be teaching them that the world is not always a nice place. We should be giving them the tools to deal with nastiness and worse. I think this is a far healthier approach to take -- as well as more practical.

Libraries Get Temporary Relief (4, Insightful)

robbway (200983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458614)

This law allowed the government to withhold funds from any library not applying the appropriate filtering software, or having ineffective filtering software. All filtering software is incomplete meaning you could "prove" arbitrarily that any library or group of libraries is unworthy of Fed funds due to ineffective Web filtering software.

The filtering software also blocks educational/informational sites on things like: breast cancer, testicular cancer, tourism in Essex and Sussex, and sex education. Not to mention blocking adult content from adults.

The core of the law has good intentions (another brick to the road to Hell), but the legaleze is vague and inappropriate.

I've seen news stories locally (Baltimore) that claim this "requires libraries to allow pr0n surfing." Not so. Long before this law, most libraries have rules against such things, and still do. They also had a child internet area in view of a librarian's desk, and the adult area computers were off limits to ages 12 and under.

I think the children were being protected just fine by the libraries already. Maybe we should let them take care of their own business.

I got TWO words for ya! (0, Offtopic)

AyeRoxor! (471669) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458694)

WOO HOO!

Re:I got TWO words for ya! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458975)

Shut up Sabrina!

Re:I got TWO words for ya! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458995)

Wow. That was random.

I'm impressed :)

Parents - Here's An Idea (4, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458775)

I've been arguing with myself back and forth, and finally have settled on the more libertarian side of my internal dispute.

Parents, if you don't want your kids to be exposed to materials on the internet you find objectionable, don't let them use the internet. Up until middle school, at the earliest, I don't see any reason why a child would NEED to use the internet. And by then they've probably seen/heard everything at their local public school.

And of course, parents who don't care what their children see are free to let them run wild.

Url Extensions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458778)

The best idea I have heard is new extensions, it still allows circumvention but it's close to perfect you can get on the internet. I think I heard Bush mention something about a new url extension, blocking it from the browser is simple and fairly secure...

WTF! (-1, Flamebait)

s10god (409764) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458814)

Should it not just be common sence to have a HOSTS file on the damn server? Whould anyone realy complain if say whitehouse.COM did not work????(at a Middle School?) It should just plain obvious for the sys admin to add obvious smut (dog sex etc...) to a HOSTS file and route it to the local machine.
And don't give me crap about no one at the library or school knowing how, because if we can waste money on bi-lingual education we can send a Teacher/Librarian to and Entry level Windows/Unix class at the local Comunity Colege!
Also you can also use a PROXY server or a FIREWALL!.... OR BOTH!
Someone is just desperate to sell Filter software that obvioulsy lacks in efficiency...

Re:WTF! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5458835)

"Whould anyone realy complain if say whitehouse.COM did not work????(at a Middle School?)"

You'd be surprised at what frothing free speech zealots would object to.

I personally don't need this law... (2, Informative)

scottcha+4 (643890) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458820)

If my kids want/need to be on the internet they go to our central computer in our dining room which is in full view of most of the house. The computers in my kids rooms while networked together for games do not have internet access.

It would have been nice for this to pass for the loser parents that don't know or care what their kids are getting into.

Censorship? I don't think so. For crying out loud you need a license to own a dog but any idiot can have a child.

Stupid americans (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5458980)

What makes people think a law like this will help to protect their children from pr0n on the internet. Even if a law is enacted within the united states, there is no way of them forcing this law on sites situated outside their borders. It would be completely useless
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