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ACLU to Challenge Utah Porn-Blocking Law

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the solicitation-of-censorship-should-be-actionable dept.

Censorship 1002

delirium of disorder writes "Opponents of a Utah law that requires Internet service providers to offer to block Web sites deemed pornographic filed a lawsuit last Thursday to overturn the measure. The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is seeking an injunction in federal court in Salt Lake City as part of its lawsuit claiming that the Utah law violates state residents' rights to free expression and unlawfully interferes with interstate commerce. The legislation requires the attorney general to create an official list of Web sites with material that is deemed harmful to minors. Under the law, Internet providers in Utah must provide their customers with a way to disable access to sites on the list or face felony charges."

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OK, now..... (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805086)

So, part of the problem with this is that it turns many small Internet providers into de facto censorship organizations responsible for the policing and determination of ALL content hosted through them or make them software companies due to this little inclusion in the law:

260 (3) (a) A service provider may comply with Subsection (1) by:
261 (i) providing network-level in-network filtering to prevent receipt of material harmful to minors;
262 or
263 (ii) providing at the time of a consumer's request under Subsection (1), software for{ }
264 contemporaneous installation on the consumer's computer that blocks, in an easy-to-enable and
265 commercially reasonable manner, receipt of material harmful to minors.


The other major problem of course is that if the first course is taken, then Internet providers are legally *obligated* to be searching your computers or files for content in violation of federal law.

Of course this also begs the question of who determines "adult content" which should make one suspicious of motives as this law comes from a state that had a state appointed "porn czar" who was a self avowed virgin. Also, at one of the major Universities in the state, BYU felt that censorship of sculptures by Auguste Rodin was appropriate for the national tour a couple of years ago. Did they consider that "adult content"? What would they think of Internet sites covering sculptures of Michelangelo's David?

The other seriously maddening thing about this is that the little independent book shop just around the corner from me, The Kings English book shop would not be able to put any books on their website other than childrens books.

Re:OK, now..... (3, Insightful)

eht (8912) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805120)

They are only legally obligated is asked to do so by the customer, this is completely opt-in.

Unless there is something I'm missing, this is just like the V-chip, parents have control over whether it gets turned on or off, not the government, not the ISP.

Re:OK, now..... (1)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805153)

I think the law makes it seem like it's possible to be sharing material between two customers of an ISP, either by running a webserver or some other means. This means that the ISP must filter in both directions, and could maybe give them power to search their customers computers to ensure no outbound "harmful" material is allowed. I'm not really sure here if thats what the original poster meant, but it might be.

Re:OK, now..... (4, Informative)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805284)

Not that I like this law, but its not as bad as you suggest. They don't have to filter both directions or even filter all "adult" content. They just need to filter based on a list provided by the states AG. So there is no need to search clients content or even search all 3-rd party content. They just need to have the ability to filter those sites listed by the AG.

Re:OK, now..... (5, Insightful)

swilde23 (874551) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805152)

Also, at one of the major Universities in the state, BYU

If BYU was a publicly run University, then this would be relevant. Why does what a private university considers to be "adult content" even relevant in this discussion?

Re:OK, now..... (4, Insightful)

CharlieHedlin (102121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805159)

While I agree that this is a terrible law, did you even read the slashdot summary?

The AG's office is producing a list of sites that have to be blocked. This is easy to do on the network layer and doesn't require searching the customers computers. It doesn't require the ISP or another company to determine what to censor, the list is maintained by the AG's office, part of the state government.

Re:OK, now..... (2, Informative)

Shkuey (609361) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805164)

Why does everyone ask 'Who determines...'? It says right there in the summary: "The legislation requires the attorney general to create an official list of Web sites..." Google tells me that is Mark Shurtleff.

Re:OK, now..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805257)

Read the parent post again. BWJones says that the state also had/has a state appointed porn czar. Who do you think would be suggesting the sites to the state AG?

As someone with experience in this field... *ahem* (2, Interesting)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805266)

Porn sites can be classified in the following:

* Link sites. Youknow, those with lots of links to pics / movie samples
* The ones with pics / movie samples (usually they're hidden pages inside paysites - but sometimes they're hosted by the same company)
* paysites or AVS
* And in the future: websites with .xxx domains.

A little analysis could be made to detect these easily. Anyway, it's not fair to dismiss a law because it can't be implemented yet (remember the "who needs 4-cores, anyway" discussion?). One thing is sure: if it's not allowed to be implemented, it CAN'T be implemented.

Frankly, I don't see the problem saying "hello, this is Ms. Smith and I'd like to block porn sites from your ISP. Thank you".

Just because (AFAIK) most ppl in here like porn, doesn't make porn censorship "the boogeyman". Sure, the parents have lots of responsibility regarding their children, but give them a break. How're parents supposed to watch over their child if they're denied the tools needed for it?

Re:As someone with experience in this field... *ah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805329)

Oh, thank gawd.

I was so afraid we wouldn't be able to find an expert on porn on slashdot.

Re:OK, now..... (2, Insightful)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805324)

Make sure you are wearing an appropriate brace [google.com] when having such a knee-jerk reaction. We wouldn't want you to hurt yourself.

They aren't obligated or even permitted to search your computer or your files. If you ask them to you are required to either offer network level filtering of traffic, or provide software to do the filtering.

I don't see anywhere that this software has to be free or paid for by the ISP. It simply means the ISP must provide some way for parents to be given control over what is viewed in their home.

This law is completely reasonable, and no different than the V-chip.

ACLU Target For Conservatives (5, Insightful)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805090)

This gives more ammunition to the rabid right in their attempt to make the ACLU the bogeyman for everything "evil" in this world. Of course the rightwing nutjobs forget that the ACLU has also defended Ollie North and Rush Limbaugh. I guess ingrates have short memories.

The target of this legislation also dooms it to failure. Business interests are not going to stand by and allow the Utah legislature make common carrier status a criminal offense. If that were allowed to stand then the phone company would be criminally negligent for obscene phone calls made on their lines.

Never let it be said that the Utah legistlature had real brain power. After all, the state produced Orrin Hatch!

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805127)

Bravo for inserting unnecessary and inflammatory political comments into an otherwise insightful post.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805154)

Bravo for inserting unnecessary and inflammatory political comments into an otherwise insightful post.

So I should just shut up and keep my opinions to myself?

Wow, what a wonderful example of free speech advocacy on Slashdot.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805210)


No, no...the AC was genuinely being congragulatory...note the absense of the <sarcasm> flag from his post.

^_^

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805289)

Damn, I must have missed it. My apologies to the AC and Kudos! for the subtleness.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

msim (220489) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805295)

I believe the phrase you were looking for is "your free to say what you want, as long as we agree with it".

To the GP anon coward, this "forum" style addon to an otherwise pure news-site is here for a reason. To encourage and grow the discussion of ideas, motives and thoughts. There is also self-regulation on this site in the form of mods/meta-mods, if a average joe with his turn at modding doesn't like it we won't see it 'cause he's been shot down to a -1. None the less, just because you don't agree with it doesn't mean he hasn't got the right to say it.

B.t.w. in a vauge attempt to keep this on topic. Every government has its idiots, take the laughing stock Australias "one nation" was turned into, oh and for something a little "closer to home" for the US guys, the laughing stock that was the Florida vote.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (4, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805139)


>This gives more ammunition to the rabid right in
>their attempt to make the ACLU the bogeyman for
>everything "evil" in this world.

The problem with the ACLU is that they stand out as one of the very few high profile organizations that do what they do, as opposed to being among so many others that they risk being lost in the noise.

FSF has a similar problem.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (2, Insightful)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805196)

Thank you so FUCKING much for saying whay I wanted to say to people who slammed the ACLU here on /.!!!!!!!!!!!

They are here to protect ALL of our civil rights.

And for those of us Gun lovers who want to criticize the ACLU, let me just say this: with limited resources, the best to fight is to divide the battle field. ACLU has everthing but Ammendment #2 and the NRA takes care of #2. That's the way I see it.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (3, Interesting)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805282)

They are here to protect ALL of our civil rights.

I think a lot of people have become disenthralled with the ACLU ever since they seem to have adopted "freedom from religion" as a civil right. This is beyond historical precedent and rather controversial. Also, for some reason, they seem loathe to defend free speech against administrative punishments and civil litigation.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (3, Interesting)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805340)

I disagree everything you said except this:

Also, for some reason, they seem loathe to defend free speech against administrative punishments and civil litigation.

I don't understand. And before you flame me for being stupid, try to educate me. And if I still disagree, please feel free to flame away!

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805297)

You should be aware that the ACLU takes the "collective right" interpretation of the second ammendment, which I can only see as undermining their sincerity in their supposed commitment to really protecting personal liberties.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805359)

Thank you so ******* much for saying whay I wanted to say to people who slammed the ACLU here on /.!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll tell you what. I consider myslef a conservative Libertarian. I think the government should stay out most everything. However, I equate this with the laws that require phone companies to offer 900 block service. It is completely opt-in. There is no requirement on the consumer.

They are here to protect ALL of our civil rights.

Some of the things the ACLU defends make me shake my head. However, I realize that is critical to a free society that the rights be given equally and that the laws be applied equally and fiairly, not just because the majority says so. However, I think that they are making a way bigger case out of this than necessary.

Once the state of Utah make it mandatory for consumers to start using the service, or subjecting themselves to searches, or makes it an opt-out (i.e., your service some with it enabled and you must take action to have it removed, then they will have a strong case.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805366)

But how is this action by the ACLU protecting ANYONES civil rights?
It requires that all ISPs provide the OPTION to do filtering. You do not have to use it if you do not want to.
As to interstate commerce? How it all that different than California having different pollution standards requirements than the federal government?
I am all for protecting civil rights but what are they protecting? Companies right to not offer filtering?
Why not be given a CHOICE if you want filtering or not?
It is not mandating that the user has to use it.
I have already seen where people say this will hurt mom and pop ISPs but polluion controls hurt small car makers and no one seems to care about that.
I thought Choice for the consumer was good?

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (4, Insightful)

BungoMan85 (681447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805197)

As a member of the "rabid right" I'm glad the ACLU is stepping up on this one. I fail to see how this gives those of us on the right any ammunition against them. I would question anyone who claims to be a conservative who supports legislation of this sort. There is nothing right wing about it. A real conservative would think that government should stay out of this sort of thing and that forcing ISPs to restrict content is absurd.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (2, Insightful)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805236)

A real conservative would think that government should stay out of this sort of thing and that forcing ISPs to restrict content is absurd.

Libertarians UNITE!

The 'rabid right' I refer to is the group that advocates expanded government control of private behavior. If that isn't you, then I don't consider you a rabid rightist.

I would MOD you up... (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805279)

if I had points.

I'm really passoinate about these issues.

AND contrary to the what you hear on AM radio, us conservatives are also concerned about these issues ... even if some us can't spell .... :)

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

gninnor (792931) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805226)

As a member of the ACLU I can say that I do not think that they fear being hated by the "conservatives". Reading their literature it seems that they are pandering (not so much with their actions) to the scarred "liberals". Often their wording to me seems more inflammatory than constructive.

It is strange In a few ways I can see the ACLU and the NRA having some common themes, But I bet you will never see someone that is a member of both.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

geomon (78680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805270)

But I bet you will never see someone that is a member of both.

Umm... I am.

As a Libertarian it is not inconsistent.

Being a member of both the NRA *and* Handgun Control Inc. would be strange.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805253)

Of course the rightwing nutjobs forget that the ACLU has also defended Ollie North and Rush Limbaugh.

Without the ACLU, we wouldn't need Ollie or Rush.

Re:ACLU Target For Conservatives (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805345)

Of course the rightwing nutjobs forget that the ACLU has also defended Ollie North and Rush Limbaugh. I guess ingrates have short memories.

You are right. So the official count for the ACLU is 131423423 to 14 in favor of protecting the left and their interests.

Now do you feel better?

What's porn? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805109)

And who gets to decide? The Utah legislature?

Not in my country, motherfuckers.

Re:What's porn? (2, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805174)


Personally, I think it's amusing that the legislature of the polygamy state sees fit to impose its own arbitrary definitions of immorality on the state at large.

Re:What's porn? (1)

WatertonMan (550706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805213)

You do know that polygamy is outlawed by the state constitution explicitly here. Right?

Re:What's porn? (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805299)


Yes, I do...which is why I didn't say it was legal in Utah...

What I did say is that Utah, due (in main part) to its Mormon population, has a higher incidence of polygamy (a behaviour most Americans consider immoral) than average. When most people think of polygamy, they think of Utah...search this particular discussion for 'polygamy', 'bigamy', and 'wives' if you doubt this.

Re:What's porn? (1)

NoodleSlayer (603762) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805352)

Polygamy was outlawed when Utah became a state largely as a concession so that they would be granted statehood.

Re:What's porn? Depends Where You Live (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805328)

Not in my country, motherfuckers

Um, what does this have to do with your country? Definitions re what is and is not obscene have ever been defined at the state and local level.

This makes sense to me. Folks in Salt Lake City don't have the same mores as the folks in Greenwich Village, and these regions should all have the ability to legislate (or not) as the residents deem fit.

Don't confuse Porn with Free Speech.

THIS LAW NEEDS TO BE STRUCK DOWN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805113)

I LOVE PR0N BITCHES

pr0n should not be blocked, evar

Obvious question... (3, Funny)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805124)

Who needs porn when you're allocated 10 wives?

Re:Obvious question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805188)

The minority that aren't mormans. And, honestly these people should not be preaching morality to the monogomistic REST OF THE WORLD.

Re:Obvious question... (1)

LttleStrummerBoy (886994) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805341)

Open an encyclopedia or a browser tab. Mormons haven't practiced polygamy since the 1800s.

Re:Obvious question... (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805208)

In other news, Utah's male population decreased 80% after this slashdot article.

Useless law, really. (5, Insightful)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805125)

This is yet another example of a 'feelgood' law, that conservative lawmakers pass to appeal to their base, and to be able to see "See, I am fighting immorality!"

Yet the law is 100 percent ineffective. First of all, there is no way they can ever block every single source of smut on the internet. Seconmd of all, its an opt in system. You choose to have these sites blocked, the ISP isnt blocking them for you. parents can do this already with a number of 'childware' packages already out there.

So really, what is the law good for? Nothing, except appealing to the base.

What good is the ACLU challenge? None either, except making them selves look more like 'champions of pron' to the conservative members of this country.

Its all a bunch of chest thumping.

Re:Useless law, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805218)

"This is yet another example of a 'feelgood' law, that conservative lawmakers pass to appeal to their base, and to be able to see "See, I am fighting immorality!""

Yeah, just like the V-Chip. Oh wait... that was Tipper Gore and Bill Clinton. Oh I forgot, bashing 'conservatives' or comparing Bush to Hitler rates an automatic +5 on this site *rollseyes*.

Re:Useless law, really. (1)

whobutdrew (889171) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805256)

I couldn't have put it any better myself. That's about as succinct as anyone can get. Well put.

Re:Useless law, really. (1)

suresk (816773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805265)

And what if a politician appealing to his base costs you money? Under the current law, the burden of blocking the sites falls on the ISP and there are penalties for not doing so.

You may think differently about a politician's chest thumping when it costs you money and increases your liability.

Re:Useless law, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805283)

What good is the ACLU challenge? None either, except making them selves look more like 'champions of pron' to the conservative members of this country.

Ever hear of "Freedom" - the idea that people shouldn't force other people to do things.

Maybe while we're at it we should have a law that anyone who owns a car has to drive old ladies to church on Sunday (but only if the old ladies request it, of course).

Or maybe hot cheerleaders should be required by law to date nerds (but only if the nerds request it, of course).

Re:Useless law, really. (1)

msim (220489) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805334)

Springfield must be in Utah then, take the following quote:

"Won't SOMEBODY think of the children."
I don't remember her name, but it was reverend Lovejoy's wife if i recall that said that :-).

Mormon Pr0n? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805128)

I bet there is a lot of girl on girl on girl on girl on guy action

Re:Mormon Pr0n? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805349)

Yes, and it's especially naughty if your fantasy includes tequila as well.

Easy to implement! (3, Insightful)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805140)

Easy for US ISP's to implement: just ask your friends in Saudi Arabia how they did it!

I don't believe that porn is "speech" (1)

jcromartie (841990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805143)

I don't see how hardcore pornography is defended by the 1st amendment. Softcore or erotic photography certainly can be art, but not the hardcore dime-a-dozen variety found online.

Re:I don't believe that porn is "speech" (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805232)

"I don't see how hardcore pornography is defended by the 1st amendment. Softcore or erotic photography certainly can be art, but not the hardcore dime-a-dozen variety found online."

First off, "some nudity is art" isn't the problem, "all nudity isn't art" is the road they're trying to go down.

Secondly, A dime a dozen? I'd need a second job! :D

Re:I don't believe that porn is "speech" (4, Insightful)

Shkuey (609361) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805239)

Just who is going to draw the hard line between those various types of pornography? You?

Let me get this straight. (3, Funny)

geek_xyu (814278) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805147)

First China now Utah.. Yea I guess that sounds about right.

Shades of Communism (4, Insightful)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805148)

So how does this substantially differ from Microsoft filtering certain words and phrases in China? [theregister.co.uk]

If I want to block Internet content from my children, this is my right (until they reach the age of majority of course). The same way I can block TV shows. This is MY responsibility and right, not some government appointed watch dog.

Re:Shades of Communism (1)

big_oaf (560706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805212)

Under the law, Internet providers in Utah must provide their customers with a way to disable access to sites on the list or face felony charges.
I agree, RetroGeek. There's already a way... it's called parenting.

Re:Shades of Communism (1)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805358)

And what about when the parents go to a show?

I don't want my kid to walk in on the babysitter looking at porn. This is a reasonable law to ensure that parents have the option to control what is viewed in their house.

Since 99.9% of ISP's already provide this and use it as a selling feature, I don't know what the stink is about...

I'm sympathetic (3, Insightful)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805149)

I'll probably get flammed to death for this, but I'm very sympathetic to groups that think 'net porn it too accessible and goes too far.

Sometimes I think kids are going to grow up completely messed us with the crazy stuff they can see on the web just by typing "sex" in google.

Is forcing ISPs to block that kind of content going to solve the problem? Probably not, but I feel for them.

Personally, I'd like to see a law that makes it illegal for adult context to appear on a URL unless is has a special extension, something like ".xxx". Then it'd be easy for concerned parents (and wives!) to configure the browser to block anything from that extension.

Sam

Re:I'm sympathetic (3, Insightful)

suresk (816773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805225)

It would be easier if all porn was on an .xxx domain. However - How does one define 'porn' or adult content? Who decides what goes on a .xxx domain and what is fine on a .com?

What if I don't want my kids seeing religious crap and getting wrapped up in fake religions? Can I propose a .god domain? What about people who are offended by Profanity, Marxism, or clowns?

Pretty soon, your average ISP costs $65,000 per month and is slower than hell because of all the filtering to make sure you don't accidently see something that might offend you or your children.

Re:I'm sympathetic (1)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805260)

How does one define 'porn' or adult content? Who decides what goes on a .xxx domain and what is fine on a .com?

Come on, you know porn when you see it. Don't be a dink.

They already have a system in place for this kind of stuff. Magazines deemed adult are wrapped in plastic bags and put on the top shelf. Videos deemed adult are in a section of the video store restricted to those of a certain age or older.

Use the same system.

Sam

Re:I'm sympathetic (1)

suresk (816773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805294)

Sure, I'll grant that a lot of porn is pretty easy to judge. There is quite a bit of material, however, that will offend plenty of people but isn't porn. How do we decide where that line is? How do we decide what is art and what is porn?

Re:I'm sympathetic (4, Insightful)

Skynyrd (25155) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805233)

Personally, I'd like to see a law that makes it illegal for adult context to appear on a URL unless is has a special extension, something like ".xxx".

Who decides what defines "adult content". Pictures of people smoking? Women in bras (I can see that in the newspaper).

You choose to have kids; you be their moral guide.

If your kids can't surf the net without finding porn, don't let them surf the net without supervision. Or just don't have kids.

I don't want your standards imposed on my kids, as they may be to strict or too open for my tastes.

Re:I'm sympathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805238)

Then it'd be easy for concerned parents (and wives!) to configure the browser to block anything from that extension

Sam this is your wife and I agree with you, it should be easier to figure out how to configure these things, then I could turn your gosh darn filter thingy off and finally go to the site on breast cancer that would help me diagnose this funny lump and maybe save my life.

It isn't the *state's responsibility* (2, Insightful)

strlen (117515) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805251)

This is the responsibility of the parent, not the state. There's miriads of [even free] software you could set up to block access to sites you deem pornographic -- and the best solution is to simply have the computer in the living room where *you* can see and make decisions about what sites your children visit.

The state can't make those decisions for you. You can more than bet that they will deem accessing art that includes nudes (photographic or not) to be pornography, but not accessing quasi-pornographic sexual innuendo laced garbage from the MTV web site as such.

Re:I'm sympathetic (5, Funny)

memfrob (157990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805262)

Personally, I'd like to see a law that makes it illegal for adult context to appear on a URL unless is has a special extension, something like ".xxx". Then it'd be easy for concerned parents (and wives!) to configure the browser to block anything from that extension.

What about IP-based URLs?

(http://127.0.0.1/ [127.0.0.1] is FULL of pornography!)

Re:I'm sympathetic (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805267)

Personally, I'd like to see a law that makes it illegal for adult context to appear on a URL unless is has a special extension, something like ".xxx". Then it'd be easy for concerned parents (and wives!) to configure the browser to block anything from that extension.

So on-line bible ressources would be forced to be under the .xxx domain? I like it!

People forget that, but there's a lot of stuff in the bible that is violent and sexual. Ban "adult content", and you ban that too.

Re:I'm sympathetic (1)

PyWiz (865118) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805281)

I agree with you that many children are exposed to more obscene content than they probably should be, and this may negatively effect their outlook on the world (although they probably won't be "completely messed up").

The question here though is whose responsibility it is to keep children from seeing this obscenity? Is it the government's job to raise your children, or should you as a parent take responsibility for your own child? There are already many software packages availible that allow parents to screen what their kids are seeing on the internet. Granted, these aren't foolproof but neither is blocking at the ISP level. The point is that parents are readily able to keep their kids from seeing pornographic content. If they choose not to, that is their choice as parents, negligent as it may be.

The government creating a law that requires ISPs to censor content imposes an undue burden on the company simply to accomplish something that people can do on their own with personal software. Even if you don't request censorship, YOUR rates will go up as a result of the ISPs implementing censorship.

Not only that, but this law also encroaches on interstate commerce.

Is all this really an acceptable price to pay just so you don't have to shell out 50 bucks for NetNanny?

I don't think so.

Re:I'm sympathetic (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805298)

Sometimes I think kids are going to grow up completely messed us with the crazy stuff they can see on the web just by typing "sex" in google.

I know that kids are going to grow up completely messed up with the crazy stuff that they don't see on the web just because their parents wanted to "protect" them from all the "harmful" stuff out there.

Sorry, but sex isn't harmful. Keeping your kids in the dark is.

Let the parents keep the kids "protected" if they really feel that's what's best. Let's keep the government out of the personal affairs of the public.

Re:I'm sympathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805361)

Sorry, but sex isn't harmful. Keeping your kids in the dark is.

AIDS, unwanted children, other diseases, seeing women as sex objects, lack of morality, etc, etc. There are a lot of chances for harm.

Re:I'm sympathetic (1)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805302)

That's the dumbest thing I've seen today.

The United States does not own the internet.

Now please, kindly, STFU.

Re:I'm sympathetic (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805331)

Actually, by default, you won't see much if you type sex into Google. And why are your children typing sex into Google anyway? Is it perhaps because they want to look at pictures of people having sex? It's pretty much an open question of whether or not thats harmful, and it's something you as a parent, and we as a society, will have to deal with at some point regardless. There's only so long you can just pretend it doesn't exist, especially when there are so many people so willing to show you that it does.

Your proposed law is idiotic, and I'm sure that if you think for 10 minutes about how it'd be implemented and enforced you'll realize that. By the way, if your wife feels the need to use technical means to keep you from seeing porn on the internet, then your marriage is a sham and a lie anyway.

Bill O'reilly Is Going to Have A Ball (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805150)

George Bush stoogie Bill O'Reilly [billoreilly.com] will surely have a ball with this one. Especially since he has already branded it "the most dangerous organization in the country" [foxnews.com] .

Where are they going to get the list from? (1)

inherent monkey love (875830) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805157)

Can you imagine the staff of the Utah Attorney General's office compliling that list? I work for a company that does content filtering and I already steer clear of the blocking department (the folks who look at porn all day, every day for a living). I can only imagine a bunch of straight laced AG office fraus browsing zoosite.com or dumpstersluts.com and how traumatic that would be. While it might seem like a tempting job, its really not. There are sites out there much worse than tubgirl or goatse.

No! (1)

Eugene Webby (891781) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805165)

I'm sorry, but I just don't want to live in a world where I can't download hot girl on girl action from the internet. Bastards, you will never take that away from me, never! ahhm

Sorry this is missing somethign (4, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805170)

if the idea is to keep minnors away from adult material .. i am wondering why the government or companies are doing the job of parents.. if you let your child out of the net and don't follow what they are doing it is your own damn fault and you are the one to be held liable.. same thing as if your 10 year old is ... never mind this argument always falls on def ears.. parents need to know what their damn job is and not blame the world.. take some responsiblity

Re:Sorry this is missing somethign (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805269)

take some responsiblity

But you see, it is always someone elses fault. You do not need to shoulder ANY responsibility, the courts have upheld that time and time again.

Which is why we have warnings on products such as (paraphrased for a toaster) "Not to be operated under water". Some moron sued a toaster company after he tried to operate it in his sink and he got a shock, and some jury awarded him a bundle because he was not warned.

blah..

Easy Solution (5, Funny)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805185)

Under the law, Internet providers in Utah must provide their customers with a way to disable access to sites on the list or face felony charges."

I suggest that all Utah ISP's implement this with feature with a link from their home page "Click here to disable access to pornographic web sites" that leads directly to the ISP's account termination page.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

kicken18 (839808) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805343)

haha nice

What next? (1)

dyfet (154716) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805189)

Requiring all phone companies in the state of Utah to listen into/filter everybody's telephone call to make sure someone doesn't speak an "obscene" word?

States Rights? (0, Troll)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805192)

So the ACLU will support the right of the States to legalize marijuna for medical use. They just don't beleive in states rights when it comes to anti-porn laws? How about Highway speed limits?

Re:States Rights? (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805304)

The ACLU is not for or against States Rights. They are for Civil Liberties. That's why they're the ACLU and not the ASRU.

Re:States Rights? (4, Insightful)

Jason Ford (635431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805319)

The ACLU does not believe in States' rights. The ACLU believes in civil liberties. You must be thinking of the ASRU (American States' Rights Union.) I don't think that organization exists, though. You should feel free to create it.

Then, when a state wants to implement slavery, your organization could say, "Hey, the people of this fine state want slavery, so our organization supports it." Or, when a state wants to ban guns, your organization could say, "Well, the state should do what it wants." You would need to be consistent, of course. ;)

If I had an ISP... (0)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805194)

I would set up an internal page that allowed you to click a button on a PHP enabled page that would read:

Do you want to block listed sites?:

[BLOCK] [UNBLOCK]

Then, if you clicked "block" it would block port 80 to all outside access except the internal page.

That would provide a way of blocking the listed sites.......... (BOFH does ISP)

Re:If I had an ISP... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805357)

you are retarded.

How? (5, Insightful)

Mad Ogre (564694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805195)

How can it be a violation if it is an optional service offered to those who want it?

Wrong solution (1)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805199)

They need to create a list of sites that are NON pornographic and then block access to everything else. That list will fit on a DVD and the other way it would likely require a small country to fit the firewall in. A whitelist would be so much easier.

Oh look, Google can have its safe search turned off and look for porn. Better block it.

This is the right thing to do (4, Insightful)

loose_cannon_gamer (857933) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805214)

I grew up in Salt Lake City, and am (as you may have guessed) not a big fan of pornography. But at the same time, there's a right way to solve this, and a wrong way to solve this.

Legislating that ISPs have the responsibility to provide ways to block a list of offensive websites is a good idea and a bad implementation. That kind of censorship belongs on the consumer, not on the ISP. We might as well expect handgun realtors to provide a list of movies that children shouldn't watch to keep them from becoming violent. Sure, it's something to do about the problem, but it is the wrong thing.

I think the availability to minors of pornography is a huge problem, but there is (or at least there was) a real industry building up out of censorship tools for the internet, which provide the kind of services that this law was supposed to enforce anyway.

So I fail to see the need for such odd legislation. The right of censorship in the home has always been protected as a right of the individual, excepting those 'expressions' which have been defined by society has harmful enough to legislate against (i.e. kiddie porn). But within the bounds of what society has legislated to be acceptable, the right to refuse or accept media still belongs to the end user.

And please, if the problem is that you're trying to protect your children, please notice that it is *your* responsibility to look after and protect your children. Don't leave something so important to anybody else.

Use a hosts file (3, Interesting)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805215)

What is the big deal? Just compile the official list into a hosts file with all addresses set to 127.0.0.1 and make it available on your web site for download. That is about 30 minutes of work and then you comply with the damn law and can get on with your business. It isn't worth arguing about this crap.

Re:Use a hosts file (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805306)

That's not a bad idea.

Perhaps someone can configure this list on a peer to peer network so that the list is held on the computers of those that want censorship to complete the picture.

Let them maintain it and host it themselves.

Overturn it? (2, Insightful)

coop0030 (263345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805231)

Even if they do get this one overturned the crazy politicians will come out with another stupid law that will have to be overturned.

It is an endless cycle of incompetence.

felony overload! (2, Interesting)

0xdeaddead (797696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805237)

Once upon a time, if you killed people, stole a signifigant amount of money, or trafficed drugs you were a felon.. Seems now everything is a felon... I wonder what % of the US is felons????

When does Art become Pornography (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805254)

Sure there are many spots where the line is clear, but there is a big gray area too.

First case nudity? How much nudity does it consist to be pornography. Some culture would say a woman showing her face would be pronographic, while other cultures say it is not the nudity but their positions, that consitutes pornography. If you come up with any rule on what pornography is I am sure you can find an example that uses that rule and is not pornograph or you will find that this rule will not cover all of pornography. So if we as humans cannot make the difference all the time then how the heck are we sopose to get computers to do it for us?

Missing information (3, Insightful)

helix400 (558178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805287)

The ACLU's argument against this law fails to mention that filtering can only be done on request of the customer.

Now why would the ACLU leave out that most important detail?

Re:Missing information (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805362)

Now why would the ACLU leave out that most important detail?
Because that detail is devastating to their case.

Hmm (1)

MattWhitworth (858990) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805318)

You've got to ask the question, why are these kids accessing pr0n in the first place? How about tackling the cause rather than the effect?

Before we harangue on Free Speech... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805327)

From the summary: "Under the law, Internet providers in Utah must provide their customers with a way to disable access to sites on the list or face felony charges."

Not only will a lot of slashdotters probably not RTFA, they won't even RTFS (Read the F-ing Summary). All this law did was say, "if your customers ask you for a porn-block tool, you have to make it available to them."

It doesn't say you have to monitor content. It doesn't say you have to censor stuff yourself. All it says is that if your customers choose to exercise THEIR right to control what comes into THEIR home (and ONLY their home), part of being an ISP in Utah means you have to have that tool available to them.

The analagous law would be forcing ISPs to provide popup blocker software to those who want it. Would slashdotters be up in arms over something like this? Or is it somehow "different" because "pop-ups are evil and porn is good?"

If I was an ISP in Utah, I would have already entered into a contract with some third-party "netnanny" service or something. If it's not against the law, I would simply refer customers to the netnanny service (they would have to pay for the extra service). If that's illegal, I just raise my rates to cover the bulk purchase of netnanny software and include it on my install CD.

What are the facts? (1)

randomErr (172078) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805330)

Is the ISP forced to block illicit content by default, or must the user request that the content be blocked?

If its forced then ACLU has a case. If its volentary then goodbye ACLU.

I'm inn a hurrry so I didn't speel chek this documment.

Yay another political firestorm (5, Interesting)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 9 years ago | (#12805332)

So yeah I have already seen about 6 posts looking something like, "those crazy right wing nut jobs want to stop the righteous and omniscient ACLU from protecting my civil liberties!" Seems to be the trend on /. recently, which makes it less interesting for me to read.

However, despite whether you may think this is a left vs right issue or whatever, I find it highly disturbing that the more liberal groups continue their attempts to strip the rights of states to have their own laws, especially in a representative government.

The problem I really have here is that while all you pro-ACLU people continue to scream about the ACLU protecting my right to free speech, it seems that the ACLU is restricting the right of the people of Utah (in this case) to elect a government which is representative of their ideals and beliefs.

Remember, our representatives are put into their positions in order to act on our behalf. Who is to say the people of Utah do not want this law? Maybe they do. If they do not, they could elect individuals who would overturn said law.

Now I don't necessarily agree with this law and I don't necessarily dislike the ACLU, but this rabid attack on how the "right" is bad and the "left" is good is really starting to get simply immature and sickening.

503 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12805339)

were any of you guys getting 503s from /. a minute or two ago?
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