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Challenging the Child Online Protection Act

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the think-of-the-children dept.

213

narramissic writes, "Today in Philadelphia a federal trial got underway that will decide whether COPA is constitutional. The outcome will determine whether operators of Web sites can be held accountable for failing to block children's access to inappropriate materials. An article on ITworld outlines the arguments of the foes in the battle: the DOJ and the ACLU. If I were a betting woman, I'd put my money on the ACLU. Parents, schools, etc. have to take responsibility for the internet usage of children in their charge." Two courts have found COPA unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has upheld the ban on its enforcement, while asking a lower court to examine whether technological measures such as filtering could be as effective as the law in shielding children; thus this trial. The article does not mention that it was the DOJ's preparation for the trial that was behind its earlier request that search companies turn over their records — a request that only Google refused.

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213 comments

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I'll just say it in advance (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551904)

Comment 1: Think of the children
Comment 2: It's the parents job to police their kids
Comment 3: Parents can't police all the time

Just call this a meta-post so that we can get the generic comments out of the way.

Re:I'll just say it in advance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551942)

Comment 1: Think of the children

Isn't thinking about children a little too much what is causing all the trouble here?

Re:I'll just say it in advance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552238)

R Kelly?

Re:I'll just say it in advance (2, Insightful)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552896)

The "think of the children" post would be sarcastic. "Think of the children" on slashdot is ALWAYS sarcastic. The next time you see "think of the children", think "sarcasm", OK?

Re:I'll just say it in advance (3, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552016)

I, for one, welcome our new .. oh wait.

Re:I'll just say it in advance (2, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553272)

I, for one, welcome our new .. oh wait.

Our new child protecting, internet sanitizing overlords and their army of enslaved ISP admins?

COPA is idiotic (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552020)

From a purely technical standpoint, these 'children protection' things are total bullshit. I remember faking my age all the time before I was 13 to get around those acts.

Re:COPA is idiotic (3, Insightful)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552208)

I recommend a fast google search on variations of "credit card generator".

It would take someone about 15 minutes tops to generate a CC# to use on one of these sites. Unless they are going to require every adult related sited to take credit cards, they are only going to hit the CC validation routines, not test if they are valid accounts. Oh, and is the US government going to give out a free credit card with every bankruptcy now also?

By the way, if I'm a US citizen, running a company based in Switzerland, hosting a site through a UK company, with servers based in Canada - does this law apply? How about if the domain is registered through a US company, but me, the company, the host, and the servers are all based outside the US?

Re:COPA is idiotic (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552398)

It would take someone about 15 minutes tops to generate a CC# to use on one of these sites.

Why? Tonnes and tonnes of free pr0n on images.google.com

Why waste your time?

Re:COPA is idiotic (2, Insightful)

needacoolnickname (716083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552552)

By the way, if I'm a US citizen, running a company based in Switzerland, hosting a site through a UK company, with servers based in Canada - does this law apply? How about if the domain is registered through a US company, but me, the company, the host, and the servers are all based outside the US?


I think you just don't want to pay the taxman.

Re:COPA is idiotic (4, Insightful)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552212)

Exactly. COPA is stupid because politicians don't understand technology, or don't care to understand. The entire COPA thing was a ploy by politicians to claim they had done something "for the children." It's a classic attempt by politicians to, A) Spread FUD to the ignorant, B) Propose fake solution that in some cases gets them elected (gains power) or helps their CEO buddies (Profit!!!). Politicians survive by fabricating problems or by making existing problems seem worse. It's their bread and butter.

No, COPA is working as designed. (4, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552240)

> From a purely technical standpoint, these 'children protection' things are total bullshit. I remember faking my age all the time before I was 13 to get around those acts.

DOS: No serial number required.
95/98/SE: To cut down on casual piracy, enter this serial number.
Win2K: Since that didn't work, it might phone home unless you ask nicely that it not phone home.
XP: Since that didn't work, it won't activate until you let it phone home. Don't worry, we won't nuke existing installations.
Vista: Since that didn't work, we'll nuke any box that stops phoning.

Or if we're talking copyright - witness the evolution of the NET Act ("It's a crime if you sell it"), the DMCA ("It's a crime if you crack DRM"), and the attempt to pass something harsher (SSSCA/CBDTPA) a few years later. (Look for another attempt after the elections, and/or something to mandate DRM into the hardware specifications, as Vista takes hold in the marketplace and is once again cracked...)

COPA was designed to ensure that under-12 kids could get Myspace pages, that under-18 kids can click "I'm over 18" to see b00bies, and that (not legally required, but I've seen it on many brewery/winery/distillery pages) under-21 people can click "I'm over 21" to read about booze.

After a few years, and after enough "horror stories" have appeared in the press about how 11-year-olds are being victimized on Myspace, 15-year-olds are seeing teh b00bies, and underage drinkers are able to read about beer, legislators will have a wide selection ready-made excuses to come up with some sort of "Real ID" or single-signon system for the Intertubes.

The courts only decide whether or not something's constitutional. Until they do so, it is constitutional. When the courts strike down COPA, it will be replaced by something even worse.

Re:No, COPA is working as designed. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552556)

Children in north american victimised through the internet: Probably less than a dozen, certainly less than 100.
Children victimised in north american churches: thousands.

I think we know where the real problem is.

Re:No, COPA is working as designed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552760)

> Children in north american victimised through the internet: Probably less than a dozen, certainly less than 100.
> Children victimised in north american churches: thousands.
>
> I think we know where the real problem is.

Yeah. "Churches can afford lobbyists."

Re:COPA is idiotic (1)

SocratesJedi (986460) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552268)

Even worse: I remember getting a Yahoo account deactivated for listing MM/DD/2000 as the birth date for want of keeping that information private (what need could Yahoo have for such information?) when I was of age to use it. It's worse than doing nothing at all.

Re:COPA is idiotic (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552574)

I know, those damn PG-13 movies just have too much sex and violence for you to handle at 12. It's those rebels like you that ruin the movies for all of us!

Re:I'll just say it in advance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552112)

I'd also like to say

Journal written by narramissic (997261) and posted by kdawson on Monday October 23, @04:59PM

Get a room you two

Comment 4: (2, Insightful)

Phantom of the Opera (1867) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552224)

If parents raise their children in a halfway decent manner, having them exposed to some awful sites will cause revulsion but not harm.

Gah, kids don't spontaneously explode if they don't wear a helmet while tricycling.

Re:Comment 4: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552562)

Gah, kids don't spontaneously explode if they don't wear a helmet while tricycling.

You're clearly not rigging the detonators properly.

Re:I'll just say it in advance (0, Redundant)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552342)

Comment 4: In soviet russia porn downloads you.

Comment 5:
Step 1: Porn
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit

How is this different that TV? (5, Insightful)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552512)

With Cable TV, you have the ability to set your television set to block specific channels - thinks like Skinamax, Spice, etc. These channels aren't automatically blocked. The parent has to sit down with the remote control and program it. I don't see why the internet should be filtered for the rest of us, because parents are too lazy to look over Little Johnny's shoulder and tell him to say off the warez site with the nasty ads.

If you want the internet filtered for your kid, install and manage your own filtering software. It's the parent's responsibility to take charge of what their children are doing, viewing, etc. It's not the content provider's problem at all, particular on a medium like the internet where you have no face to face interaction (e.g. checking ID). Frankly, if you require a valid credit card, I think you'd solve the whole issue.

My objection lies with of some of the banner ads and emails, which can be really atrocious. From time to time, I get things in my Inbox that make me cringe and wish I would remove them from my brain. "Barnyard" and "hot lovin'" should NEVER appear in the same sentence. I can only imagine something like that coming to a small child....

2 cents,

QueenB

Re:How is this different that TV? (5, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552872)

"I can only imagine something like that coming to a small child...."

Half would say "ewwww" and half would start laughing, then they'd all turn on the TV or go out and play. Kids are not as fragile as we make them out to be, and most are terribly uninterested in all of that icky adult stuff.

Or to quote, "Stop. They're KISSING again. Go on to the fire swamp, that sounded good..."

Re:How is this different that TV? (3, Insightful)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553168)

Good point. I was about to make the same comparison when I found your post.

If a parent purchases all of the naughty cable channels, then their kids have access to those as well. The cable company does nothing to prevent those kids from seeing those channels. If the parents want to prevent their kids from watching that, they use the filtering built into the client, the TV.

The same goes for the internet. The parent purchases access to the whole internet. The ISP does nothing to prevent kids from seeing naughty sites. If the parents want to prevent their kids from visiting those sites, they use the filtering software available for the client, the computer.

Re:How is this different that TV? (0, Redundant)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553184)

Vista supposedly comes with built in parental controls, so the biggest excuse (I don't want to buy/can't afford the software) will no longer be one.

Re:How is this different that TV? (2, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553780)

Not that I disagree with you, but on Cable TV, the number of channels you have to block will be minor, compared to the millions of inappropriate sites on the web. It is infeasible to have a black list for each of these sites. I'm not sure how well automated filtering software works at all, so I don't know that that would help.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551910)

The COPA is a big pain in the ass for web site operators that makes unreasonable (and completly unbenificial) demands form us. The sooner this is struck down, the better.

The name is wrong... (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551916)

This, even if enforced, will not protect children from themselves, or the unscrupulous... it will, however, give polititians someone to roast on an open fire to make them look good in election years.... This should be the VFMA (vote for me act) as that is how it will be used, like many other bad laws in the US

Nothing to do with the constitution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551922)

Nothing in the constitution can reasonably be interpreted as prohibiting this legislation. This is another case of liberal activist judges legislating from the bench. Laws are meant to be passed by our elected representatives, not by judicial fiat.

Re:Nothing to do with the constitution (1, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552038)

Comeon, do tell. Are you serious or was this just a troll. Hell the current "conservative" judges in the Supreme Court also had some problems with this. Not enough to knock it out completly, but they are being careful, knowing its not quite right.

What if we held the same standards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551924)

...to the congressional page program?

Check out Bush's wrongdoing! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16551960)

The USA is rapidly becoming a police state. Bush is making all the preparations so that, when he engineers the next "terrorist" attack, he will take control and become the Fuehrer of the soon-to-be North American Union (NAU).

See more here:
http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/911.html [comcast.net]

http://malfy.org/ [malfy.org]

Re:Check out Bush's wrongdoing! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552062)

Mod this kook down, this is a hoax. Everyone knows that Bush is going to take over this country and create the the Union of North America (UNA), not the North American Union you retard. Get the facts straight.

Re:Check out Bush's wrongdoing! (1)

rebel13 (973392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552396)

so, is the una different from the nau like the judean people's front is different from the people's front of judea?

Re:Check out Bush's wrongdoing! (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552746)

yes, that's obvious

Re:Check out Bush's wrongdoing! (4, Funny)

Bugs42 (788576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552452)

Why oh why can't we have a mod option for -1, Has No Contact With Reality?

Re:Check out Bush's wrongdoing! (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553768)

or how about -1 error code 420 or -1 velocity C+20kph or -1 divbyzero or -1 SQRT-2

Copa is idiotic. (3, Insightful)

NewsSurfer (1000129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16551978)

Any child who wants to get around these screenings can, unless a credit card is required, and some kids have cards anyway, or use their parents. This law just makes a headache for programmers and people who have to prove their innocence to not being a child.

Re:Copa is idiotic. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552278)

needing a CC hasn't stopped children. I work for an online transaction company and I have had customers call in about transactions. I look up the transaction, it's for a WOW godly armor of knowledge. Customer doesn't know what that is. I ask about kids in the house playing said game. Que child's name being called and a nice "thank you."

Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552002)

If I were a betting woman, I'd put my money on the ACLU. Parents, schools, etc. have to take responsibility for the internet usage of children in their charge.

That's not a bad bet given the previous rulings, but picking the odds of a court's decision based on one's own ideas of what people "have to" do seems like a lousy way of handicapping.

Political vs Commercial Speach (3, Insightful)

Maclir (33773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552034)

I don't see any reference to that distinction in the Constitution.....

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552302)

I'm not sure what you're referring to. Freedom of speech is balanced along with our other freedoms and case law has upheld political speech as the most stringently protected, while commercial speech is the least protected based upon how that speech conflicts with other rights. For example, claiming a political candidate is the best choice because they don't kill people is much more highly protected than a commercial claiming a product does not kill people. In the former case, even if the speech was factually incorrect, it would probably take a slander case from the politician himself to get it pulled, while in the latter case truth in advertising laws could easily get the speech censored.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552420)

Freedom of speech is balanced along with our other freedoms and case law has upheld political speech as the most stringently protected, while commercial speech is the least protected based upon how that speech conflicts with other rights.

Actually courts have been fairly consistent in ruling hate speech (aka fightin' words) to have the least amount of constitutional protection.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552466)

Actually courts have been fairly consistent in ruling hate speech (aka fightin' words) to have the least amount of constitutional protection.

Well, hate speech that is political almost always wins when it gets to federal court, but if you're talking about speech that is directed at an individual then it can constitute assault or blackmail, or a threat and yes that speech has little protection because it conflicts very strongly with other basic rights that are also protected by the law. You make a good point.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552362)

I don't see any reference to that distinction in the Constitution.....

Yet the courts support different standards for all sorts of speech. Print > Broadcast > Advertising, for example. Personal web pages and comments are generally afforded the same protection as print. Not all speech is created equal.

Like it or not, the courts have as much role as the legislative branch in making laws, as far as practical matters are concerned.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552498)

I've never seen "seperation of church and state", "right to privacy", "right to their own body", and many other things in there... but they keep appearing. It doesn't matter which side you're on. The "living document" keeps "evolving" new words that we must abide by even if they don't seem to be written there.

You've got to keep a close watch on people. Everyone from atheist to the far religeous right to NAMBLA to the ACLU seem to think The Constiution says they are right. It may, it may not, but they all claim it.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552660)

"right to privacy", "right to their own body"

Please see the Ninth Amendment, as well as the Fourth.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553288)

That's not entirely correct. When we think of right to privacy (for instance, Lawrence v. Texas [wikipedia.org] ) and peoples right to their own body (Roe v. Wade [wikipedia.org] ) it's almost always the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that is invoked. True, the fourth amendment protects against illegal searches and such, but it says nothing about allowing people to be gay. Among non-lawyers, the Fourteenth Amendment is easily forgotten, but it is one of the greatest of them all, right up there with amendment one. It made institutionalized racism illegal, it ensures equality, and it gives due process rights to everyone. That last one is mindnumbingly important, it is what ensures that all americans are granted the liberties that they have a right to, even though they aren't specifically spelled out in the constitution. Stuff like abortions, contraceptives, choice in secual partner, privacy, etc.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552694)

Wow.. You make refuting comments soo easy.

---I've never seen "seperation of church and state"

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; (Bill of Rights, Amendment 1)

"right to privacy"

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Bill of Rights, Amendment 4)

"right to their own body"

(Reread Amendment 4)

---and many other things in there... but they keep appearing. It doesn't matter which side you're on. The "living document" keeps "evolving" new words that we must abide by even if they don't seem to be written there.

Try reading the document. It's rather clear in the language and its intent.

---You've got to keep a close watch on people. Everyone from atheist to the far religeous right to NAMBLA to the ACLU seem to think The Constiution says they are right. It may, it may not, but they all claim it.

I dont give a single shit about some other group. As long as they do no harm to others, Its not any of my business (or... I dont care if they are intent on consentual behaviors or if they wish to harm themselves.)

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552834)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Well, that takes care of separation of church and Congress. So why is it unconstitutional for a school to force all students to say a Christian prayer - or to keep students from saying one if they want to? The principal isn't Congress.

As the OP said, it's the interpretation, not the exact wording.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552880)

14th amendment.

Keep reading.

Yours in Christ,
Anon

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553328)

So why is it unconstitutional for a school to force all students to say a Christian prayer

Because I'm paying for it, and I'm not a Christian. That's not fair, and it's not Constitutional.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553366)

With the Federal Board of Education now in place, who votes in appropiations bills?

Thats right, the Congress. It would be illegal to fund forced religious happenings within a public institution. It is also against the law to keep their child home, due to truancy laws.

I can see why forced prayer in schools became illegal, along with valedectorian speeches of religion (you have no choice to avoid them). What I cant understand is when the schools prevent the students from privately saying them.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

John Miles (108215) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553506)

What I cant understand is when the schools prevent the students from privately saying them.

That simply does not happen outside the American Family Association's press releases.

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553600)

actually A is a violation but B is not (and in fact should be protected by it)

The Trick is "officer of the ...." is how this gets hooked in (fed money runs the School so the fed calls the rules)
Congress > Fed Government > Funding > Hi Teacher

Re:Political vs Commercial Speach (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553432)

You're wrong. The fourth amendment doesn't give you a full right to privacy, and it doesn't give you any rights to your own body. It gives you a right not to have your house searched without a warrant, but that's it. Sure that is a small part of privacy, but it sure as hell ain't the whole thing! It says nothing about, say, homosexuality (which is THE most important issue in privacy-law), nor does it mention right to your own body anywhere.

No, both of those rights are ensured by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. The most famous cases related to "right to privacy" and "right to your own body" is arguably Lawrence v. Texas and Roe v. Wade. BOTH of those cases was won because the law that was broken was found to be in violation of the fourteenth amendment. And the GP has sort-of a murky point there somewhere; due process is anything but clear. The constitution never explicitly states that you have any sort of right to privacy. This statement: "...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." has been interpreted that way, but it is in no way clear-cut.

Before you start lecuring people in law, make sure you've got your amendments straight.

What is Inappropriate? (3, Insightful)

Blackknight (25168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552054)

This law sounds incredibly vague. What is inappropriate? If I have a few cuss words on my home page does that mean I have to block everybody? What about bikini pics? How about articles that some people think are inappropriate because of their religious beliefs?

How does this affect web hosting companies? We host thousands of domains and I'm sure some of them could be considered inappropriate for kids.

It's not a site owner's job to filter out people that might be offended by the content, if you don't like a site don't go there.

Re:What is Inappropriate? (5, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552188)

What about string bikini pics.

What about bikini pics that you can make out anatomy through (oh wait, JC Penneys add three months ago had that and it ran in the newspaper too).

What about a lady in a full corset & stockings (that cover more than the bikini). ...holding a banana ...holding a zuchinni ...holding a vibrator ...holding a realistic dildo ...holding a real guy. ...with just a hint of her aereola showing. ...with the top half showing. ...with nipples. ...oh wait, it's really a male transexual (male nipples being legal) ...but he's in a corset. ...but that was fine for Tim Curry

Someone else said it best here in the past.

PLEASE post a web page with a continuam of pictures from fully appropriate to fully inappropriate with each one flagged as to how appropriate or inappropriate it is. That way we can all go to it and see what is an is not appropriate to have on the web.

Re:What is Inappropriate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552622)

Personally, I think it's more inappropriate that our children can see all the violence that they want pretty much without restriction, but, *gasp* if they're exposed to a nipple, they're corrupted!

But it's Ok to breast feed a baby.

I tell ya, I just don't get American society....and I was born here!

Re:What is Inappropriate? (1)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553474)

"male nipples being legal"

If you ever have occasion to utter that sentence, consider moving to a different country. Really.

Re:What is Inappropriate? (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553274)

I think a bigger problem is equal protection under the law clause, for example in NYC it's perfectly legal for a woman or a man to be in public, on the street with their breasts exposed but it's illegal for a television station in NYC to show the woman's breasts to their audience in NYC! The concept that equal content can be illegal or legal depending on how it's delivered is just crazy.

Obligatory (3, Insightful)

cpu_fusion (705735) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552060)

Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children given access to the Internet by their parents?

Re:Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552996)

Fuck the children and fuck "save the children" politics and polititions.

Parents, do your fucking job. It's not about disallowing visuals or access it's about teaching (morals and the like). All you can do is hope your kids do what you feel is in there best intrest when you're not around. You Can't Force Kids to Do Anything (my own childhood proves that one solidly).

If you want to attempt to control your child's access to something it's YOUR responsibility to do so - not mine you fucking ass-wipes.

nanny state (5, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552072)

Parents, schools, etc. have to take responsibility for the internet usage of children in their charge.

Why is it that the ACLU has to fight in court to get people to understand something that should be painfully obvious? Man up people, the government is not your mommy.

Re:nanny state (0)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552322)

Why mandatory tougher sentences for people dealing drugs inside a school zone?

Because parents and teachers can't be next to their children 24 hours a day, and we don't want somebody trying to sell them crack.

I also don't want my kids buying alcohol, cigarettes or porn. I cannot be there with them every time they are in a store. I rely on the law to prevent the clerk from selling them these things.

I don't believe in this act, but I don't buy the "everything your kid says or does is your fault because there is no way people other than the parent can influence their kids."

I want people who go out of their way to entice my children into buying crack, alcohol, tobacco or pornography to be held accountable. I want the guy who starts up a pokemon forum as a front to hit on and flirt with preteen boys held accountable.

I just think this act is useless. But, it is absolutely the governments job to protect its citizenry.

Ever wonder why you're alive? The government keeps you that way, by threatening those sick of you with punishment for what they call "murder".

Re:nanny state (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552826)

I also don't want my kids buying alcohol, cigarettes or porn. I cannot be there with them every time they are in a store. I rely on the law to prevent the clerk from selling them these things.

If you can't trust your kid to obey the simple rules, by what right do you allow them to travel unescorted in public? You can and must be there every time your kid is unescorted by an adult; until such time as that child is old enough to be responsible for their own behaviour.

It's no one else's job to enforce your personal little taboos. Maybe you think women need to have their heads covered with scarves, and that your children shouldn't have to see women with their heads bared. Maybe you don't think they should hear anything aside from your religious beliefs. Maybe you want to indoctrinate them in any one of a thousand different ways.

Tough. Other people have rights, too. It's called free speech. If you don't want your young kids in a porn store, keep an eye on them until they're old enough to decide if they want to go in on their own. Once they're an adult, they get the right to make their own decisions. Until then, *you* have to take responsibility for their decisions.

Re:nanny state (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553490)

Overall, I am on your side, but have some differences of policy (?).

My 15 year old just pointed out to me that if I were to implement filtering or other measures, she would try to circumvent them to get where she wanted- if successful, then she would go to "worse sites than Foamy the Squirrel" ( she is turned off by pr0n, and Foamy is the most "subversive" site she visits).

I think that the best you can do is to influence your kids in their early formative years to instill a sense of values that reflect your own, you can then try to further that set of values as they get older (best bet is to keep an open dialog with them- you want them to honestly talk to you about stuff!).
After that, all you can hope for is that you have done your job.
Your kids are individuals- they will try to go where their imagination and curiousity take them- all you can do is encourage them, inhibit them, or (more likely) some middle ground in between.

It's a tough call for parents wanting to protect and at the same time educucate their kids to the real world.
Pretty much you are damned if you do and damned if you don't- it all depends on the foundation that was built during the early years, IMHO.

I don't have a real problem with adults partaking in recreational drugs, but am supportive of the laws making it harsher on the dealers in a school zone, but this will not stop the kids really wanting to go there.

I also understand that working parents may have to depend on third parties to help raise their children nowdays. but my sympathy is limited here- ya' gotta make up your mind where your priorities are, and take some personal responsibility for your choice.

It's tough, no doubt about it, but to pass the responsibility off to third parties is the wrong approach- be proactive! (that's what got you into this to start with- you procreated- take responsibility for that choice!)

COPA is pointless (4, Interesting)

springbox (853816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552090)

I can see that there were some "good intentions" to protect children or whatever the case might have been, but if you've seen most web sites with a COPA agreement (phpBB in particular), as a registering user, you have two choices:


"I am under 13"
"I am 13 or older."

Ok great! Now only the honest kids will be prevented from signing up to most forums. It's about as ridiculous as the "YES, I'm 18 or older" on adult pr0n sites.

It would seem as if COPA is only protecting the site operators in the event that something bad DOES happen to young childern. These kids can still get themselves into trouble if they want. I guess some people think that the fancy agreement is somehow significant (as seen in EULAs.)

Re:COPA is pointless (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552220)

That's COPPA, not COPA. COPA is "Son of CDA" or the "OMG kiddi3z can look at b008i35!!!!" Law.

Re:COPA is pointless (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552254)

This kind of check works perfect in States and UK. If you're under 13 you probably still cannot read anyway...

Re:COPA is pointless (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552360)

It would seem as if COPA is only protecting the site operators in the event that something bad DOES happen to young childern. These kids can still get themselves into trouble if they want. I guess some people think that the fancy agreement is somehow significant (as seen in EULAs.)
If it is obvious that the site owner should have known that [User] was below X years of age, they could theoretically be held liable.

Example: Myspace pages where kids claim "i was born in 1970" but also have "tee hee hee, I'm 12" on their webpage. Myspace goes around deleting/whatever those pages for violating the TOS.

Most importantly, if you behave like you have an obligation to do [something], the law can easily decide that your users have an expectation of [something]. Cue the civil lawsuits saying "it's your fault X happend to my kid, because you didn't [something]"

You'll have to pry CmdrTaco's child porn (0, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552120)

from his clammy, sticky, hands!

How bout filters.txt (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552132)

I say we just add a filters.txt to our sites similar to robots.txt .. we then list pages that might be offsensive/adult in nature, and then make someone else responsible for filtering.

So that I can say I did due diligence using standard protocols - you failed to protect your kid or your kid circumvented the protocol.

Re:How bout filters.txt (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553380)

They already have all kinds of filters, most porn sites have pages devoted to how to install content filters, and most reputable porn (OK Don't laugh) have the meta info to allow those filtes to work. The truth is pre-adults can't legally spend money on the internet, so why waste the bandwidth on them?

Re:How bout filters.txt (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553572)

Who decides what's offensive or adult in nature? Is guns.ru [guns.ru] adult in nature? Are news reports about massacres in Darfur adult or offensive? What about websites reviewing video games?

Frankly, I don't like the idea of anyone controlling what my kids see but me. A human being can only recognize something once its been shown or described to them. If you prevent kids from seeing "bad" things, how can they know such things are bad?

NICE BIG COCKS!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552178)

That's what we need, a Tyler Durden inspired version of those ribbon campaigns. With AJAX, we could have a throbbing, erect member appear briefly, center screen on participating sites.

THE TYLER DURDEN CAMPAIGN FOR YOU TAKING FULL FUCKING RESPONSIBILTY FOR RAISING YOUR OFFSPRING.


Right on message and Mac users would love it too!

awesome (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552270)

Glad it's the ACLU and not the EFF, now we might actually win!

Re:awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552476)

It wouldn't be so funny if it weren't so true. For all of their Christians have no rights b.s., they do protect free speech in some cases.

How about voluntary filtering? (3, Insightful)

nEJC76 (904161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552292)

I've been wondering, why don't the adult web-masters voluntarily put something like
<META NAME="might_be_inaporopriate" CONTENT="true">

Let the net-nanny type apps handle it, and be done with it...
Its lot less painfull than moving to .xxx domains and the parents not using filtering software have only self to blame.

I know l33t kids could get around it, but it's an offer of hand.

Re:How about voluntary filtering? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553676)

Funny you mention that. There is a rating system called RSACi that does just this - and it is as easy as a few checkboxes [icra.org] . Internet Explorer supports filtering based on it, since 6.0 at least.

While not perfect, it would certainly filter better than just having "13 or older" and "less than 13" links to sign up for a forum!

Re:How about voluntary filtering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553802)

Its called PICS

Just a reminder as we vote out Republican bums... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552298)

...for their thorough trashing of our republic, that them Dem bums we will be voting in are just as bad.

COPA was passed Dem help in congress and signed by a Dem Prez.

I can see a big problem here (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552344)

As always somebody's trying to blame some organizations, not parents. They're easier to sue.
But be honest, how can you check the age of kid? There's no way. Only way would be to use some kind of adult interaction. Let's say - if kid wants to register for this kind of page it needs to be done by adult. How? Simple. Bu using credit card. AFAIK it's quite popular with pr0n sites (no, I'm not registered with even one). This way companies can always put a blame on adults, effectively protecting themselves from being sued.
Of course there's a problem - less kids registered - means less income. And kids prefer their parents NOT TO KNOW what is going on with them. It's always easier to blame somebody.

Re:I can see a big problem here (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552588)

Let's say - if kid wants to register for this kind of page it needs to be done by adult. How? Simple. Bu using credit card.

You're out of date. More and more minors are getting credit cards.

Of course there's a problem - less kids registered - means less income.

If you're talking about kids and porn sites, you're way off. Do you know anyone in the porn business? Kids don't have a lot of money but do have time. Kids don't like to create records of porn viewing and don't want anyone to be able to track them. They are the least likely to pay any money of all demographics. Do you know what is really bad for a porn business? Publicity. Clients like to be anonymous because of the social stigma. One case of parents catching kids using a site can cause a huge hubbub and lose them a lot of business as their clients move elsewhere to avoid any possible publicity.

Most porn cites would be very happy to have a way to stop kids from visiting their sites. It would be good for business. Most porn cites voluntarily submit their names to parental controls lists and the major ones even help fund a consolidated database to make it easier for the industry to have good listings. They also tend to use good keywords to help search cites accurately mark them as adult. Less registered kids means more income and less liability, not less income.

Just not feasible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552374)

To my mind this is like putting the responsibility for controlling underage drinking in the hands of the alcohol manufactures instead of the retailers and drinking establishments. How do you make a cap on a bottle that can be opened by a 21 year old but not a 20 year old? I don't think these controls can be feasibly implemented any further away than the initial person-Internet interface. once you are past that you have no means of absolutely determining age and identity.

HOW ABOUT PROTECT ME FROM THE CHILDREN (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552386)

I want to know what is being done to protect adults FROM children. False allegations, false accusations, baiting, online deception, vandalism, slander, and the like.

I spent two years in prison for some bullshit some kid said on me, and I had to not only prove it was impossible, but had to hire a lawyer to find a technicality in the trial to say the trial was bogus. Otherwise, without having a family on the outside with a little bit of money, I would be rotting in prison today. Go ahead, tell me children don't lie about being molested. Go ahead, tell me children don't lie. Go ahead, tell me! I will look you dead in the eye and tell you how full of **** you are.

I bristle with anger whenever anybody does anything in the name of "protecting the children". These laws are being used to go on the equivalent of modern day witch hunts. Don't believe it? Wait until they come after you, and you're in front of a jury stating as plainly as possible, how what they are saying makes absolutely no sane common sense. It doesn't matter. The jury has been cherry picked jury of neo-conservative republicans. You'd get a much fairer jury if you stood outside Walmart and grabbed the first 13 people that walked in or out the door. When has any defendant ever had any say so or oversite in the picking of a jury? Answer: NEVER. Think about that. That's why America is so corrupt, its why everyone pleads out, its why you have the right to a jury trial in name only.

I think any person who wants to protect children, needs to start by granting children more basic human rights. For one thing, to be considered as citizens of the country, and not property of their parents. To be given a say so in the development and passing of the laws under which they have to live under. To have the voluntary right to opt out of schools, which have become indoctrination camps to teach people to jump when they are told.

There is no freedom in this country. You have freedom of mobility, and that's about it (and you have that anywhere). How many of the hundreds of thousands of laws on the books have you ever had any chance to vote on, ever been asked to vote on. How many of these bogus laws ever come up from review? Never. That's why there are ludicrous laws still on the book about not spitting from your donkey on the sidewalk in front of a lady during daylight hours.

These laws are passed in some place far away in a room by a select group of people and then applied nationwide to the majority, who are too busy with their own lives struggling to make ends meet to travel to find these backrooms and stand up (even though they wouldn't be let in the door).

Re:HOW ABOUT PROTECT ME FROM THE CHILDREN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552598)

Umm, Have you considered taking an anger management course?

Re:HOW ABOUT PROTECT ME FROM THE CHILDREN (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553358)

He is right tough, children molestation accusations are false more often than not, but they still ruin the life of the accused beyond recovery, parents should be accountable for the damage that the lies of their children cause.

Re:HOW ABOUT PROTECT ME FROM THE CHILDREN (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553390)

These laws are being used to go on the equivalent of modern day witch hunts.

It's not just the kids [crimelibrary.com] who sometimes lie about this stuff. However....

When has any defendant ever had any say so or oversite in the picking of a jury? Answer: NEVER.

Sorry, but this is untrue. I've served on a jury before, and both sides' attorneys got ample opportunity to interview potential jurors and to dismiss the ones they didn't like (the number of dismissals varies by jurisdiction). They also get the chance to object to dismissals if they feel the dismissal pattern of the opposing side is discriminatory. What's more, in criminal cases, the defendant only needs one juror to agree with them at the verdict in order to force the prosecution to retry or drop the case.

how are other media handled? (3, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552508)

Does the federal govt. currently hold pornographic video distributors accountable for limiting the sale (or rental) of their product to minors? If so, and if that restriction is considered to be constitutional, then I'm not sure how one can argue that COPA is not also constitutional. It just applies the same principle to businesses that distribute their product over the net instead of through a brick and mortar (or mail order) system.

Re:how are other media handled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16552636)

So the DVD distributor is liable when Johnny Jnr watches his fathers "Anal Shemales in latex" DVD?

Re:how are other media handled? (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553056)

Read what I wrote: "limiting the sale (or rental) of their product to minors". His father is the entity to whom the video was sold or rented. Not Johnny Jr. So, in that case, the seller/renter would not be liable even if such a law were in place. They would be liable if they sold (or rented) to Johnny Jr. directly.

Re:how are other media handled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553212)

If some 17 year old kid with a fake ID rents a porno, whose fault is it? I blame the kid, but he's the one the law's supposed to protect, so nothing happens. It's just easier to use a fake ID when there's no human interaction going on.

If you're specifically marketing to kids, like by seeding www.badboysbigbirds.com (BIG heads in DEEP holes) links as being to disney.com or something, that's a whole different matter, and yes, you deserve to be sodomized with a cactus filled with radioactive scorpions. But if a kid seeks something out, it's his fault, not the distributor.

You completely missed the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553662)

Since when does Johnny Jr pay the internet bills?

Won't be missed (1)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 7 years ago | (#16552640)

I hope COPA gets shot down... no one will miss it. Really, it's just a way for site owners to transfer blame: "The stupid kid lied about his age, so there's nothing I could have done. Not my problem." Though, COPA has come in handy as an excuse to ban underage asshats from forums and the like, when you discover they're 11 and registered as 13. ;) No child under 13 should be set loose on the internet unsupervised. In fact, the same can be said of most 14 and 15 year-olds too. And, finally, to beat a dead horse, no form of mass media (internet, video games, TV, etc) should be used as a substitute for real parenting.

A corrosive addcitive effect... (-1, Flamebait)

happy_place (632005) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553174)

I hope it is found legal. Pornography is addictive, and is not victimless. I don't know of many people proud of this sort of thing, and it hurts families and breaks up stable relationships. Most people aren't proud of their involvement in it. Whenever it does come up that someone has a problem with the stuff, it's always a "scandal". It leads people to think that they need more titillation in order to be happy in their relationships. I have always failed to understand how a thing that is addictive, warps young minds before a young boy and girl even have a chance to go on their first date they're fed garbabe from all sorts of ridiculous entertainment forms, and destroys the peace of so many people, why it cannot be regulated and controlled, in order to promote freedom, rather than the other way around. If it were just boobies, shown in good taste, I don't think I'd care, but this deluge of all sorts of stuff, which is escalating to be "Younger, wilder, dirtier, or more perverse" isn't leading anyone in the direction which sustains and inspires citizens to treat each other with the respect we're all due. --Ray

Bullshit! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553620)

I don't like the effect religion or disney cartoons have on young minds. I think the world would be a better place without religion and its hateful influence. I suspect a fair portion of sicko porn is a direct symptom of religious teachings. Those who believe images of human reproduction or nudity to be "filth" should be sectioned for the good of mankind.

Despite my beliefs, I'm not going around telling others how to raise their kids. It's none of my business. If parents and guardians fail to take responsibility for children in their care, that's none of my business either. If parents are not capable of supervising their children, the kids should probably be put in state care.

If I'm expected to take responsibilty for others kids then the first thing that needs censoring is religion. All of it. Let us rid ourselves of this poison!

Forcing your morality on others (2, Interesting)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 7 years ago | (#16553520)

Just because you dislike porn doesn't mean you can tell other people whether or not they should be allowed to watch it. That's what freedom's about. You know, that thing America's founded upon but the government keeps trying to quash? Yeah, that.

Haven't we heard all this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16553584)

Haven't we heard similar, if not the same, arguments surrounding every form of media that humanity has come up with? This stuff is great for politicians trying to promote themselves as the 'family values' candidate and for other nimrods who don't want to take responsibility for their own kids. But it is about censorship. In the 80's and 90's we had Tipper Gore and the PMRC trying to censor Heavy Metal and Gangsta Rap. And Andrea Dvorkin et al trying to ban all pr0n. I remember hearing the words "bitch" and "bastard" on that great/terrible Bruce Willis vehicle, Moonlighting, in the 80's and thinking "I can't believe they said that on TV!" Why? Is there anything inherently harmful about those words? And then there was the inevitable argument about which was worse for the kids, seeing someone get shot on the A-Team or seeing Roseanne Barr's nipples... ahh, nevermind.
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