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Restrictions On Social Sites Proposed In Georgia

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the shoulder-surfing dept.

Privacy 349

A state senator in Georgia, Cecil Staton, has introduced a bill that would require parents' permission before kids could sign up at a social networking site such as MySpace and Facebook, and mandate that the sites let parents see all material their kids generate there. Quoting: "[Senate Bill 59] would make it illegal for the owner or operator of a social networking Web site to allow minors to create or maintain a Web page without parental permission [and require] parents or guardians to have access to their children's Web pages at all times. If owners or operators of a company failed to comply with the proposed law, they would be guilty of a misdemeanor on the first offense. A second offense would be a felony and could lead to imprisonment for between one and five years and a fine up to $50,000 or both." The recently offered MySpace parental tools fall short of the bill's requirements. This coverage from the Athens Banner-Herald quotes Facebook's CPO saying that federal law forbids the company to allow anyone but the account creator to access it..

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Perfectly Noxious (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807184)

And when the parents give their permission -- OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

Re:Perfectly Noxious (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807280)

I wish i could mod you up, you brilliant son of a bitch. Bingo.

Re:Perfectly Noxious (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807392)

Come now, this is a serious problem being addressed. Children socializing? And online, no less! Good God, what is the world coming to?

people or property (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807194)

This demonstrates the battle between two competing and mutually exclusive legal approaches to minors: 1) as citizens with the same rights as any other, and 2) as the property of their parents.

responsibility or control (1, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807502)

The flip side: (1) does a parent have the responsibility to look after their children [protect them from harm etc] and the responsibility to ensure that they grow up "right" [provide moral guidance etc] -vs- (2) does the parent have the right to control their offspring?

I hunch you are not a parent, or at least I hope you aren't! You have clearly no idea as to how to provide the correct environment for a child to grow up.

Re:responsibility or control (1, Flamebait)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807922)

I'm scared since you implied you are a parent. Your children will grow up learning how to get defensive and draw specious conclusions based on no evidence when it suits there agenda. Probably end up in politics...

Re:people or property (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807526)

As long as the person responsible for their actions are the parrents, then I don't see them giving up their property any time soon.

If the state asumes liability for everything then let them be equal citizens with all the freedoms that the state currently claims they aren't able to process untill they reach a certain age. Usualy 18. And we can have five year old voting with ten year olds buying alcohol and such. I doubt anything like that would ever happen but if they aren't old enough to make certain decisions for themselves then wouldn't monitoring their other decisions be somewhat neccesary? Wouldn't that by default mean parrents should be able to override their decisions?

Which has no place on Slashdot (4, Funny)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807568)

This story has no place on Slashdot, as

a). we don't have kids
b). if we don't have any kids, then we're certainly not married
c). social networking? What is this adjective "social" you are talking about?

I kid, I kid [sorry].

Re:Which has no place on Slashdot (4, Funny)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17808032)

c). social networking? What is this adjective "social" you are talking about?

Don't get cheeky. We know perfectly well what social networking is. Social networking sites are what /we/ build so other people than ourselves can get dates!

Re:people or property (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807610)

Such is the life of a slashdotting parent. When a predator victimizes a child, the parents get blamed for not better protecting their children. When a parent uses parental controls (because we cannot monitor our kids 24 hours a day) we get blamed for taking away their "rights."

Well, as a parent I'm legally responsible for my kids, so NO, they DON'T have the same rights as adults. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Re:people or property (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807614)

You forgot the third one, which is the one that actually holds legal sway at the moment:

3) as the property of the State

KFG

local or global (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807696)

it also represents the battle between local control and global networking. Does this guy really think his brilliant law enacted in Georgia will be enforcable against, say, a social networking site in California?

bad karma? (2, Interesting)

dpreformer (32338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807200)

While I don't think the law is a good one it seems to me a workaround for the federal law saying only an account creator can have access is to only allow minors to create pages on accounts their parent creates.

First post!

Re:bad karma? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807570)

While I don't think the law is a good one it seems to me a workaround for the federal law saying only an account creator can have access is to only allow minors to create pages on accounts their parent creates.

I believe federal law trumps state law. The fine state senator in GA should be aware of that; someone from Ohio drove home that point a while ago.

Re:bad karma? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807646)

In practice, the stricter of the two applies. Thus, if your state's minimum wage is lower than the federal, you must pay at least the federal minimum. If, however, the opposite is true and you pay exactly the federal minimum, you're still in violation of state law.

Re:bad karma? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807958)

In practice, the stricter of the two applies. Thus, if your state's minimum wage is lower than the federal, you must pay at least the federal minimum. If, however, the opposite is true and you pay exactly the federal minimum, you're still in violation of state law.

True, because you can meet both by meeting one; however the GA law appears to conflict with federal law so the federal law would trump state law.

Uhh... what? (5, Insightful)

JanusFury (452699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807220)

Staton cited statistics on dozens of teens who have been molested -- or murdered, in some instances -- by people they met through MySpace.com, according to law enforcement officials.
So, wait... dozens out of what, like 10 million myspace users? That's less than a hundredth of a percent. If anything, these statistics should indicate that he should be solving more dangerous problems, like car accidents or parental child abuse or teenage drug use, not chasing after imaginary problems.

Re:Uhh... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807274)

well more like 151,889,876 users.....in my network

Re:Uhh... what? (3, Insightful)

the-amazing-blob (917722) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807288)

Abuse, rape, torture, molestation.

They get headlines.

They get politicians elected

Thus, they get attention of politicians

Re:Uhh... what? (1, Interesting)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807420)

Agreed! I live here in Atlanta, GA, and I can't believe the pinheads that get elected here (Republicans)!

We can put a man on the moon, and soon Mars; but we can't take care of our own kids without legislation being introduced. Sheesh, the Republicans are acting more like Democrats these days, and the Dem's are acting more like Republicans! What's going on!?

Lies, Damned Lies... (2, Interesting)

The Monster (227884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807456)

That's less than a hundredth of a percent.
Somebody tell this guy about the correlation between DMHO [dmho.org] ingestion and sex crimes! It's 100%

What a yutz. Let's say this guy gets his law. What practical method is there for a state legislature to require a website based on servers in some other state to verify the identity of people who want to edit pages there?

Some online services marketed to adults take a credit card as a way of proving you're an adult. They place an authorization on your card, perhaps even charging some nominal fee, which if accepted by the card issuer is sufficient proof of age. How hard is it for a teen to slip Mom's credit card out of her purse, write down the card number, expiration date, and the verification number on the reverse, knowing that if it's just an authorization, she'll have no way to know, and if it's a one-off charge of a buck or three, she still probably won't notice. Or maybe Precious Child has his own Visa Buxx, and uses that to prove he's an adult.

So that's clearly out. Is he going to create some state agency to give online credentials to adults? Uh-oh. I just realized that in posting this comment, I'm within the definition of 'create or maintain a Web page', and I don't believe I've shown anyone my drivers licence here.

The internet provides fertile new ground for evildoers, whether they're pedophiles or politicians.

Re:Lies, Damned Lies... (2, Informative)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807616)

That should be DHMO -- you link to a typo squater. The real link is: http://www.dhmo.org/ [dhmo.org]

Re:Uhh... what? (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807566)

Understand this. Lawmakers need to show they are doing something productive. By doing idiotic things, that may or may not work, instead of tackling the tough issues, they are enticing voters to re-elect them.

Re:Uhh... what? (1)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807598)

The vast majority of kids are molested by a relative or a friend of the family. By the reasoning of this bill, we should be considering banning all contact with relatives and friends of the family, or at least requiring that two or more adults be present with a child if they're not alone. Just so they can keep an eye on one another.

Re:Uhh... what? (3, Funny)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807656)

And what if they're both child molestors?
The FBI should have video stations set up in each room the child is expected to be in, since many crimes happen within the home.

Re:Uhh... what? (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807630)

According to Estey Bomberger [childmoles...victim.com] nearly 33% of all females and 14% of all males are molested before the age of 18.

If the real number is anywhere NEAR that, cracking down on social networking sites would be completely misplaced resources. As you said, dozens out of millions. Thats less than 1 in 1000 people.

If anything I think the law should require parents to do their job, otherwise face charges by reason of neglect.

Re:Uhh... what? (3, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807796)

Wait 'til the Georgia parents figure out that almost every one of those kids who were molested or murdered also listened to some form of pop music. A very high percentage of them also went to school, so it's time we take a look at radios and blackboard erasers as causes.

It's about time we crack down.

Re:Uhh... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807804)

these statistics should indicate that he should be solving more dangerous problems

But the children! You have to think of the children! The precious children! No, I'm not concerned about the millions of children dying in wars, or children working in factories, or children dying of disease. Let's get our priorities straight! We need to do something to protect the pure, innocent, tiny children on MySpace.

If you watched more primetime television, perhaps you'd be better informed. Haven't you ever seen that "To Catch A Predator" show on MSNBC? The scary child predators are everywhere, and we need to do something to protect our children. One of the primary fronts in this war on child predators is on Myspace.com.

Misquote (2, Informative)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807256)

the Athens Banner-Herald quotes Facebook's CPO saying that federal law forbids the company to allow anyone but the account creator to access it..

This isn't at all what the article quotes. It says:

Under the Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, we cannot give anyone access to or control of an individual's profile on Facebook

I don't see how this would preclude rules that require all future account creations to be done by an adult...

Normally I'm on the side of civil liberties... (1)

NonSequor (230139) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807258)

...but I think the world might actually be a better place if MySpace were crippled or shut down by these sorts of nanny laws. I think that MySpace is a net negative for mankind.

Re:Normally I'm on the side of civil liberties... (4, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807370)

I don't think My Space a net negative. IMO it's nice for the idiots to have their own place to hang out, instead of running around molesting the real internet.

Re:Normally I'm on the side of civil liberties... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807584)

i agree with you, seriously, but to a much more extreme side.
if i could emp the entire earth, i would, and not think twice about it.

Re:Normally I'm on the side of civil liberties... (2, Informative)

sanyasi (900484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807780)

NO!
"I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it" - Voltaire.

Myspace might be horrible in your opinion but this is when if you truly believe in freedom of speech you would still support them.

MOD PARENT UP! (0, Offtopic)

4e617474 (945414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807926)

If there were a "+1 Obvious, but needed saying that badly" this would be the time

why not ban parenthood? (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807266)

Funny this from GA. Southern states have a rep for "close" familial relations. I doubt that most child-sex-crimes are perpetrated by outsiders anyway no matter what state we're talking about. Sure, the "be afraid of the internet" cases are the ones that get the headlines, but for the most part, it's mom or dad who are directly at fault. So why not just ban parenthood? Parenthood seems much more risky to children than the net.

Re:why not ban parenthood? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807332)

Well, one can only assume that banning people in Georgia from reproducing could do nothing but help the situation. Because everyone knows that everyone from Georgia is a dim-witted, incestuous, bigot. I mean it has to be true; there are like millions of sitcoms about little else.

Re:why not ban parenthood? (4, Informative)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807362)

Indeed, a quick google search turned up this: http://www.districtadministration.com/pulse/commen tpost.aspx?news=no&postid=18080 [districtad...ration.com]

Choice quote:

[chart showing 40% decline in sex abuse between 1990 and 2000]
All forms of child abuse, not just sexual abuse, are undergoing a dramatic decline. Of course, you'd never know this from the hype the media is giving the cases of online related sexual abuse that they can trace back to MySpace or Facebook.

[chart breaking down sex abuse by relationship]
The amazing and sad statistic that is so often overlooked and rarely discussed is that 95% of Child Abuse and Sexual Abuse is perpetrated by family members. 79% of perpetrators are parents. Other relatives accounted for 7% and unmarried partners of parents and "other" accounted for 4% and 5% of abuse.

Re:why not ban parenthood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807644)

"Funny this from GA."

Georgia is also the state that did or tried to ban sex offenders (if I recall, there was no distinction between pedophiles versus rapists) from school bus routes. iow, if the bus route went by or was changed to go by a sex offenders house, they couldn't live there.

Georgia is also the state that has a male black athlete in prison for getting a blow job by a 15 year old girl who initiated it. He was 17. The mandatory sentence? 10 years *minimum*. The law, in turn, was changed after his sentence, but not made retroactive despite supposedly doing so because of said athlete's case. The prosecutor, in turn, has not asked for the sentence to be set aside, mainly, it seems because said prisoner didn't take his "medicine" aka plea bargain. Stupid law, racial prejudices, and what should be prosecutorial misconduct all rolled up in one. (The same state gave 90 days in a plea bargain to a female white teacher having sex with a student.)

I was in Atlanta for a few days. I'm from Pennsyvlania, but I could see there was racial tension down there that I haven't seen in Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, Boston, or NY. It was palpable to an outsider. One thing that was impressive though how polite, civil, and nice the people generally were, at least outwardly.

I thought PA had some screwed up prosecutors and laws, and we've had our share of ridiculous abuses (Bernie S., overreaching police powers, police abuses) but other states make our lawmakers look sensible on some days.

Kneejerk reaction (4, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807284)

I was about to respond with the typical "parents' responsibility" blather, but then I thought about it some more and realized it's more insidious than that.

It really is about parental control, and parents should be up in arms about this. As it stands (in America, at least), once your kids are waiting on the corner for the public school bus in the morning, your kids belong to the State. A child student has to have parent's permission for an asprin, but not for an abortion.

Parental rights are increasingly in jeopardy in America.

This is one step down a slippery slope, and a good time to make a stand. The bottom line is that your kids are yours to raise -- no matter how much some may disagree with your parenting tactics -- and we are standing to lose that right. This is only the first step.

Re:Kneejerk reaction (3, Funny)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807412)

I don't remember the schools doing abortions. Have things changed?

You need to lose that right. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807468)

Parents should not have the right to raise their children 'no matter how much some may disagree with your parenting tactics.'

How about parents who want to teach their childred from birth that religion X is th eonly true way and that everyone else is a sinner and needs to be converted? What about parents who teach their children to be sexist? racist?

Until we can control who breeds and who doesn't breed, laws regulating parenting tactics will continue to grow more numerous in response to irresponsible parents. Or, we recgonize that our conceit that 'all life is precious, especially innoncent children' is a pipe-dream with no connection to reality.

Right to teach (4, Insightful)

The Monster (227884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807604)

How about parents who want to teach their childred from birth that religion X is th eonly true way and that everyone else is a sinner and needs to be converted? What about parents who teach their children to be sexist? racist?
When they pick up weapons and try to translate that philosophy into reality, we'll just have to kill them. Meanwhile, we'll muddle through under this wacky idea that parents are presumed to have the best interests of their children at heart, and understand that hate mongers from Westboro to Wahhabi are the price of religious freedom.

Re:You need to lose that right. (2, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807632)

Parents should not have the right to raise their children 'no matter how much some may disagree with your parenting tactics.'
Why not?

How about parents who want to teach their childred from birth that religion X is th eonly true way and that everyone else is a sinner and needs to be converted? What about parents who teach their children to be sexist? racist?
What about them?

I find no compelling argument here; rather, there is no argument of any kind.

Re:You need to lose that right. (1)

darkenbinary (825639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807672)

You need to read Huxley's Brave New World and then we'll see if you have the same opinion. It sounds like this is the type of world you are shooting for. Society will always have its racist, religious fanatics, and rejects, but they are the minority. (Someone please tell the popular press that) If we keep making laws like this the government should just take all children at birth and raise them to be mindless obedient drones. Obviously they don't think parents who were shaped by their society in the first can raise their own children anymore.

Re:Kneejerk reaction (1)

Belgand (14099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807470)

Yep, you made 'em, you own 'em. Screw that crazy notion that children might actually be their own people. Screw it in the ear I say!

Re:Kneejerk reaction (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807544)

i agree it is asinine that youths require parental consent to get asprin

Asprin? (1)

Irvu (248207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807622)

Where and when was a law passed mandating that parental consent was required for Asprin? This isn't the same mythical set of laws that also bans prayer in schools and mandates that all teenagers play violent video games is it? Is it Federal? State? Local to idiotville?

Re:Asprin? (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807736)

I'm about to run out the door from work, but the best I could find on Google in the 5 seconds I had was this, from Bedford County Public Schools' P&P Manual [k12.va.us] :

Students with a diagnosis of asthma are permitted to possess and self-administer inhaled asthma medications in accordance with this policy during the school day, at school-sponsored activities, or while on a school bus or other school property. In order for a student to possess and self-administer asthma medication, the following conditions must be met:

*written parental consent that the student may self-administer inhaled asthma medications must be on file with the school; [snip]
Not Asprin, but you might think that possession of an inhaler is de facto evidence of need... it isn't as if you can get high off one.

Re:Kneejerk reaction (1)

somepunk (720296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807588)

The bottom line is that your kids are yours to raise

This isn't (just) a battle for control for children betweeb parents and the state, its a question of when do the children get which rights of their own. The parents' rights are already limited in very narrow cases, such as abuse, etc.

It's in writing folks! (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807286)

Staton said the bill does not tell the companies exactly how to ensure that minors don't log on without parental permission. The companies can figure that out on their own, he said.
1) John Law says 'companies, make this happen'
2) Companies say, 'wait...what?'
3) ???
4) Safety for children everywhere!

Re:It's in writing folks! (2, Funny)

azakem (924479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807550)

Pretty much reminds me of this [penny-arcade.com] .

Enforcement?? (1)

sidz1979 (993099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807302)

And how do they plan to enforce this?
What if the site was hosted in some other country/state? Do they have the jurisdiction to go after such sites?

It seems like the legislators assume that the entire Internet is based only in the United States, and they have the power govern it like a public asset. :-|

Re:Enforcement?? (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807572)

I'd imagine they'll go after the Georgia ISPs for helping to break the law... It can't exactly be prosecuted on a federal level (I hope I'm using the right terminology here, I'm not from the US) because there is no law that has been broken.

I do partially disagree with you mind. The laws are already pretty absurd when it comes to censorship, this is just expanding into the infinite democracy of the internet.

But yeah, this shouldn't be done. Teenagers have rights too. Who says that the moment you turn 18 you don't have to do this? Education, not terrible laws should be the force driving people to understand the implications of posting stuff on myspace.

And anyway, myspace will never give in. Murdoch is a greedy bastard, a blip on his empire will mean nothing.

Oh boy! (3, Funny)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807308)

Time to receive another insincere reply from my state representative!

Send your letter to his mother (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807576)

She vets all his mail!

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807310)

How do you validate a parent? What if the kid just says "no, that person isn't my parent?" Why can't I call some random hotmail address set up for spam my legal guardian?

And what makes these silly people in Georgia think any kid would click "I'm below 18" if it then didn't allow them to register without parental permission?

Oh please, any kid that wanted to not have parental permission could easily just lie. And any that do want their parents viewing their myspace or facebook can easily set their information to public anyway. I doubt if more then a fraction more kids would have their parents watching their "social networking" sites.

I'll advertise myself as a permission proxy (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807316)

What with being a child molester. I'm sure all my new 'friends' will go for it.

As usual...idiots (3, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807318)

illegal for the owner or operator of a social networking Web site to allow minors to create or maintain a Web page without parental permission

And how, precisely, do you intend to enforce that? One of the reasons the CDA [wikipedia.org] , in 1996 and 1997, and the COPA [wikipedia.org] in 1998 and 1999, were shot down was because this concept is unworkable. Then and now. You simply cannot verify who is sitting at the keyboard.

And then of course we get into the weird definitions. What is a 'social networking site'? Just Facebook and MySpace? Or /., Digg, and Fark as well? And of course, this does nothing for a site based offshore somewhere.

Re:As usual...idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807486)

It's easily enforceable with an "I'm 18" button.

Re:As usual...idiots (3, Interesting)

mongoose(!no) (719125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807708)

The definition problem could be very problematic.

If they say any sites with interactive, user created content, that leads to a lot of problems.

If they're very specific. Sites might find ways around it.

In the first case, what happens to all the small sites like PhpBB forums and the like when they have to deal with implementing this?

Ugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807322)

Stupid lawmakers. This is ridiculus. If the parents can't keep track of their kids, and their kids are stupid enough to meet someone through MySpace or Facebook, then screw them. The govt should NOT have to get involved for any reason. If the parents and/or the kids are stupid then fine, let's thin the herd. I'm tired of stupid people.

QFT - idiot. (4, Informative)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807346)

From TFA:
"Staton said the bill does not tell the companies exactly how to ensure that minors don't log on without parental permission. The companies can figure that out on their own, he said."

There is no real way to do that. Who is liable if the minor works around the security and makes a page? What if said minor created a page and NOTHING happened aside from a parent finding out the page exists? What is an acceptable form of verifying parental consent?

This proposal is a prime example of people who don't know jack about how the technology works trying to legislate it.

Correction... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807438)

"This proposal is a prime example of people who don't know jack about how the technology" + raising kids to be well functioning adults + "works trying to legislate it."

Re:QFT - idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807748)

The parents who failed to control their kids should be liable. Parents are liable for their children. I know, you can't control your children. Right. That's your parenting failure. Yes, I have two daughters. Yes, I look at what they post online. Yes, I trust them to do intelligent things, but I'm still responsible to keep them safe. I'm straight forward about it; I look at what they post online with them, and they know I can check what they're posting when I'm not in the room with them. They also know that if they try hard enough, they can get around it, but they trust me to not interfere with "their lives" as long as they play by the rules. However, they're young, and I'm giving them a safe environment to learn.

As for technological answers, well, require a credit card to sign up. I know, that's brutal. However, it works just fine for the post office to verify forwarding addresses, so it will work for parents to know that their kids signed up for myspace or whatever. If credit cards aren't ubiquitous, then let them authenticate with a drivers license and mail a letter to the address on the drivers license. I know, children of illegals still won't be able to get accounts, but you've got a 99% solution there.

"difficult to enforce" (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807348)

The lieutenant governor's comment about the senator's proposal being difficult to enforce is a decided understatement. The state of Georgia is purporting to fine a website (if the bill becomes law and there is lack of compliance) who has its servers somewhere besides Georgia (and is also operating out of Cali). Even if they were in Georgia it would be a difficult law to enforce because of the interstate nature of websites. If Georgia wants such a restriction to be effective, it needs to get its national representatives to propose legislation.

How about... (4, Insightful)

frakir (760204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807352)

... requiring parents permission anytime kid wants to get on the bus? How about letting kids in the mall only with written permission?

you know, shit can happen on the bus....
in fact, shit can happen anywhere.
How about a site hosted in Romania or Israel?

State laws can not and will not replace neglecting parents.

Re:How about... (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807596)

How about letting kids in the mall only with written permission?

Been to a mall lately? I could go for that; plus require two forms of ID.

unenforcable (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807360)

i don't know how they intend to enforce this dribble, it probably won't even make it to that stage.

congress gone wild! (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807376)

this is just bad legislation.

the parents of that bullied kid should have sued the parents of that other kid for defamation of character.

otherwise, the bullied kid should grow a set and post back.

online bullying is called a flame war and it's been going on since the Internet began.

we all deal with it.

If we accept restrictions on children in general.. (1, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807378)

Why are we opposed to these ones? Why is the Senator (and the entire State of Georgia) being called names?

Kids (depending on age) can not drive, buy tobacco and alcohol, open bank accounts, stay out late, or marry without legal guardians' consent. Heck — a few months before birth they can even be killed by their mothers (with doctors assistance).

So, what's the fuss about restricting their on-line socializing? It is not like their real-life socializing is not already restricted (and always has been)...

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807548)

a few months before birth they can even be killed by their mothers (with doctors assistance).

And a few months before that, their daddy can squirt them into a tissue and flush them down the toilet - while they're still alive, no less.

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807594)

Because those activities have to be done in person, and it makes it easy to verify they are or are not of age (fake IDs of course causing some problems). This means they are actually enforcible. On the net, there is no real way to duplicate that age verification.

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807688)

This means they are actually enforcible. On the net, there is no real way to duplicate that age verification.

That's a potential problem with implementation. But something tells me, even if a way to verify the age was found, you (and most of the rest of /.-tters) would not approve of the measure...

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

tyrr (306852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807684)

The fuss is about hypocrisy.
The State Senate of Georgia is once again making a fool of itself by showing everyone that they have nothing better to do. Oh well... It's Georgia. KKK must be still alive and kicking there.

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807712)

WTF is the connection between KKK and helping parents control their children's activities?

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

tyrr (306852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807886)

Do you seriously think that this law will help parents control their children?
I think the only issue here is a greedy state senator who wants immortalize her name in a meaningless law.

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807932)

Do you seriously think that this law will help parents control their children?

No, first you have to answer, why you brought up the "KKK" and "hypocrisy"...

I think the only issue here is a greedy state senator [...]

And "greed".

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

sidz1979 (993099) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807686)

Kids (depending on age) can not drive, buy tobacco and alcohol, open bank accounts, stay out late, or marry without legal guardians' consent. Heck -- a few months before birth they can even be killed by their mothers (with doctors assistance). So, what's the fuss about restricting their on-line socializing?

I guess the difference here is that the all of the entities involved in these actions (the parents, the alcohol/tobacco store owner, bank manager) are in the same state/city/town as the minor. But in case of a website, there is no way to enforce such a law if the website is based off-shore. The law just seems more over-reaching and unenforceable.

It's HIGHLY impractical! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807764)

For one, just HOW do you get their parent to make an account? And exactly what, if anything, can you do about all the minors pretending to be adults?

That's right, nothing. That, or you kill off all free services just because the parents can't keep track of their kids and are pushing the responsibility over to third parties.

Besides, why can't the PARENT force the kids to give up their account password if it's such a concern? Don't they have any authority over the children? I can't see this, as is, leading to anything but them shutting down or giving passwords to pretty much anyone who claims to be the parent of someone else. And I should *hope* you know why that's stupid.

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807802)

Why did you feel it was necessary to add "(with doctors assistance)"? Women since the beginning of time have found ways to deal with inconvenient pregnancies. Yes, horseback riding is out of favor right now as are coathangers, but they have been used in the past.

While it might be considered somewhat safer for the woman concerned to have a pregnancy terminated with medical assistance, be assured that "safer" hasn't always been a primary concern. Getting rid of the damned thing has often been the only concern.

The one thing that should not get too far away from the whole abortion/baby killing/euthansia debate is where there is a will, there is a way. It will be done by desparate people in what they consider to be desperate circumstances. Medical supervision is absolutely not required.

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807968)

Why did you feel it was necessary to add "(with doctors assistance)"?

To make it easier to understand, what I'm talking about. You may be right in that I may have made it too distracting from the point I was actually making.

I did and still do try to avoid expressing my own point of view on the subject here so as to avoid topic-changing. For this reason, I shall not respond on the matter in this thread again.

Re:If we accept restrictions on children in genera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807820)

This is a rambling post, because I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Personally, I think us geeks in general get annoyed at internet/computer censorship because it's our domain. The consumers of mass media - consisting here of broadcast media - don't share our values. For them, a computer is a toy or possibly a tool. They can play flash games on them. Or play whack-a-popup. Or look up television listings, then go watch television. And those people want censorship. Fine. More power to them. That's why there are no nipples on broadcast TV: people, by and large, don't want them.

But here's the thing. The internet is not theirs. It's our domain, it's what separates us from them. We see computers as tools first, communications devices second, and then toys somewhere around 14th. They care as much about the speed of a clock cycle as I do about nipples on their TVs. But see, I don't try and tell them what they can watch on their TVs - it's their TV, right? Their time to lose.

But it's my computer. It's my ethernet cable and it's our - meaning, geeks', internet. The mass media was built by mass culture, but the internet was built by geek culture. And now that mass culture has decided they like MySpace and Ponies and pretty cursors, they're telling us they don't want nipples on their screens - which is a proxy for their true meaning, which is that they don't want it on our internet.

That's one way I see it. Another is that geeks typically start as geeks pretty young. We probably all saw goatse at an age that was far below what would have been "appropriate." The only real way to keep the early-to-mid teenage budding geeks from seeing the goatses of the world would be to lock down the internet - to now allow for the exploration and discovery that, frankly, is the thing that made computers interesting in the first place. A computer is something where you can go as far as the network will let you, and that's pretty far. Contrast that with broadcast media: you see only what someone else has already decided is interesting for you, and appropriate for you. Goatse would never get onto network television. Neither would the sitcom equivalent of nmap, linux, or SSH. The only thing on television is the one-way equivalent of trivial flash games.

See, we don't really care about the kid who gets on the computer to punch the monkey instead of watching nickelodeon or (*shudder*) the O.C. We oppose the locking down and de-imaginification of the internet for our younger analogs - for the script kiddies we pretend we weren't a few years ago. If they are really going to be kept from the goatses and tubgirls of the world, they're gonna have to be kept away from IRC, the glorious text file archives, and all the other "interesting" stuff on on the internet. It's not the children we're worried about - it's the future geeks of 2020.

How the Hell (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807434)

How the hell do these pend end up determining what counts as justice in our society?

Do they have any clue how such a system might be implemented? Is it even remotely feasible to determine who is a child, and whom their parents are while maintaining any semblance of privacy?

Is a private company just supposed to know exactly whom every minor and their parents are worldwide? Can we invent a special kind of web browser that forces kids to truthfully enter in their correct age?

And in truth, wouldn't that help child predators more than hurt them?

My head hurts.

Because, y'know... (3, Funny)

Veinor (871770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807436)

Porn sites technically must require proof of age, and none of THEM ever get any visits from children.

Irrelevant (1)

AgentFade2Black (968245) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807446)

The site is hosted outside of Georgia (all the way in California, as it were, if I am correct.)
Therefore (IANAL), they should not be subject to this law.

Absolutely pointless law, really.

yet another Georgia Republican.... (0, Flamebait)

ce33na66 (988044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807478)

tries to make another stupid law.

Since the religious radical republicans have taken over the state, I've had serious thoughts of moving back to TN. At least TN hasn't gone completely down the political toilet like GA.

who else wondered which Georgia? (1)

philbert2.71828 (781399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807504)

Did anyone else wonder after reading the headline whether this news had to do with Georgia the country or Georgia the US state? Maybe I'm just not US-centric enough.

Re:who else wondered which Georgia? (1)

aGuyNamedJoe (317081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807638)

I wondered which Georgia -- part of why I read on.

Dear FaceBook,
      Please allow Johnny to open an account.

Responsibly yours,
      his mother

Re:who else wondered which Georgia? (1)

radioactivecow (865477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807782)

yes

Re:who else wondered which Georgia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807798)

Lets pick the one that is more important by GDP. Georgia (state) - 363 billion. Georgia (country) - 6.395 billion.

That didn't work out... what about population? Georgia (state) - 9,363,941. Georgia (country) - 4,474,000.

Oh well, looks like state wins by quantifiable objective measure. In the future assume state unless stated otherwise, or if these measures become close (10% seems fair).

ok. whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807546)

first off i realize this is mainly targeting myspace and it's users which is roughly 150 million accounts with hundreds off thousands getting deleted everyday. with all the incidents that have occurred because of myspace it's still about 1000th a percent of its users have some wrongful crime committed against them. I think this is incredibly stupid, but hey if they pass it, i'll just forge my mothers credentials like i do for school anyway, plus i really dont think they will say anything about my account due to the fact it states i'm well over the legal age of 18, it says i'm 103.

But what this all really comes down too is the ignorant parents that dont stop there kids from being on there if they arent mature enough to handle it.

Crap (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807552)

It's all crap. It's not even Think of the Children (TM), it's just some senator looking to get some media attention that will be in the back of everyones mind at election time.

I won't even go into all the other things that generate more risk than your kid having a myspace page. It just hurts my head.

Isn't there at least one senator, somewhere, who will introduce some sort of "Responsibility in Parenting" act, which will say things like "It's your responsibility to teach your children not to put their full name, DOB, picture, address, physicals, schedule and phone number up on the internet for everyone to read. If someone uses it to get to your child, you are partially responsible for raising a STUPID CHILD."

I vote that the acronym for this particular act be: DARWIN

On another, slightly more serious note... how is it that MySpace is responsible for people putting their vital information up on teh intarwebs, but McDonalds isn't responsible for people getting unhealthy, sick, and dying-earlier-than-they-should from their food? (The "Cheeseburger Bill")

Re:Crap (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17808026)

On another, slightly more serious note... how is it that MySpace is responsible for people putting their vital information up on teh intarwebs, but McDonalds isn't responsible for people getting unhealthy, sick, and dying-earlier-than-they-should from their food? (The "Cheeseburger Bill")

Myspace doesn't have as many lobbyists as McDonals.

Also, McDonalds lobbyists are really REALLY huge, and when I say huge I mean big-mac huge, and squish all the smaller lobbyists. The only ones who escape are small enough to fit between the folds of blubber on the McDonald lobbyists. That or they work the the oil companies and are really hard to get a good grip on, the slimy bastards.

Thus Democrazy was born.

Clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807558)

Why is it that not a single governmental figure seems to possess even a basic understanding of how the internet works? How could the people who write and pass our laws be so completely oblivious to such a fundamental part of today's society?

The internet may not be anonymous, but it's pretty damn close, and you just can't stop people from signing up to websites regardless of their age. MySpace is *not* going to introduce a credit card check to ensure new registrations are limited to adults. The moment they do that, then they've lost a vast majority of their users. I'm not saying most MySpace users are under 18, but most people in general simply don't want to put their CC information into those kinds of sites.

You can't stop kids from creating accounts that their parents don't know about. You can't force people to use their real name when opening an account (as mentioned in a previous article some weeks back), and you definitely can't keep people 100% safe from online predators, no matter how effective your system's age policies are enforced. I know it's said about two-thousand times per second here on Slashdot, but it really is a job for the parents.

All of these laws are just horribly inadequate attempts to convince us that safety can be assured by strict enough regulations. And it most certainly can *not*.

It can be done (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807592)

"[Senate Bill 59] would make it illegal for the owner or operator of a social networking Web site to allow minors to create or maintain a Web page without parental permission [and require] parents or guardians to have access to their children's Web pages at all times. "

This can be done by forcing everyone to register with their SSN and require their parents SSN to register. As well as send out a letter and email to the parent for verification and the parent must call the company via phone.

There are lots of downsides to this method, yet I'm sure they'll find something that works.

As long as we do not run into these situations [eastvalleytribune.com]

Re:It can be done (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807726)

Why would you (stupidly, IMHO) use SSN for this purpose? Sounds like another misuse of a government index value that should have no other uses as was mandated by law when it was created.

Your Rights Online eh? (1)

twbecker (315312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807660)

I don't think many minors are reading /. I'm not saying I would necessarily support the legislation, but parents absolutely need access to online content posted by their children. I question how the requirement to have parental permission would be enforced, but again in theory it's not such a bad idea IMO. We're not talking about adults here, and the reality is that until you're 18, your parents determine what rights they think you should have and which you shouldn't.

Re:Your Rights Online eh? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17807842)

I don't think many minors are reading /.

More than zero.

I'm not saying I would necessarily support the legislation, but parents absolutely need access to online content posted by their children.

Right. And as a parent, that is up to ME to determine how that is done.

I question how the requirement to have parental permission would be enforced, but again in theory it's not such a bad idea IMO.

Ok...you as an adult...how do YOU prove you're not a child trying to log on or create a website?

We're not talking about adults here, and the reality is that until you're 18, your parents determine what rights they think you should have and which you shouldn't.

Exactly. Parents determine...

Re:Your Rights Online eh? (1)

twbecker (315312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17808010)

I never said zero minor read the site. Also, you're making this out to be an issue of the gov't trying to get between you and your child. This simply states that you will have the opportunity to review your child's online content. It doesn't confer onto you an obligation to do it, again that's between the parent and the child.

Re:Your Rights Online eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17807844)

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I think children should be afforded as many rights and privileges as we can possibly confer upon them without compromising their safety. (Children are people too.)

Children have a right to privacy, including writing their deepest, darkest secrets into a journal (or online equivalent) without fear of others prying into their affairs.

These rights should only be waived when a clear and present danger to their safety has been identified.

Just my opinion, of course.
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