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Connecticut Wants to Restrict Social Networking

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the eyes-on-wallet-and-liberty dept.

United States 242

csefft writes "According to the Hartford Courant, Connecticut became the latest state to want to restrict the use of MySpace and other social networking sites. The proposed bill would require that all such sites verify the identity and age of users, as well as get parent's permission for those under 18. Sites that failed to comply would be subject to a $5,000 per day fine. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said of the proposition, 'If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet,' but quickly followed with the acknowledgment that there is no foolproof method."

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242 comments

Anyone miss the 20's? (5, Funny)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296504)

Sure, no better way to stop people from wanting something is prohibiting it.

Wait a sec...

Re:Anyone miss the 20's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297066)

This argument falls apart when one applies it to murder. .....or DOES it?

ddfdsf we (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296516)

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just one problem... (2, Funny)

rlthomps-1 (545290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296518)

If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet

Too bad the moon landing never happened!

What are you talking about? (0)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296658)

Connecticut has one of the busiest spaceports in the world! It's like the hub of the solar system. Their space prowess is matched only by their power over the internet.

Dilbert Equivalent (2, Informative)

Erioll (229536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296964)

If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet
When I saw that quote, I immediately thought of a Dilbert strip. Luckily, somebody already put the transcript online [blogspot.com] :

Pointy-haired boss: "If we can put a man on the moon, we can build a computer made entirely of recycled paper."

Dilbert: "Your flawed analogy only shows that other people can do things."

Boss: "Maybe you should call other people and ask how they do it."

Dilbert: "Maybe they use good analogies."

false (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296522)

great, now people will be faking THAT too.

Someone has to say it. (4, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296526)

'If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet,'

And just like putting a man on the moon can be faked, so can you fake your age on the Internet.

PS: I am not implying the moon landing was faked.

Re:Someone has to say it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296552)

I faked the moon landing, when I was 14.....

It's easy! (5, Funny)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296634)

We just have age verified via a webcam, typically by viewing the secondary sex characteristics that come with puberty. Other visitors to the site can rate the newbie as "MILF", "jailbait", or "hot coed". Obviously the jailbait applicants can't actually "register", but will instead have their images archived off as counterexamples to future applicants.

Re:It's easy! (4, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296768)

clearly you have neglected the inevitable 'eye bleach required' entries.

Hey, Windows/Linux refugees! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296732)

The only thing more pathetic than a PC user is a PC user trying to be a Mac user. We have a name for you people: switcheurs.

There's a good reason for your vexation at the Mac's user interface: You don't speak its language. Remember that the Mac was designed by artists [atspace.com] , for artists [atspace.com] , be they poets [atspace.com] , musicians [atspace.com] , or avant-garde mathematicians [atspace.com] . A shiny new Mac can introduce your frathouse hovel to a modicum of good taste, but it can't make Mac users out of dweebs [atspace.com] and squares [atspace.com] like you.

So don't force what doesn't come naturally. You'll be much happier if you stick to an OS that suits your personality. And you'll be doing the rest of us a favor, too; you leave Macs to Mac users, and we'll leave beige to you.

Re:Hey, Windows/Linux refugees! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296920)

Wow, I wish I could be an artist [atspace.com] too! I guess I just don't speak the Mac's language properly.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296528)

Tell all those Azerbaijan Social Network hosters they have to pay them fines. Right.

13/f/california (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296530)

13/f/california

anyone want to first post w/ me?

Re:13/f/california (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296786)

Righteous! I'm 15/f/CA myself, we can do a forbidden teenaged lesbian thing! I figure as the older of the two of us I'll be the mentor-type, teaching naive you all about... well, you'll see!

Costs (4, Insightful)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296546)

'If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet,' but quickly followed with the acknowledgment that there is no foolproof method.


So the question is, is the government willing to pay the amount of money it would require to make that kind of age verification system, much like they were willing to pay the money required to put a man on the moon? Oh wait, no, the companies have to pay for it.

Re:Costs (4, Insightful)

smartr (1035324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296660)

I'm sure a large marketing media company run Rupert Murdock could never find any use for being "forced" by the government to collect "verification" information on all of its users. They certainly could be no benefit for that kind of company to create that kind of customer database.

Re:Costs (3, Insightful)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296998)

How are you going to age verify for any reasonable amount of money with multiple users on a home computer? In an average home environment, how is a computer supposed to tell if dad, mom, or kids are using at any given time? Even if a corporation WANTED to, it's a fool's errand.

Re:Costs (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297160)

Why would a company need to be reasonable with its verification process? If it's not expressly put forth in the law, I'd imagine it would be hard to argue a company was not complying if it agressively sought out to put all the users in a big database for "verification" purposes. Sounds like great spam bait for the whole state. Really it only screws the small and middle sized legitimate sites.

So the question becomes (1)

York the Mysterious (556824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296550)

Pay the 1.825 million a year fine or just drop Connecticut?

Dis-Connecticut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296984)

Pay the 1.825 million a year fine or just drop Connecticut?
Talk about missing an open goal! You had "dis-Connecticut" right there!

*waits patiently for someone to come up with a halfway-decent "connect iCut" pun*

"If we can" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296564)

Given the last few year's accomplishments by the Grand 'ole U.S. of A, I'm no longer consider the "If we can" predicate as one that portenda positive attributes or abilities. "We" have done a whole lot of things... which is why now I think it prudent to assert such a view as AC.

What defines a "social networking" site (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296568)

I suspect any site that allows message posting could be considered a social networking site under a poorly-crafted law and this will surely be poorly-crafted.

oh geez..... (5, Insightful)

tx_kanuck (667833) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296574)

We can put a man on the moon, so we can verify ages on the Internet? Yes, that makes a great logical leap there. We can build a car, that doesn't mean we can create skynet.

Why don't we also require some sort of age verification before anyone can call 1-900 numbers? There is no verification for that, and yet it's accessible to minors. OMG!!! Won't someone think of the children??

Oh wait, it's to stop older men from hurting younger women. I guess that means that someone is, just not the parents. Seriously, where does parental responsibility start these days?

Re:oh geez..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296648)

OK, I double-dog swear that I'm really barely 18. And hot. And waiting for YOU!

Re:oh geez..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296932)

Whats your id?

Re:oh geez..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297068)

What's your species?

Re:oh geez..... (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297098)

I've been trying to think of values of X for which the statement

We can put a man on the moon, so we can X on the Internet

is true or even makes any sense, besides trivial values like "put pictures of men on the moon".

How does this work? (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296576)

Does MySpace have to geolocate IP addresses & kick people from Connecticut through a verification process?

Maybe MySpace will change their signup process so that when you select "Connecticut" as your home state, you go through some verification process.

What if you pretend to be from another state, create your account, then change it to Connecticut? Does MySpace have to go back and verify your age?

Ontop of all that, how the F**K are they supposed to get your parents permission?
How do they verify that the "parent" actually is your legal guardian?

Trying to find technical solutions to a social problem is an uphill battle.

Blumenthal said parental permission might involve downloading a form, filling it out and mailing it to the site. Or perhaps requiring a parent to call and speak to a representative of the site.
Note how he uses words like "might" and "perhaps". The politicians have no clue how it could possibly be implemented.

Re:How does this work? (4, Insightful)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296702)

Note how he uses words like "might" and "perhaps". The politicians have no clue how it could possibly be implemented.

Note that verifying ages is not going to stop 14 year old girls from talking to 18 year old guys, either. What are they supposed to do, prevent children from viewing the myspace profiles of adults and vice versa? Maybe the government should just build a Children's Earth and send all the children there, and ship them back when they turn 18. Maybe they should also build a Stupid Idiot planet and go there themselves.

Re:How does this work? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296726)

I fail to see why MySpace would even be under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut legislature - their servers are located in LA. Interstate commerce and all that.

Re:How does this work? (2, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296956)

Ontop of all that, how the F**K are they supposed to get your parents permission?

Kid: Hey, wanna earn $5?
Bum: Sure. You want beer or cigarettes?
Kid: Uh, neither. Can you just verify its OK with you that I use MySpace?
Bum: MySpace!? I may be a bum but I got morals! Next you'll tell me you read slashdot.

But but but... (2, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296582)

Without teens on myspace where will I get my anti-emo rage from?

We should encourage them to whine and mop about how life is sooooo tough in middle-class suburbia.

Tom

Re:But but but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296766)

Tom!?! Is that you?!?

You've been my friend for so long. I just wanted to say thanks.

Re:But but but... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296830)

Liar, I have no friends.

don't tell me he's one of those (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296588)

'If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet,' but quickly followed with the acknowledgment that there is no foolproof method."

Foolproof method of what? putting a man on the moon?

Re:don't tell me he's one of those (1)

Kuroji (990107) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296610)

See also: Apollo 1 and 11.

Man on the Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296594)

"We never should have landed a man on the moon. It's a mistake. Now everything is compared to that one accomplishment. I can't believe they could land a man on the moon . . . and taste my coffee! I think we all would have been a lot happier if they hadn't landed a man on the moon. Then we'd go, They can't make a prescription bottle top that's easy to open? I'm not surprised they couldn't land a man on the moon. Things make perfect sense to me now. Neil Armstrong should have said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for every, complaining, sob on the face of the earth. "--Jerry Seinfeld

There is no need for a foolproof method (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296596)

You simply cannot stop people who are intent on circumnavigating the law in order to achieve their goals. But this does not mean that good policy won't make it easy to do the `right' thing and hard to do the `wrong' thing. The focus of such a policy will be to stop most people, not to stop all people. And since people are lazy, almost any non-trivial method of age verification such as requiring a fax or scan of a driver's license will prevent most underaged people from having accounts.

Not that I think this legislation is necessarily good. I'm only pointing out that not being 100% effective shouldn't be considered a barrier to adoption. Condoms have less than a 100% success rate. But that shouldn't stop most people from using condoms if using a condom is in line with their goals.

Re:There is no need for a foolproof method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296846)

So there should be a whole new extention to government beauracracy and attendant organs and all the upheaval that causes to something which works pretty well for sane people to futher garauntee the well being of 6 or so children a year would have run away, done something else equally stupid, or avoided the troubles had they raised by wolves?

Let's say those kids well being has a value of $1,000,000, no doubt an actuary will be along to correct me, I doubt it's worth that much. How much does all this bullshit cost? The salary of the idiot with the big idea included.

How about just throwing bad parents off a cliff, seizing their assests, and letting a loving wolf family adopt any now orphaned offspring. Lower cost, better results.

Re:There is no need for a foolproof method (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296852)

You simply cannot stop people who are intent on circumnavigating the law in order to achieve their goals. But this does not mean that good policy won't make it easy to do the `right' thing and hard to do the `wrong' thing. The focus of such a policy will be to stop most people, not to stop all people. And since people are lazy, almost any non-trivial method of age verification such as requiring a fax or scan of a driver's license will prevent most underaged people from having accounts.

Not that I think this legislation is necessarily good. I'm only pointing out that not being 100% effective shouldn't be considered a barrier to adoption. Condoms have less than a 100% success rate. But that shouldn't stop most people from using condoms if using a condom is in line with their goals.


The trouble is that CT is requiring 100% accuracy. Otherwise the site op is in for $5,000/day. If I were myspace and this passes, I'd simply blacklist all IP addresses from CT. Of course, you'd have to block proxies, too.

Re:There is no need for a foolproof method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297100)

Condoms have less than a 100% success rate. But that shouldn't stop most people from using condoms

It's not the less than a 100% success rate that stop me from using a condom... it's the fact that I'm a slashdot user.

If it moves regulate it. (5, Interesting)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296600)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. -- Ronald Regan, February 4, 1986

so true..

Rep [r]: Whats this MySpace thing Bob?
Rep [d]: I dont know but its unregulated so it must be illegal. ... Free nation ehh.. where?

And one thing has to do with the other... how? (5, Funny)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296604)

If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet.
Congratulations, mr. Blumenthal. You are now a honorary member of the American Non Sequitur Society. Your membership card is on its way. Which, of course, brings the question: what's your favorite pizza topping?

Re:And one thing has to do with the other... how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296682)

Pepperoni and Cheese!

Re:And one thing has to do with the other... how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296810)

It's quite clear to any well-thinking person that such a topping warrants this legislation! I MEAN IT'S RIGHT THERE, PEPPERONI AND CHEESE!

Re:And one thing has to do with the other... how? (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296924)

dick blumenthal has done some great stuff for CT... like forcing retailers to honor gift cards for their actual value and not reduce the value overtime or expire them or charge service fees for their use. however, he has recently gone completely nuts... first there was allowing the prosecution of the teacher who "showed students porn" because of spyware... and now this. i once thought he would make a great governor. now i'm glad i left CT.

well (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296618)

I suppose we could give everyone on the internet a user name and password, then the government could have a database of every user and their age. Websites could connect to the database to verify information. Of course we would have to get all the other countries to go along with it or your website would have to turn people from other countries away. Would it be worth it? I say no.

Lazy parents. (5, Insightful)

NumSlashZero (1073926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296620)

There's enough of this "think of the children" crap when the majority of it could easily be solved by parents actually monitoring their children instead of relying on technology and things such as this. It's simple. All of these MySpace lawsuits and whatnot are complete bull, because every one of them could have been avoided if the parents actually paid attention to what their children were doing.

Re:Lazy parents. (5, Insightful)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296724)

Mod parent +1 (did I say that right? sorta new to this lingo =D). But to get back on topic, that is precisely where the responsibility lies. The Amish solved the problem nicely (although a bit extreme but that's just my opinion ;)). A slashdotter's signature I saw a few days ago was a quote by Heinlein about censorship. The same applies here; to paraphrase an old (East) Indian folktale - it's rather silly to install carpets in the entire kingdom; just wear a pair of shoes :P.

Conclusion: American politicians and american parents need to learn the philosphy of wearing shoes =D.

Re:Lazy parents. (1)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297040)

Generally people will add the word, too..."Mod parent +1 informative."

Re:Lazy parents. (2, Interesting)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296778)

This isn't necesarily as easy as it sounds. Let me tell you some of my experiences.

I monitor my children's internet usage, but what about friends? My oldest daughter is 11 and she has a friend the same. Her friend's parents seem to be quite relaxed about their daughter's internet usage. This friend of my daughter met a 17 year old guy on WoW and introduced him to my daughter. IT seems that this friend of my daughter's had introduced herself and my daughter to this guy as being older than they are. She also got involved in some rather sexual conversations - claiming to this guy she had just lost her virginity. My best guess is that she was talking herself up, trying to sound more mature so she could get this guy's attention. She succeeded, and it put my daughter in a situation she really wasn't equipped to handle. I put a stop to this, but the question remains - do I cut her off now from this friend?

I don't know how old you are now, but when you were in that age range and entering teen years, what would your reaction have been if your parents tried to dictate who your friends could be? My daughter is young enough now that I can probably get away with it this time, but what about in two more years? What if she gets a friend who is a latchkey daughter of a single mom? Can I depend on being able to monitor what she is doing on the internet at her friend's house? Can I depend on that parent? I'm not slagging single mothers, but she may just not have the time or ability to monitor her child. Do I tell my daughter she can't be this girl's friend?

When I was a kid, there was a certain amount of interdependency that parents could depend on with other parents and even with complete strangers. If I was a kid acting out in a mall, most any nearby adult would have considered it proper to issue a little correction. This was the way society worked in the past. Now, this is considered politically incorrect. This is because as a society we are so afraid of coming to moral decisions - afraid to make a determination of absolute right and wrong. I can't tell a kid that what he's doing is wrong because it's not my place to make that decision. And woe betide the politician who wants to legislate anything that smacks of interference.

I am all for this proposal. Sure it may be difficult or even impossible to implement, and there may be ways around it, but those aren't reasons not to try. We need to step up to the plate and as a society come to the decision that it is our responsibility to make places as safe as possible. Because no parent can be everywhere, and I want to believe that other people will look out for my children, just as I would like to think that I would look out for theirs.

Re:Lazy parents. (4, Insightful)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296990)

Every single one of your scenarios involves adults controlling their children directly. Stop attacking the symptoms and go for the cause. Raise your child to be responsible, and trust them. If you can't do this - then that isn't my problem, nor is it myspace's. Leave our internet alone.

Whats next? Your kid has a friend with an XBOX? ZOMG! We can't let that happen - lets have laws mandating that all XBOX Live voice chat must go through age verification.

Of course, even if you put constraints on all media/communication ever (may that day never come to pass), your kid will still just be able to wander down the street to the local mall and pick up the hot older guys. The internet isn't nearly this bad, since it requires your kid to be really stupid and post personal information in order to be harmed.

When I was a kid, my parents told me not to do stupid things, and then (for the most part) left me alone. They didn't scream in my ear to stay away from drugs. Far from it. My dad said they felt great ... then he went through all the withdrawl symptoms. He told me which ones were probably best left alone, and which probably wouldn't do anything to you at all - despite what the DARE officer may say. He, of course, said he would prefer me not to do drugs, and they should never be in the house, but my life was mine to screw up as I please. To this day, I have not done any drugs. I have immense respect for the trust my parents placed in me, and that alone kept me more in line than any punishment I can remember.

Re:Lazy parents. (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297148)

Children don't magically become able to understand a danger because I sit down and explain it to them. This has nothing to do with communication, and everthing to do with a child's set of experiences. The human brain works associatively, and without enough base experiences to link to, an explanation no matter how well put together, no matter how loving, has no meaning. "Hot" is meaningless until the child has some basis to understand. This understdanding comes, but it is a process, not an event. Raising a child properly involves controlling those things that the child can't be expected to, and encouraging the child to make responsibile decisions in those areas that the child can control. I would be a poor parent indeed if I told my two-year old not to touch the hot stove, then left him alone in the kitchen with red-hot burners. Control is right and absolutely necesary in some situations. There are also infinite shades of grey as well between the two poles of control and trust, where you need to partially control, and partially encourage and trust. Wisdom is involved in knowing where along the scale your child is at.

In the experience I documented before, despite my having sat down with her and explained the benefits and dangers of internet communications and relationships, my daughter got in over her head. She confided later that she was embarassed by the things this guy was pressing her on, and didn't know how to extricate herself from the situation. Her sense of right and wrong told her that she shouldn't blow someone off, but it also told her she was in over her head. If I did anything wrong, it was in watching things unfold for too long before I stepped in to assist her. In my own defense, I didn't have a full understanding of the facts of the situation from the beginning, so I monitored with increasing frequency as the alarm bells went off one by one. I'm not sure I personally could have monitored her any better than I did - there is afterall a fine line between being a good parent and being invasive. I am sure, though, that I am not happy with the level of monitoring that went on (or didn't) at her friend's house.

I'm glad you made the choice you did about drugs, and I'm glad your parents had the foresight to sit you down and explain them. I'm also pretty sure that explanation or not, you parents would have stepped in and taken control had the situation arose when you were six where you could have made the choice to take heroin. The truth is, children are being exposed to issues at an earlier and earlier age, and a good parent cannot simply trust that their child will be old enough to be able to understand explained dangers before they are actively faced with them. The internet is one reason for this - a very young child can be exposed to things well above their experience level before they can be reasonably prepared to deal with it. If that 17 year old guy that was chatting up my daughter old saw my daughter face to face, I don't think he would have done what he did, but my daughter's friend posed her as being older than she was, and a dangerous situation was created that quickly escalated beyond what my daughter could handle. I fully support initiatives to better protect children from these situations online because I cannot as a parent be everywhere.

Re:Lazy parents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297034)

If I was a kid acting out in a mall, most any nearby adult would have considered it proper to issue a little correction.

I don't know what kind of Hicksville you live in, but that hasn't been the case around here in the past thirty-five years at least. Messing with a kid in a mall (absent a badge) would have landed you in one hell of a lawsuit, if not in jail.

Re:Lazy parents. (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297102)

Let's put this another way: My daughter has a friend of about the same age. Her mother is very lax about letting the kids smoke, drink, and go to the mall alone. I am worried about my daughter possibly smoking, or drinking, or going to the mall alone with her friend and getting hurt. Do I cut her off now from her friend?

Duh.

If you haven't raised your daughter to be trusted and/or you refuse to trust her, then you have no other choice. It may suck, but it's the bed you made by not raising her to be more responsible for her own choices.

If I was a kid acting out in a mall, most any nearby adult would have considered it proper to issue a little correction.

And guess what? This is the world YOU PARENTS who refuse to take responsibility for your own kids have created! Having bought outright the hand wringing fears peddled by the MSM, you have instilled in this country such an irrational fear of being labelled "pervert" and hauled downtown and lambasted in the local news - or worse (or not), being sued for issuing such a "corrrection" against the wishes of another one of these parents who refuse to raise their kids responsibly - that adults now FEAR APPROACHING STRANGE CHILDREN. Even when it may mean that child is about to get into a life threatening situation and die.

Something about lying in the bed one has dressed comes to mind...

Re:Lazy parents. (1)

JacksBrokenCode (921041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297116)

Do I tell my daughter she can't be this girl's friend?

If being this girl's friend puts your daughter in situations she is unable to handle yet, then YES you should absolutely discourage your daughter from hanging out with her. Yes, there is the chance she'll want to rebel and disobey you but that's part of being a parent. Step up and be a parent and don't expect politicians to make the problem go away for you.

More importantly, you need to teach your daughter how to walk away from situations. Today it's talking to an older boy on WoW, in a few years it's going to be getting in a friend's car who had a few too many drinks. Driving under the influence is already illegal but people do it anyway. It's much more valuable to teach her how to say "no thanks, I'll get a cab."

Years ago parents taught kids "never talk to strangers". Today they'd rather say "please government, make sure that the strangers my kids are talking to aren't dangerous."

Re:Lazy parents. (1)

jazzypianagirl (1012887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296982)

There's enough of this "think of the children" crap when the majority of it could easily be solved by parents actually monitoring their children instead of relying on technology and things such as this.
Easier said than done. No parent has time to watch exactly what their child is doing 24/7. There are steps they can take to monitor where their kids have gone (check internet history, etc.), but most kids know the tricks. Six months ago when I still was a minor I would delete the history, cookies, etc. so there was no trace of my illegal activity. Even if parents do watch their kids at home, they can't possibly monitor everything their kids see and hear outside their home. Just as there is no 100% perfect way to verify age on the internet, there is no 100% perfect way to monitor a child's internet habits. If someone really wants to do something they'll find a way.

Hooray for the clueless! (0, Troll)

smartr (1035324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296622)

Are the majority of people over there 40's so out of touch they don't see how backwards this is? Do they think that these kids could not reach a website hosted in a foreign country? Do they think that children using the internet unmonitered can't access porn? What next? Are they going to propose the equivelant of an FCC for the internet and a large firewall of censorship?

Re:Hooray for the clueless! (1)

Fission86 (1070784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297048)

Oy, don't give them ideas!

If we can put a man on the moon... (5, Funny)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296624)

WTF don't we just send all the politicians there?

Re:If we can put a man on the moon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296630)

best. idea. ever.

Re:If we can put a man on the moon... (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296740)

Brilliant. And then we'll see if they can legislate their way back to Earth.

One fundamental problem... (4, Insightful)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296714)

Accurate age verification essentially requires accurate identity verification. And if this is mandatory, then anonymity is completely impossible.

Anonymity has long been a valuable component of free speech, and eliminating this is disastrous.

If we can put a man on the moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296716)

...we can put a man with AIDS on the moon. And pretty soon, we'll be able to put everyone with AIDS on the moon!

Even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296788)

If we can put a man on the moon.. we can put a politician on the moon. And pretty soon.. we'll be able to put every politician on the moon!

Do states even have the authority? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296722)

It seems this would be Federal(FCC) turf like all other telecom.

Re:Do states even have the authority? (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297150)

What about social networking sites that aren't located in the US, like mixi [mixi.jp] ?

At last I understand! (2, Funny)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296754)

Finally I understand why JFK was so keen on getting us to the Moon! It wasn't for science, it wasn't to win the space race or intimidate the Soviets, it was so that, in the future, once the Internet was usable by the masses, mankind would have the knowledge to be able to find out how old people are! Just think, if we hadn't gone to the Moon, we might not be able to do that, not over the Internet at any rate...

Man on the moon? (3, Interesting)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296770)

"If we can put a man on the moon, we can verify age on the Internet" ...

But we can't proove either worked

Great idea! (1)

Quixote (154172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296796)

We know how well the physical age verification works at bars, tobacco/liquor shops, etc. </sarcasm>

One big difference... (4, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296816)

There's one big difference, Mr. Blumenthal, between putting a man on the Moon and verifying someone's age over the Internet: when you're trying to put a man on the Moon, the laws of physics aren't lying to you at every turn.

Enforcable? (3, Interesting)

excelblue (739986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296844)

Is this even enforcible if it gets passed?

What if MySpace simply decides to not do business in Connecticut (as in, have no office nor servers there). Can they enforce the $5000 fine? What if MySpace simply doesn't pay up? Connecticut isn't simply going to filter MySpace, is it?

I think it's just going to be like those Russian servers hosting warez. The stuff on there may not be allowed in many countries, but while it's in Russia, the only thing the US and European countries can seem to do is take action against the actual users.

False Comparison (2, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296882)

You know what the biggest problem is with the old "If they can put man on the moon, why can't they [X]" cliche? People who use it don't limit it to reasonable and/or humorous accomplishments, like "make a blister pack that doesn't cut you to ribbons opening it". No, instead we get an incessant parade of morons who can't tell the difference between a collaborative effort towards a single narrow goal, and a huge, distributed task with multiple causes. We get idiots wondering why we can't "fix the slums", "stop drunk driving", or (in this case) "positively verify age over the internet". I say we work together to stamp this out. The next time someone utters the "man on the moon" comparison in a non-humorous context, we all agree to rush them and punch them in the stomach until they shut up.

If they can put a man on the moon, then why can't we stop them from comparing stuff to putting a man on the moon?

Re:False Comparison (1)

qzulla (600807) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297036)

If they can put a man on the moon, then why can't we stop them from comparing stuff to putting a man on the moon?

It is simply a variation on Godwins law. [wikipedia.org]

Maybe someone should claim it.

qz

Re:False Comparison (1)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297052)

You know, if we could put a man on the moon, why can't we stop people from using the phrase, "If we could put a man on the moon..." in a non-humourous context?

ho8yo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296888)

if desired, we The mobo blew hype - BSD's Nigger Association are a pathetic would choose to use session and join in others what to The goodwill They are Come Of playing your if I remaIn Due to the troubles real problems How is the GNAA and arms and dick ops or any of the move any equipment are allowed to play Lay down paper And was taken over to decline for Could save it non-fucking-existant. new core is going mistake of electing Taken over by BSDI anything can recent article put

What will this change? (2, Interesting)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296896)

This won't stop people from doing risky and dumb things and posting it on the internet only to get caught or get hurt in the process. Maybe CT should fine parents $5,000 every time their kid does something illegal and posts it on myspace/youtube. Politicians always look for the easiest scapegoat when a problem arises, which is usually some form of media that isn't the news. This is no different than blaming video games with violence for violent behavior.

Re:What will this change? (1)

Fission86 (1070784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297082)

that's a really good idea, but the problem with it is you would effectively be suing voters. And i'd only imagine that being a bad idea when you're constantly concerned about what you're going to be doing in 4 years.

First Amendment...? (1)

the_REAL_sam (670858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296898)


It sounds to me as if the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution almost certainly overrules the Connecticut bill.

Obligatory Dilbert quote (2, Funny)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296902)

Pointy Haired Boss: "If we can put a man on the moon, we can <insert whatever ridiculous thing the PHB wanted done>'
Dilbert: "All that proves is that other people can do other things."
PHB: "Maybe we should find out how they did it."
Dilbert: "Maybe they used good analogies."

(note: Done from my infinitely fallible memory, might have paraphrased a teensy bit, but that's pretty close I think to what was said.)

In other news... (3, Insightful)

cepler (21753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296914)

...in other news Montanna has outlawed those under 18 from speaking to anyone else under 18 citing cases of extreme violence caused by children teasing each other. President Bush has applauded this move saying it's about time a state take steps to stop needless violence in America.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297168)

A rider to that bill has outlawed those over 18 from speaking to those under 18 because any adult who would speak to minor is an obvious pedophile. Children everywhere applauded the move when it abolished all school since teachers could no longer speak to students.

Speaking as networking site owner... (2, Informative)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296926)

>Under the bill, networking sites that failed to verify ages and failed to obtain parental permission before posting profiles of users under age 18 would face civil penalties of up to $5,000 a day for every day of noncompliance.

Hahahaha! Stuff that fine where the sun never shines! It will never reach my sexy Swedish butt, I can assure you.

Rule #1: If you want to work with media: Do it from another country than the one you're targeting!

Somebody who goes to these sites tell me.. (2, Insightful)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296930)

Aside from the general control agenda they have with the internet, from the socioforming
perspective I wonder why they are moving against these social networking sites. I always
went with the theory that these sites actually immobilize people socially with surrogate
chatroom buddies they will never meet in real life. Could it be that these sites actually
cause people to meet up face to face in real life? (That would explain their upset).

Don't blow up at me or call me names. I'm just curious.

Re:Somebody who goes to these sites tell me.. (1)

BlueCodeWarrior (638065) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297072)

I can tell you that I don't know anyone who randomly came across someone on the internet, but I know of several friendships/relationships that started with a random in person meeting, followed by a "facebook me when you get the chance, and we'll talk about it more later," that developed into more.

That was a terribly constructed sentence. Forgive me.

Information for tracking the bill (5, Informative)

phiz187 (533366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296942)

I contacted Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's office and was advised that the initiative is being handled by the General Law Committee [ct.gov] . I contacted their office on 09 March 2007 and was informed that the proposed legislation would likely be attatched to House Bill #6981 [ct.gov]
-PHiZ

Prohibtiion worked also. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296958)

Making laws to make illegal devices (drug, alcohol, food, computer, etc) is a stupid thing. Prohibition tried to stop alcohol sales and look what good that did. It is not the device we should make illegal but the bad person and behavior that we use the device for we should punish. The computer is a device that we can use for good but if a bad person uses it to solicit children for sex then the computer itself is not the problem but the person is. We should get that person to treatment or other forms punishment to make sure this person doesn't do this behavior.

Job creation in Conneticut! (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296962)

I guess what they can do is hire people to do this... since this is Conneticut's idea, it seems they should be footing the bill to pay the wages of the people who will have the responsibility of doing age verification.

Computers aren't smart enough for the task to be automated, so people will have to do it.

The nature of humans (2, Informative)

Looce (1062620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296966)

The nature of humans is such that, with sufficient desire to access something, they will do anything in order to do so.

This does not just affect technology, either. Just look at any child whose ball went into the street. He has the desire to access the ball again, so, even if it's in the middle of the road, he will try to reach it.

Similarly, in high school, it is considered "cool" to drink beer, and smoke pot. Many students succumb to peer pressure, and in order to access these forbidden substances, they will get someone who is over the legal drinking age (oh noes!) to get this kind of access for them.

Getting back to technology, little kids under 13 will say they are over 13 to play some games that abide by the COPPA [wikipedia.org] . Black-hat hackers try to use vulnerabilities to break into the Govt's computers.

And users of MySpace will lie about their age.

Unless (and until) the state of Connecticut creates and maintains a database of biometric data associated with its residents, and forces every one of them to have the scanner associated with the data collected (retinal scan, fingerprint etc.) to register with MySpace, let's face it, inaccuracies will still arise.

And after that, we will complain that we don't have privacy.

So, I must ask: Protection of the children, or Big Brother? ... Or take a more viable approach, that of educating children and parents about the impending dangers of these social networking sites?

Blumenthal is an Astronaut? (1)

955301 (209856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296968)


Please sir, do tell us when *exactly* you've been to the moon and when *exactly* you intend to write the code necessary to identify a child on a community system with a subset of people who pride their anonymity?

I love how politicians claim abilities beyond their own capacity.

Heh, (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297026)

No, you *used* to be able to put a man on the moon, way back when the Soviets would otherwise have done it. It was nothing more than an extension of the arms race.

Goodbye Anonymous Coward (4, Interesting)

meme lies (1050572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297038)

"Social Networking Site" is a buzzword, not a legal categorization. What would make MySpace a target for this law, and Slashdot exempt? The fact that you can have a page of your own (Slashdot has journals), add friends (Friends, Freaks and Foes) or send private messages (on Slashdot your email can be publicly visible?)

Unless the law specifically named the sites to be restricted (which of course would not be possible) or they figure out a way to specify exactly what separates MySpace or Facebook from, say, a forum for a Warcraft guild (which would be possible, I suppose, but probably not by anyone fool enough to come up with such a law) then no site will be safe from the repurcussions.

What's a 'Networking Site'? (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297050)

From the article:

Under the bill, networking sites that failed to verify ages and failed to obtain parental permission before posting profiles of users under age 18 would face civil penalties of up to $5,000 a day for every day of noncompliance.

I gather their target is large sites with explicit emphasis on social networking, but a lot is going to depend on how any law is worded. It could apply to anything on the internet which invites user submitted content. Like Slashdot. Or Joe Blow's Blog. Or whatever.

Canada has a large, sparsely populated, territory called Nunavut. The US should negotiate a deal with Canada to set up camps where America's children could be raised in a safe, non-networked environment, with tight control on any and all content coming in from the outside world. That could solve so many of the 'won't someone think of the children' type problems.

EULA - check here. (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297106)

[] I agree that I am not in any place that forbids me to check this box.

Jurisdiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297112)

I will never understand internet-laws that try to apply only in specific locations.

So a user, born in Brazil, who lives in Connecticut is on vacation in Canada, and proxies into a computer in New York city, and then accesses a website run by a French company, owned by a Spanish entrepreneur who is living in Italy. The company servers are located in Sweden and administered by a staff in Finland.

And you're telling me that if said user is underage and the website is a social networking site, Connecticut is going to impose fines on someone? Who exactly? And in what country? Good luck with that.

As a CT resident: This is baaad (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297122)

wow, this is very bad for those who live in Connecticut. The reason is that there is no way to make friends in the real non-internet world in Connecticut. Okay, that's a bit of an overstatement, but connecticut is the most worthless state I have ever had the displeasure of finding myself in. Seriously... there is no social scene. Hartford is a crap city, New Haven has Yale but nothing else going for it and Bridgeport... well... nevermind. There is really one fun activity you can do in CT: Leave and go to New York City to do something.

Baaaad. (1)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297166)

If this law is passed, we must all protest. By putting on our robes and wizard hats.

Slashdotters in politics? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18297172)

I, for one, would like to congratulate Slashdot's very own BadAnalogyGuy on his appointment as Connecticut's Attorney General. Bravo, sir. Bravo.
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