Illinois Bill Would Ban Social Networking Sites
Wow, I'm not sure I've ever seen a bill this bad. Reading the full text, I see that the legislation's primary function is defined in one paragraph:
Each public library must prohibit access to social networking websites on all computers made available to the public in the library. Each school must prohibit access to social networking websites on all computers made available to students in the school.
The bill goes on to define the key terminology it uses: administrative unit, computer, public library, school, and school board.
All well and good? Well, they never define what constitutes a "social networking website"! Which of these do you think would qualify: Slashdot? Reddit? Digg? Evite? Delicious? Blogger? We could debate this to death. (In fact, it probably is being debated at some Web 2.0 conference.) Without a clear definition of the most crucial term in the bill, how are schools supposed to know how to enforce it? How are the rest of us supposed to know what's allowed and what's not?
If a legislator took the effort to become knowledgable about the Internet, understand how it operates, and then proposed some carefully-crafted regulation, I wouldn't get so emotionally angry about it. Instead we get Ted Stevens' rant about tubes, and crap like this, because people don't take the time to understand what they're talking about. We should expect more out of our elected officials. They wield significant power, and it's ridiculous that they choose to use it without thinking.