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Politicians Target Social Sites For Restrictions 497

Posted by Zonk
from the if-you-can-see-this-you're-already-in-trouble dept.
cnet-declan writes "Politicians are looking for reasons to convince citizens to vote in November, and polls say suburban parents are worried about the internet. Wednesday top House Republicans announced a bill to make 'social' Web sites unreachable from schools and libraries. The bill is intended to go after MySpace, but the actual text of the legislation covers sites that let users 'create profiles' and have a 'forum' for conversations -- which would include Slashdot and many blog sites. House Speaker Dennis Hastert claims it's necessary to stop 'dangerous predators' out here on the Interweb."
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Politicians Target Social Sites For Restrictions

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  • Well that explains why Rupert Murdoch [moderateindependent.com], the richest & most influential media owner in the world (owner of Fox and myspace. [bbc.co.uk]) has ended years of Clinton hating and started cosying up to Hilary Clinton. [scotsman.com]

    Utterly fascinating - he's a powerful, ruthless, pragmatic man, normally the kind of person who gets along perfectly with the current republican administration - but it looks like the christian right's prediliction for censorship is starting to ruffle his feathers.

    Anyway, for anyone unlucky enough to be using internet access in a library, I'm sure the circumvention techniques good for the great firewall of china [slashdot.org] will work inside the US as well. Maybe the BoingBoing guide to evading censorware [boingboing.net] will be useful too.

    Oh - on a side note, check out the spoof Rupert Murdoch Myspace Profiles [myspace.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sorry, no. Hillary is just as able to appeal to security mom's fears and is more than willing to support censorship if she thinks she can get political traction.

      Murdoch knows that this is a pay-to-play, over-politicized, big-government country. If your business is of any size, you play all sides of the political spectrum. You keep all potential power brokers happy. This has NOTHING to do with Hillary's priciples, which would hardly vary from these Republican losers. Murdoch merely sees writing on the wall,
    • Does not compute (Score:5, Insightful)

      by patio11 (857072) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:42AM (#15308844)
      If you want less nannying regarding the Internet, why on earth would you vote for Hillary Clinton? She and Joe Lieberman are frequently to the right of Republicans on most "civil liberties in tech" issues -- check out their broadsides against the gaming industry, etc.
      • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @12:06PM (#15309833)
        Hillary Clinton and Lieberman are definatly against free speech and expression. They have both launched wars against videogames, the arts, media and the internet in reguards to free speech and ideas.

        I would hate to see Hillary as a president. Leiberman may lose his seat soon in CT. I hope so.

        I'm not a republican or a conservative... I just hate these 2 people, and want to see real American's elected to office. The kind that stand up for free speech, expression and have the fucking courage to tell Americans "NO" like the big babies we are. We need someone to remind us all of what AMERICA is about...

        Tolerance... freedom... and a peaceful way of life... not dictated by religion, corporations, or wealth...

        I'm tired of the two Americas... the one for the rich, and the one for the poor... Where the laws dont really apply to the rich... and the poor are looked upon as criminals by default.

        Hillary and Joe are the kind of wealthy social elites that are disconnected from reality. Their idea of "America" is their happy wealthy communities, where they feel above those of us who enjoy violent movies, porn, and all kinds of language...

        They feel they have to save us from ourselves.... they know better than we do.... They know what America should be for you and I...

        No fucking thanks.

        Tolerance and Freedom... Tolerance comes first

        • by Gadgetfreak (97865) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @01:20PM (#15310674)
          Let's not forget Al Gore's wife Tipper... she vehemently led the crusade for the 'obscene lyrics' music warning labels. Wonder what she'd have done if Myspace were around in the early '90s.

          Generally, I'm a pretty conservative guy... but I see different things in "liberal" and "conservative" than most general people do. To me, the worst thing GW Bush has done (besides making piss poor executive decisions) is given the impression that conservatives/republican folks are conservative as a result of religious beliefs. And for many, that's true... but that's just not the case across the board. Not nearly so.

          The biggest issue I have with the typical liberal camp is that they seem to operate with the concept that the general population are a bunch of imbiciles that don't know what they want, and cannot take care of themselves. Al Gore and John Kerry just spoke with such a patronizing tone that seemed to indicate that they wanted people to just go to work, and the gov't will spoonfeed them and shelter them. I always see Slashdot as a pretty liberal group... but many of us forget that we're also quite well educated compared to average, and generally quite capable of planning for retirement, finding a job with health care, and looking after our children's online activities.

          On issues like MySpace, you see people in certain political parties coming full circle... so left they're right, and vice-versa. Nobody wants to give the opinion that they're not taking action against people that prey on kids... but nobody wants to infringe on free speech. So you get a complicated mix of "everyone fend for themseles/parents make sure you're doing your job/don't be naive and use common sense" and the typical ignorant crowd that always screams out "This is an outrage! Someone ought to make a law! What's being done to protect me!" It's difficult to actually label which choice is liberal, and which is conservative, 'cause it just isn't clear anymore... it's always tough when free speech/expression is used by a criminal. You can take the gun from the potential killer, but can you take the speech from a potential social offender?

          Unfortunately, when you leave things up to individuals, there are always people who drop the ball. But when the latter group screams out "someone else ought to do something" you end up with a lot of stupid laws.

          Lieberman is my senator... and I've never voted for him, because in the years I've been old enough to vote, he seems to have lost direction and given into the passing political outcries. He's a smart guy, but now he's just blowing in the wind.

          • Let's not forget Al Gore's wife Tipper... she vehemently led the crusade for the 'obscene lyrics' music warning labels. Wonder what she'd have done if Myspace were around in the early '90s.

            Absolutely. That has never left my mind, the whole PMRC shit.. Its insane.

            A liberal should be for liberty, and that i consider myself a liberal in that light.

            Hillary, Leiberman and Tipper Gore are liberal in the sense that they are at liberity to use her power to dictate their world view.

            They do not respect true liberty.
    • it looks like the (C)hristian right's prediliction for censorship is starting to ruffle his feathers.

      Murdoch's various media outlets cosy up to authoritarian parties wherever they go -- explaining the Fox-Republican mind meld, okay. He also happens to be quite satisfied with the regime in China, though, now you mention that "great firewall."

      The People's Daily Online, March 16, 2005:
      "In a meeting with Murdoch here Wednesday, Liu Yunshan, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC

  • And this a problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denissmith (31123) * on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:22AM (#15308620)
    Those who have nothing to say will have nothing to fear!
  • probably just practice for dealing with the new legislation that's coming in the US? Geeze, the US is falling behind in everything now....
  • The one of the purposes of a government is to protect its people, right?

    So who protects the people from their government?
    • Usually, we use the ballot box. Get out and vote. Get involved.

      Get ... political.
      • Usually, we use the ballot box.

        Thanks to Diebold and the Repugs, the ballot box now uses us. Although, one should still get out and vote. Maybe working through the local and state level would help. It seems to draw con-gress out of its coma from time to time.

      • OK, which party is the one wholly against censorship in any form? ...
    • This is protection in the sense that a plaster cast helps a fractured arm.

      Sure, you've got to let the bone heal, but you need to remove the plaster cast and strengthen the muscle, or the limb weakens.

      Enough plaster-cast legislation, and we'll be a society of mummies.

      Far be it from us to encourage individual maturity and responsibility. Far better to weaken the many under the misguided assertion that this will somehow protect the many from the criminal few.
    • by Cheapy (809643) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:35AM (#15308758)
      So who protects the people from their government?

      Guns. Lots of guns.

      Just as guns can be used to repress people, they can be used to free people.

      Of course, then the whole "throne of bayonets" thing comes into play...
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:36AM (#15308777)
      So who protects the people from their government?

      Terrorists.

      • Terrorists attack citizens to induce terror.

        Give me plain old revolutionaries who have the precision to only kill the government they are resisting.
      • So who protects the people from their government?

        Terrorists.

        I thought it was David Hasselhoff...

    • So who protects the people from their government?

      Well, if it's China, that would be the US. If it's the US... hey, leave us alone... mind your own business... can we buy some more cheap goods?

      Supposedly the arrangement is reciprocal: our government protects us form ourselves, and we protect ourselves from our government. Unfortunately, we Americans have gotten a little lackadasical in the upkeep department, and now we can't seem to throw out the bums when they do stupid things.

    • Your liberty, like everything else in life, is ultimately YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY. Not only will no one else protect you, but you should not expect anyone to. The police are there to maintain order. The military exists to protect our government from other governments. Our own government exists for the same reason that government everywhere exists, as a structured and rule-based mechanism for the exercise of power. Government the civilized way for the powerful to compete with one another for the power t
  • Remember... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Cheapy (809643)
    Anyone who's opposed to this is a terrorist!

    Think of the Kids!
  • Curses! (Score:4, Funny)

    by SvetBeard (922070) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:25AM (#15308655)
    Now I'll never find a girlfriend! (Where's the -1 Creepy mod when you need it?)
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:25AM (#15308662)

    Ah yes, it's another year divisible by two, as you can tell by the haunting call of the red-breasted politician:
    Won't somebody think of the children?
    Won't somebody think of the children???

    From TFA:
    Fitzpatrick and fellow Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, on Wednesday endorsed new legislation that would cordon off access to commercial Web sites that let users create public "Web pages or profiles" and also offer a discussion board, chat room, or e-mail service.


    That's a rather wide range, and a quick perusal of the web (Google is your friend) gives ample reason why this is such a moronic idea:


    And from Speaker Hastert's statement:
    We've all heard stories of children on some of these social websites meeting up with dangerous predators.
    Well, we've heard stories of various congresscritters involved in all sorts of shenanigans....perhaps we'd better just outlaw Congress.

    Now, I'm not trying to deny that online predators exist and are a problem, but a better solution than a draconian ban on all discussion-type websites might be to actually educate your child about the danger...after all, the predator can't molest your child through the computer, and if a child knows better than to give out sensitive info, it's over before it begins. But of course, parents would rather have our legislature raise their children than take a little responsibility themselves, and the legislature is more than willing to pander to the irrationality of the general populace, especially in a year divisible by two. The problem with this approach is that everyone gets treated like stupid children that need to be protected, and that's unfair to those who still have their wits about them (although they seem to be in the minority).
    • We've all heard stories of children on some of these social websites meeting up with dangerous predators.

      I haven't heard anything. To my knowladge, there hasn't been a case of some pedophile or ephebophile using MySpace to groom anyone so far. Can anyone name any specific incidents at all, or is this all just paranoia?
    • Anyone got statistics on the number of women abused in the USA every year that are looking for help?

      How about child predator cases?

      How about looking for information on birth control / abortion / legal help / etc. that one can't do at home for fear of possible reprisals?

      Is there some reason politicians can't realize there are a large number of people needing anonymous access to resources and they aren't all predators?
    • Given they have blogs, I guess the ban will also cover these two:

      gop.org [gop.org]
      democrats.org [democrats.org]

      I wonder what their webmasters think of the bill?

  • More of nothing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsmith (818216) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:25AM (#15308663)
    What do you expect these politicians to do, something worth while? We have budgets busting the income of the government, we are gushing in debt. We have 2 wars which aren't close to being over. We have looming social security problems and even worse is the pending Medicare problem (slated to go bankrupt in only 10 years!). Yet, our worthless, and i mean worthless in ever meaning of the word, politicans are more worried about restricting myspace. Maybe they should starting thinking of the children's FUTURE, being able to have a country.

    Idiots.
  • Politics, sigh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nietsch (112711)
    Right, so everytime some polly makes a ridiculous proposal we all should get our panties in a twist? Yes he is screaming a variant of 'think of the children', but unless it is has made some progres in becoming legislation, it is just some political posturing... If only the media would ignore such stupidity, we would see a lot less of it.

  • This is right in line with expectations.

    http://www.hermes-press.com/police_state.htm [hermes-press.com]
    http://www.oldamericancentury.org/14pts.htm [oldamericancentury.org] [oldamericancentury.org]
    http://www.hermes-press.com/etch1.htm [hermes-press.com] [hermes-press.com]

    In the land of the NOT free, All hail the shrub!
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:27AM (#15308682)
    From the FA, which again a Slashdot submitter seems to have not actually read:

    ... a proposed federal law that would effectively require most schools and libraries to render those Web sites inaccessible to minors ...

    Note the use of the word minors here. If you want to argue whether or not minors should be prevented from accessing sites like Slashdot, that's fine, but the article doesn't say at all that adults will be prevented from accessing those sites.
    • the article doesn't say at all that adults will be prevented from accessing those sites.

      Except that it also doesn't say how a computer is to know the difference between adults and kids. In some schools they might have individual user accounts that can be used. In libraries? I'm 99% certain they will be set to "err on the side of safety", i.e. reject access, and you have to jump through some hoops to get it enabled. Like, well, showing your new national ID card, maybe? ;)
      • Like, well, showing your new national ID card, maybe? ;)
        Oooh! Cool, two birds with one stone, we protect the Children from the peddy-philes and we get to tie an identity to anything browsed at public libraries.
      • by cptgrudge (177113) <cptgrudge@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:48AM (#15309616) Journal
        In order to get federal funding, schools and libraries must have a web filtering solution in place. This is to comply with the current CIPA [ala.org] legislation. One of the requirements of the web filter is that it is able to be overridden to allow access. It doesn't matter if the user is an adult or a minor. If parents have an issue with these social blogging sites, then they should take it up with their local school and/or library.

        Depending on your viewpoint, it's rather creepy to "check in" with someone when you want to access "inappropriate" content at all. On the plus side, librarians, and the ALA [ala.org] in particular, are generally quite opposed to censorship of any kind. You can bet that they'll have something to say about this. Libraries already have all sorts of trouble being compliant with the very vague law that is CIPA, and this will only muddy the water further.

        I found a very interesting article [firstmonday.org] (linked to from the ALA website) that goes over the problems that libraries face with internet filtering. Make no mistake; they hate it. Particularly alarming is the librarian from Singapore that wasn't that concerned about censorship:

        She casually replied, "Oh yes, we get overblocking all the time. Last week I was helping a patron look for motor vehicle forms but they were blocked, probably because it has a box to check for SEX 'Male/Female.'"

        There was something about her casual tone that tripped me up. I usually hear librarians give overblocking examples in tones alternating between outrage, bitterness and amusement. I heard none of that in her voice. Just a relaxed answer, perhaps befitting our tranquil setting.

        Nevertheless, I prodded, "As a librarian, doesn't that bother you?"

        "No, not really," she said. Noticing the surprised look on my face, she continued, "You don't understand. Everything in Singapore is censored ... our books, our movies. You get used to it. Internet filters are nothing special."

        This is purely redundant legislation to collect mindshare for an election year, and will only be used to restrict us further. Once people get used to it, they cease to care. It must be fought.

    • by BillyBlaze (746775) <tomfelker@gmail.com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:51AM (#15308952)
      How about we just put all minors in solitary confinement and carefully screen the guards? Then nobody could molest them, and parents wouldn't need to do a damn thing! And nobody's rights are violated, because minors aren't real people! Remember, it's not censorship if it's being done to someone else.
  • Overreaching (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eln (21727) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:30AM (#15308697) Homepage
    I know it's an election year, and that means it's time for Congress to talk up a bunch of poorly thought out legislation that panders to the basest instincts of the populace, but honestly, this is not a federal matter by any means. The decision on what sites are accessible from a school is a decision best left up to the individual school, or at least to the local school board.

    These people are trying to pander to the old reliable "think of the children!" crap because they can't come up with anything that would actually improve the lives of their consituents, so they have to play to their constituents' insecurities and fears.
  • by Bullfish (858648) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:30AM (#15308705)
    Really, if you think about it, there are predators out there that will use such pages and forums to gather their forces to go after some of these poiliticians and get them out of office. It must be very scary for this guy and his ilk indeed.
  • WTF? O.o (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:31AM (#15308711) Homepage Journal
    Most teenagers i've met in the internet in "social sites" (i mean forums) have problems about abortion, parents beating them (or telling them that they're worthless), depression, anorexia, suicide problems, drugs... (you should read more teenager blogs , people). And I'm not talking about 18 or 19 yo's... I'm talking about people 15 years old in average.

    Families are practically becoming prison camps for kids... and you're telling me that the greatest danger are sexual predators on the internet? Are you f*cking kidding me?
    • by Tom (822)
      Families are practically becoming prison camps for kids... and you're telling me that the greatest danger are sexual predators on the internet? Are you f*cking kidding me?

      No, they're fucking you - over.

      There's a lot of studies out there that say that most sexual abuses happen within the extended family. Uncles and other people known to the kids in real life are among the main group. Not to mention that a frightening amount of parents (mostly fathers, but more mothers than you'd think) are among the guilty a
    • Re:WTF? O.o (Score:3, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680)
      Most teenagers i've met in the internet in "social sites" (i mean forums) have problems about abortion, parents beating them (or telling them that they're worthless), depression, anorexia, suicide problems, drugs...

      Most 15 year olds consider not being handed cash by mom and dad to get the latest PSP or XBox title a big deal in life too. Not to say 15 year olds are not to be trusted but how is opening up a blog environment for them making these problems any better? Especially in a time and place where they
    • Families are practically becoming prison camps for kids... and you're telling me that the greatest danger are sexual predators on the internet? Are you f*cking kidding me?

      Now, now... my kids would be sure to tell you how much they love their home... if I didn't have to keep them in the Cooler for trying to tunnel out...

    • Re:WTF? O.o (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172)
      Families are practically becoming prison camps for kids... and you're telling me that the greatest danger are sexual predators on the internet? Are you f*cking kidding me?

      We're just fostering good, old American values. Like putting sexual predation back in the home where it belongs.

      KFG
    • Re:WTF? O.o (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother AT optonline DOT net> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:58AM (#15309041) Journal

      It's been this way since time immemorial. Teenagers are the great misunderstood masses. Their problems are hard for them to deal with because the shine of them being little kids has worn off, but their parents and other adults won't take them seriously.

      And kids have been trying to talk about their problems in social groups forever. Now they have a place to do it that allows teens from far and away to share their feelings and try to make sense of their world, and maybe just maybe form some kind of lasting connection that will help them later in life.

      Can't have that.

      Listen, there have been sexual predators out for kids as long as all this has been going on. Does anyone honestly thing locking down MySpace is going to make them go away? They'll just go back to cruising the streets or hanging out around arcades, movie theatres, and convenience stores. If a sexual predator wants something, he/she will get it, Internet or no.

      I think if we were better parents, talked to our teens, treated them like people and not possessions, we wouldn't have to worry about them hanging out in social networks. They might actually be able to take care of themselves. One thing I know: Congress can't run the country, let alone raise my children.

  • by cryptochrome (303529) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:31AM (#15308712) Journal
    I've substitute taught, and I'm in favor of this legislation just to keep kids from wasting their computer time at school on networking sites and trying to one-up each other. They should ban yahoo mail while they're at it.
    • I've substitute taught, and I'm in favor of this legislation just to keep kids from wasting their computer time at school on networking sites and trying to one-up each other. They should ban yahoo mail while they're at it.

      This should NOT be enforced by the government.
      It SHOULD be enforced by teacher/librarian watching the room and possibly filtering on the school level.

      Extra legislation to make people do what they are already suppose to be doing?

      This is a school-level issue. The school/district sho

  • They want Read-only access to the internet from schools and libraries?
  • parents these days (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:32AM (#15308724) Homepage Journal
    polls say suburban parents are worried about the internet.

    Brains say that laws are not a replacement for raising your kids. And teaching them the high-tech equivalent of "don't take candy from strangers" is a part of that.

    So either do your job, or stop fucking around making babies if you can't handle them. There are also abortions for that.
    • No, but there's a balance. You don't want to be breathing down your kids necks all the time do you? While I think this is totally wrong(my library already restricts access to people who's library cards indicate that they are under the age of 18), the intent is atleast interesting. If not totally misguided.
  • And people wonder why laws don't get any respect. Or, worse, say that you ought to respect something just because it's the law.

    Of course, if they said "fear" rather than "respect" they might have a decent point...
  • So I guess any research that would entail searching messageboard or knowledgebase posts would be banned?
  • by rowmath (898987)
    As a high school teacher, it does concern me that so many young people are constantly exposed to so much adult material. While I am not in favor of the goverment getting involved. Does anyone pause and think about the amazing ease with which, say a 12 year old can access this stuff?
    • Does anyone pause and think about the amazing ease with which, say a 12 year old can access this stuff?

      Does anyone know that odds are a 12 year old won't know what to do with the stuff?

      Maybe I was a slow developer, but at 12 I did not understand sex or even how to masturbate to ejaculation. I knew my dick would get hard from time to time, and it felt good to touch it, but my hormones and brain was not ready for sex yet.

  • House Speaker Dennis Hastert claims it's necessary to stop 'dangerous predators' out here on the Interweb.
    Therefore we also need to fit all of our children with RFID tags to protect them from 'dangerous predators' out here in the real world.
  • by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:36AM (#15308782)
    involved?

    I guess this is yet another "save the children" campaign.

    But guess what? Most people that abuse children are trusted friends or family members, not some slashdot geek in his mom's basement in Maine going after the poor children looking at websites at the library in California.

    The problem is not MySpace or Slashdot, its that the US is full of lonely scared sick people that take it out of the easiest victims that they can, children. And although it is pretty common to do minor pedophilia, severe and chronic abuse is very rare.

    So brilliant legislators, what is next? Outlawing telephones, children in public places, school, libraries, music, TV, well, everything besides the privilege of paying taxes?

    Dipshits.

    Keep taking our liberties, and you will understand what the 2nd amendment is all about.

  • When they are grooming their prey, they will be safe in the knowledge that nobody from the general public or library staff will walks past and see what's on the kid's screen. Way to go, legislators!
  • The way this legislation was described, a lot of kid sites and gaming sites could also be affected. For example, I gave my 9-yo daughter a membership to Disney's "Toontown" (http://www.toontown.com [toontown.com])site. It lets her create profiles and chat with other players. Is this what they had in mind?
  • by gnujoshua (540710) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:40AM (#15308817) Homepage
    I can't believe that with Republicans in the majority, that htey would push for a Federal law like this. They are more than happy to make Evolution a state and county issue and to not regulate the sciences --- but they are going to attempt to regulate this? This is such crap and it strikes home in a deeply personal way, so excuse my venting.

    I have been slowly working on a project called the Free Textbook Project that I'd liek to target at schools. As well as something called the Piaget project, which is a collaborative and interactive mathematics learning environment. Others at the MIT Media Lab are doing similar things. These would all be banned, as well as Wikipedia, as far as I can tell. GMail is banned, and really, most any other internet technologies. I don't see how one can find appropriate language on a national level.
  • by millisa (151093) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:41AM (#15308825)
    The problem isn't letting children on community driven sites.
    The problem is a community driven site has no way to properly police and identify it's members.

    I ran a community based website for 8 years where users could create profiles, message each other, participate in tree style board discussions and it became very popular with high school age children. I went through most of the steps that would have made the site COPPA compliant (though it was unneeded) using email based multi-opt in methods to verify the user. The site was policed regularly for content that would have been inappropriate for underage users, erring on the side of caution. I didn't regulate what users sent privately to each other, though there were jobs that ran on the backend that would watch for things that should send up a red flag (ie, adults talking about 'plane tickets' with minors). It wasn't perfect, and most of the time the flags were false positives that I just ignored. Users were aware of the monitoring and generally approved.

    I shut the site down about 10-12 months ago because I couldn't handle dealing with the child predators anymore. One of my monitors had gone off and upon investigation I found not just one but three different adults (30+ males) that were all attempting to 'hook up' with girls 13-16... I am not in position to judge, make laws, or anything of that nature. However, this activity is explicitly not what I wanted on my site (and since all parties were in the US, they all were beneath the laws of this country and their respective states). I attempted reporting these activities to the states the individuals were from (California and Indiana in this instance), was given the run around for a while and eventually just told in a round about way that nothing I could submit or do would effect anything. No investigation, no extra monitoring, no research into these individuals who were quite knowingly breaking laws and endangering a child (from at least the law books perspective).

    I searched for ways I could as a small website operator (~20000 members) validate a users identity. I figured I could at least prevent some of these activities if users knew without a doubt that their accounts were tied to their real identity (even if it was hidden to other users). I hit a brick wall. I could not find any means to accomplish this and queries on solutions were left unanswered (though my Ask Slashdot question is still in Pending state and has been for the last many months).

    I don't see this issue as being something that laws preventing children from getting on these sites is the solution. I *do* however feel the schools should have the right to block access to any sites they don't deem as needed for the education process. I happily blocked access to my site on my side at the request of school administrators that didn't have the technical wherewithall to block it on their side. Social networking websites have as much place in a classroom as cell phones and instant messaging devices. So blocking them I approve of, but at the school administrations discretion.

    My biggest point here is the problem: "Sexual predators preying on children" is not solved by their solution "Block access to myspace while at school and put the load on the site delivering the service, not on the site accessing the service".

    Most social networking sites ignore the fact that they KNOW their sites are/will be used by predators. Some of us let the guilt get to us and shut down.
    • A shame that you allowed the activities of three people to destroy the fun of 20,000.
  • And in other news, Republicans propose an amendment to the constitution making it illegal to let anyone under the age of 18 outside of the house, ever.

    It may seam quite harsh, but one senator was quoted as saying "it's quite tame compared to the original proposal to automatically incarcerate all males who have reached the age of puberty. God knows they're all violent pedophiles in the making, better to lock them up before they harm any children." When asked if he had any children of his own the senator repl
  • As a father... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:41AM (#15308834)
    OK, I'm a dad. I am not concerned about predators ever reaching my daughter over the internet. Why? Because I keep an eye on my kid and pay attention to her. My wife does, too. Responsible parents don't let the TV, iPod, video games, or computers babysit their children.

    If kids can't get the attention they need from their parents, they'll look for it elsewhere.

    You can't legislate that. Parents just have to pull their heads out of their asses and be parents.

    Politicians are reactionary organisms that will do anything to please the masses so they can get re-elected. Bills like this are merely placebos that make the government appear that they're doing something about a problem that should be addressed at home.

    This is a waste of time and a distraction from REAL issues. But I don't have any stong opinions about it ;-)
  • Yep (Score:2, Insightful)

    by towsonu2003 (928663)
    What were we saying about China now?..
    • Censorship in the general public is a far far cry from banning your kids from getting to MySpace on school time. I'm paying taxes to get your kids educated, not so they can hook up with their friends.

      Limitations of access to these types of sites does have a time and place. The legislation as I've seen it is far too broad, but not completely flawed.

      It's not as if they're trying to ban MySpace in the US.
  • House Speaker Dennis Hastert claims it's necessary to stop 'dangerous predators' out here on the Interweb."

    Because as we all know those dangerous predators are only [go.com] on [newswatch50.com] the [thejewishweek.com] interweb.

  • ...can go to hell. Internet predators? What about THIS guy?

    http://www.projo.com/news/content/projo_20060509_w girl9.12926f99.html [projo.com]

    Hastert doesn't know what a predator is.

    --
    BMO
  • danah boyd [danah.org], a doctoral student at UC Berkeley and a well-known expert on social networking and adolescent identity development, spoke [danah.org] at the American Association for the Advancement of Science [aaas.org] 2006 annual meeting [aaas.org] a few months ago about the critical role social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook play in the socialization and identity development of adolescents. In a nutshell, she argues that social networking sites are areas where young people can experiment with their identity in a venue frequented
  • That makes it such that politicians have to know what the blithering fuck they're talking about before writing any legislation ever again. Don't know how the hell the internet works, let alone what the fuck forums are used for, (wonder if this applies to the "forums for discussion" that school programs like FirstClass have) but you still want to politically grandstand? Too fucking bad! I should include they have to pay a fine.... and take some classes. Honestly, from what I've heard, many of the politicians
  • And while they're at it, they should enact a law that makes it illegal to use a cell phone to make or receive a phone call. Don't they realize that the internet is all about communication? If you remove the aspects that allow people to communicate using it (forums, webmail, etc), then you clearly don't understand why the net exists. Imagine working on a research project, but not being allowed to use the net to communicate with your colleagues in remote places. And then remember that that was one of the key
  • Proservatives (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:02AM (#15309087) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone have any excuse left for voting for Republicans because they represent "small government", "no intrusion into personal affairs" or any of the "Conservative" lies they've spewed for decades to grab power and squander American freedom?
  • by WhatAreYouDoingDave (974339) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @06:10PM (#15313564)
    I work in a school system, so three things:

    One, we already block this content. So this is purely campaign crap to get extra votes. And every school system, at least here in Virginia, is required to provide an Internet filter to protect students from accessing certain sites. Our public libraries do the same.

    Two, what content we do not block, is for educational purposes. For example, Slashdot. Well, if Slashdot now fits the profile of a site that needs to be banned, then school systems across the nation will be required to sacrifice some sites that are essential to teachers' methods of teaching.

    And three, why make the Internet more restrictive through more legislation? The Internet is a public forum for open communication and collaboration. Don't stifle innovation just because parents can't raise their children properly. I know from experience that parents like to point the finger at everyone except when it goes in their general direction. "Their kids didn't do anything wrong, it's obviously the school's fault."

    Once, I had a student with animal porn on his school-issued laptop. We found it when he brought it to our helpdesk for repairs. We called in his parents because they just had to see it. They couldn't believe their 15-year-old son would do such a thing. Well, when I spun that laptop around with a picture of a girl and a horse on-screen, all his mom could say was, "[student name], what the hell am I looking at?" And the lesson of this little story is this: I can't keep him from getting it on this SCHOOL computer. If a hormonal little teen wants porn, he/she will find a way to get it; no matter what their odd tastes may be. I can take the floppy drive away, the cd drive, disable USB, etc. All I've done is locked a machine down so tight, it's now good for nothing. No amount of bill and legislation promotion are going to keep things like this from getting to kids because the kids (and their rearing) are the source of the problem, not the content. And I'm not condoning the predators or saying they're not at fault, but if children were taught/disciplined to be more aware of what's out there, maybe they wouldn't be so "stupid" to put themselves in a situation to be preyed upon.

    That's my two cents. Thanks.

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