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Congress vs Misleading Meta Tags 473

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-this'll-work-really-well dept.
Krishna Dagli writes "The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would make it a federal felony for Webmasters to use innocent words like "Barbie" or "Furby" but actually feature sexual content on their sites. Anyone who includes misleading "words" or "images" intended to confuse a minor into viewing a possibly harmful Web site could be imprisoned for up to 20 years and fined, the bill says." Terrible news for the Barbie/Furbie fetishists out there, to say nothing about being completely impossible to enforce globally.
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Congress vs Misleading Meta Tags

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  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smitth1276 (832902) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:14AM (#15783260)
    Just because it's impossible to enforce globally doesn't mean we shouldn't codify it here. That's sort of a non sequitor.
  • by mopslik (688435) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:15AM (#15783270)
    Does this imply that any porn star named Barbie has to change her name (again) before starting up a web site?
  • 'Innocent' words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkByers (770551) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:15AM (#15783272) Homepage Journal
    make it a federal felony for Webmasters to use innocent words ... but actually feature sexual content on their sites.

    How do you define what makes a word 'innocent'? Are they going to make a list of all "innocent" words, or what?

    The 163-page Child Protection and Safety Act represents the most extensive rewriting of federal laws relating to child pornography, sex offender registration and child exploitation in a decade.

    Ah, I see...
  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother AT optonline DOT net> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:20AM (#15783323) Journal

    What? It's precisely because it can't be codified globally that it's pointless to do anything about it here. Do you honestly think that anyone outside the US is going to voluntarily conform to this law? Do you think anyone inside the US can't get around it by moving their content outside the US?

    As usual, Congress is meddling in things it does not understand. They want to look like they are doing something to protect children, yet at every turn the things they come up with are ludicrous. And they've also dropped the ball on the whole Net Neutrality issue. It's clear Congress doesn't understand what the Internet is ("a series of tubes" said the learned Congressman) or how it works, or the fact that it's a global resource, far outside the realm of their ability to control it.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:21AM (#15783338)
    Congress, with all the problems in the world, focuses on THE most pressing problem right now - misleading meta tags.

    With respectable, upright, and moral leaders like these, we will all be safe from accidentally looking at pr)n - we are saved!
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:21AM (#15783340) Journal
    SEC. 703. DECEPTION BY EMBEDDED WORDS OR IMAGES.

    (a) In General- Chapter 110 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 2252B the following:

    `Sec. 2252C. Misleading words or digital images on the Internet

    `(a) In General- Whoever knowingly embeds words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a person into viewing material constituting obscenity shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not more than 10 years.

    `(b) Minors- Whoever knowingly embeds words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material harmful to minors on the Internet shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not more than 20 years.

    `(c) Construction- For the purposes of this section, a word or digital image that clearly indicates the sexual content of the site, such as `sex' or `porn', is not misleading.

    `(d) Definitions- As used in this section--

    `(1) the terms `material that is harmful to minors' and `sex' have the meaning given such terms in section 2252B; and

    `(2) the term `source code' means the combination of text and other characters comprising the content, both viewable and nonviewable, of a web page, including any website publishing language, programming language, protocol or functional content, as well as any successor languages or protocols.'.

    (b) Table of Sections- The table of sections for chapter 110 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2252B the following:

    `2252C. Misleading words or digital images on the Internet.'.
    I was also worried about it not being well defined. And, of course, they can't come up with a list. But it is left to prosecutors to attempt to use this section of law to prove someone did it with this intent. Which would be difficult.
  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:23AM (#15783351) Homepage Journal
    I agree with your sentiment but there are ways around the issue you describe without resorting to legislation.

    For example in IE you can set an option on the Advanced tab to not search from the address bar. Or you could install NetNanny or something similar. I know these aren't perfect options but a little public education and parental responsibility seems to me to be a better place to start then passing laws like this.

    Again the cries of "someone needs to think of the children" seem to drown out all common sense and parental responsibility. As long as people insist on Congress playing guardians to their children we will continue to see our rights eroded as legislation such is this is eventually used for other then the intended purpose.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:25AM (#15783375)
    Does this imply that any porn star named Barbie has to change her name (again) before starting up a web site?

    From the summary:

    Anyone who includes misleading "words" or "images" intended to confuse a minor into viewing a possibly harmful Web site...

    I hilited the key word there, "intended". So a porn star named Barbie (which is like what, 25% of them all?) would be fine as long as there wasn't other material there (say the word Matel, intentionally mispelled to catch kids who might not know how to spell it). Also, I think exactly what gets linked to will play a key role here. So if you google for "barbie and ken" and a link takes you to a porn site, if the page you land on is a "this is an adult site ...." type of page, you could make a reasonable argument that you weren't trying to ensnare a minor. However, if it takes to directly to a page with, well, you know, then you are opening yourself up (no pun intended) for getting nailed (oh, there I go again) by this law.

    That said, this is one of those laws that can really lead to problems as you can imagine all sorts of "legit" uses of various words (Barbie, Ken, toys, dream house) on a porn site. But again, I think if the webmasters make a reasonable attempt to make it clear that the 12" action figure you are about to see refers to all of Ken, or just a specific part, then the site should be ok.
  • by Intron (870560) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:26AM (#15783379)
    So ask your rep. to pass a law requiring a new TLD named '.xxx' and put all the porn sites there. Oh wait, they just blocked that.
  • by goatan (673464) <ian.hearn@rpa.gsi.gov.uk> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:27AM (#15783393) Journal
    How common is it to visit a porn site when you where really looking for Barbie dolls or anything else for that matter? It's not something that has ever happened to me. The only time I see porn on the internet is if I go look for it.
  • Even better.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:28AM (#15783406) Homepage Journal
    ..it will become illegal for members of Congress to use misleading terms like "tubes" to describe worldwide packet-switching networks.
  • by Tsagadai (922574) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:28AM (#15783407) Journal
    ...There will never be another false hyperlink goatse joke. Goodbye old gaping, your misrepresented link humour will be mourned. This law will bring the end of an era for internet humour.
  • by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:29AM (#15783415) Journal

    to say nothing about being completely impossible to enforce globally

    National sovereignty. How quaint.

  • by Valacosa (863657) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:32AM (#15783438)
    Disclaimer: I am in Canada.

    From the wording in the summary, this speaks to the mentality of the congresscritter. I mean, some right-wingers have this idea stuck in their head that the pr0n on the internet is there for the children, that people are trying to lure kids to the porn sites for some reason which I (nor they) cannot imagine. What benefit is there in that for anybody? It's not as if the kids have any purchasing power! Hell, it's not even as if webmasters can capture some parents income with porn!

    "Daddy, will you buy me a membership to this website! It's only $2.99 for three days!"

    Valacosa to congress: children are not the "target audience" for pornography!
  • Hard at work I see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <<skennedy> <at> <tpno-co.org>> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:32AM (#15783447) Homepage
    Good thing we pay these people insane amounts of money to come up with fluff, feel good legislation instead of dealing with the real issues ( illegal domestic spying, Iraq, privacy, ect... ).

    I can't wait for november.
  • by blorg (726186) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:33AM (#15783449)
    Anyone who includes misleading "words" or "images" intended to confuse a minor into viewing a possibly harmful Web site could be imprisoned for up to 20 years and fined, the bill says.

    How many porn sites try to attract minors anyway? Minors don't have credit cards.
  • Stupid idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by martinmcc (214402) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:34AM (#15783467) Homepage
    The idea is completely ridiculous. First off, 20 years for using a misleading meta tag? Does that sound appropriate? Particular if you consider how easy it could be to do (you copy the template from some previous site for another site and forget to update the meta tags).

    And who judges whether a tag is valid or not? While there may be a few that are clear cut, most will be highly ambiguous and down to some arbitrary decision process, and likely used backwards (i.e. find a site you do not like, then see if you can find some law it breaks, such as this one).

    Again, it used 'think of the children' to role in crappy, unenforceable laws which steal away people freedom, and solve a non-existent problem. I have two daughters, and frequently searched various keywords such as Barbie, and never encountered any pron sites. The only, and obvious, solution to the minor problem of children accessing inappropriate content is for parents to be responsible in how their children can access the net.

  • Sex != Harmful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sane? (179855) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:39AM (#15783513)
    Once again there is the confusion in the US mind that sex = harmful. I thought the puritans died out several centuries ago. Some more extreme stuff I can understand, but the basics of the idea that all types of sex should be kept from children, rather than being seen as a normal part of life, is the more harmful attitude.

    Just how screwed up do you have to be to consider a nipple to be threat to a child's development?

    Better to concentrate on ensuring that child can grow up in a world that has freedom of speech, a clean environment and open minds than one that views sex as somehow dirty.

  • by ttys00 (235472) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:42AM (#15783545)
    Between MP3 downloads and porn sites with childrens words on it, this Internet thing is getting dangerous.

    I'm going to have start committing crimes with lighter punishments, like murder and rape.
  • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@dant i a n.org> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:44AM (#15783571)
    How is barbie a tough call for a site full of fake blondes with fake breasts that look 100% american?
  • by MarkByers (770551) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:46AM (#15783583) Homepage Journal
    So, can you offer a single good reason why anyone would reasonably use "Barney" or "Barbie" or "Pokemon" as keywords for a site featuring a naked woman with semen all over her face?

    What if the guy is called Barney, the woman is called Barbie, and... well I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

    You're missing the point though. Trying to censor content based on fuzzy guidelines is not helping promote freedom. If a pornography site is number 1 in Google for the keyword Barbie, complain to Google that it's keyword matching rules are broken and get them to delist the site. Don't just get your government to go round censoring things you disagree with. Once they start on that path, where will they stop? If porn can be censored what about pro-Muslim sites using words like 'Jesus' in their keywords? Oh the horror! It must be censored too!

    By the way, I'm not American so I don't really care, I'm just making some suggestions that you can choose to ignore if you wish.
  • by kesuki (321456) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @08:59AM (#15783698) Journal
    my opinion, meta tags are kinda bogus anyways.

    as to enforcability, just wait til the death star comes flying along trying to enforce this thing. cause frankly, that's the kind of weapon congress would need to enforce this galactically.

    is the bill intended to be good? yeah, but it's no substitute for parents actually taking an active role in their kids life. personally if i were speaking for jesus i think I'd have to say that barbie dolls are as evil as porn. do little girls need a plastic figurehead of 'beauty' and 'fashion' any more than they need access to a triple x porn site? I sick of people calling little pink boxed pieces of plastic and calling that 'good.'

    now speaking for myself i'd have to say that plastic dolls are quite an ironic way to 'preserve' and 'expand' an empire of 'pretending to do good things for girls' try asking a little girl if she'd rather have a parent or family member at home, being there for them, or if they'd rather have a piece of plastic. frankly i think that for every barbie doll sold, that question needs to be asked at least once.
  • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:00AM (#15783709)

    Anyone who includes misleading "words" or "images" intended to confuse a minor into viewing a possibly harmful Web site...

    I hilited the key word there, "intended".

    I draw retouch with a computer and render with 3D-software erotic images as a hobby and because it provides sufficient motivation to scale the Himalaya-like learning curve of 3D programs. They aren't good enough yet to put up anywhere, but they'll likely be someday. So, I'll likely have an erotic website someday.

    When I put the pics up, where can I get a list of what specific words I'll have to avoid, and how much time do I have to update my page when the word list changes (as it must, to keep up with the latest fads in youth culture) ? And if I happen to be on a vacation when the list changes and don't get back before the deadline, and get charged, is the difference between walking free and spending 20 years in the jail whether the judge happens to like my face or not - because I don't think he can read my intentions from my mind, even if he is honest and not drunk on power or on some kind of personal crusade against filthy porn ?

    Disclaimer: I don't live in the USA, but you know as well as I do that the rest of the world is going to copy this bad law, just like they did the US-style copyright laws.

    That said, this is one of those laws that can really lead to problems as you can imagine all sorts of "legit" uses of various words (Barbie, Ken, toys, dream house) on a porn site. But again, I think if the webmasters make a reasonable attempt to make it clear that the 12" action figure you are about to see refers to all of Ken, or just a specific part, then the site should be ok.

    No, this leads to problems for everyone who's website acknowledges the existence of human sexuality. Ironically, it has the potential of increasing the profits of for-pay porn sites, since they can afford to hire people to keep watching the wordlist for changes, and are at least somewhat shielded from personal responsibility by incorporation; it's the free sites that are going to be hit by this.

    This is an extraordinarily stupid idea for a law, even for the US congress.

  • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@dant i a n.org> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:05AM (#15783745)
    First of all, what kind of a phantasy is that? Why would a porn site "trick little kids into visiting pornographic sites by using meta keywords" in the first place? Little kids don't have credit cards. Plus, I can't speak for the US, but I would guess you already have laws against showing/selling porn to kids under a certain age.

    And you seem to lack imagination. There is no way to legislate this because the English language simply has too few words to express all there is to express. What if it is a site where not the model is called Barbie, but it's about a person's fantasies about Barbie. What about the keyword "Hamster"? Knitwork? Farm? And so on and so forth. Go to the usenet binary groups some time to get an idea of how broad a field human sexuality is.
  • by tukkayoot (528280) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:06AM (#15783754) Homepage
    I agree, everything that is annoying or offensive should be illegal.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:14AM (#15783821) Journal
    What about using a meta tag like bush , and implying a fetish for pubic hair on an adult site?
  • Re:META (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HiddenL (967659) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:17AM (#15783847)
    While using relevant and accurate META tags are good for everyone, should using inaccurate ones be illegal? Is it the job of congress to regulate how websites describe themselves?

    If I wrote a classified ad of myself saying I was a 150 lb white guy when I was really a 500 lb black guy, should that be punishable by 10 years in prison?
  • Re:Sex != Harmful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Quintios (594318) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:27AM (#15783929) Journal
    It's not so much that, I think. As an admitted over-protective puritanical bible-thumping parent (which may have nothing to do with my subsequent statements) I want my kids to stay kids as long as they can. I would like them to be able to remain innocent and happy and free of cares until such time as they're ready to learn what this world is like. They are young yet (5 and 2) and I don't know at what age is appropriate to learn about pr0n and so forth, although I'm sure they'll get quite an education on the school bus anyway.

    I agree with a previous poster that kids are not the target audience and in my opinion it's a stupid bill.

    Up until a certain age I don't believe kids are capable of handling the emotions and desires that come with a knowledge of this subject. I can't pick an absolute number (for age) as every child is different. I'm sure my kids' natural curiousity will lead them to start asking questions. Then I might know better.

    Either way, I would hope that these websites wouldn't consciously use children's search keywords to draw traffic to their site. I find sometimes that these sites will use what seems to be the entire dictionary to get people to click on their stuff, however.
  • by lar3ry (10905) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:30AM (#15783951)
    Well, how about "sexual congress," a legitimate description of a sexual act? (As Allan Sherman once said about such phrases, "nine months after a couple engages in 'sexual union,' does the woman go into 'organized labor?'")

    All kidding aside, how about legimate uses for such words in sexual sites. I remember a pair of models called the Barbie Twins about 5-10 years ago. Would webmasters not be allowed to use that just because Barbie is a toy? How about a Chippendales dancer in rip-off fatigues who markets himself as G.I. Joe?

    I think if a web site uses LEGITIMATE keywords, including those of toy names, AND uses the voluntary web filtering keywords, they have a case that they are giving the people the ability to screen.

    A more basic problem, one I think they were trying to solve, is the problem of misleading keywords. Why should I get a useless link farm page with ad banners when I am doing research on something completely unrelated just because the person that put up the page wants more banner downloads?

    Of course, if you outlaw misleading keywords, people will work around the rules to achieve the same end goals.

    The only thing this legislation does is give politicians a way of saying "Look! I'm being proactive about this!" (when they are being stupidly reactive in truth... isn't that misleading as well? Can we outlaw misleading political statements???)
  • by DesertWolf0132 (718296) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:35AM (#15784001) Homepage

    I don't know what slays me more, that the same dimwits who think the internet is made of tubes are legislating meta tags, or that these morons believe there are a bunch of deviants on the web trying to give porn to children. These idiots wouldn't know a meta tag if one bit them in the ass.

    Porn didn't become a multi-billion dollar industry by marketing to people without the means to pay for it. This legislation "for the children" is nothing more than trying to stave off the ultra right wing fundamentalist wackos that aren't bright enough to realize their kids won't be protected by this at all. These are the same nutjobs who protest at movies they could totally prevent their kids from watching just by being good parents. If you don't want your kid watching porn buy a porn filter. Otherwise your kid will find porn. Christian fundamentalists have huge sexual hang-ups and make things like porn so taboo how could kids not be drawn to it? Tell a kid not to look at something fervently enough and eventually he will look just to see what the fuss is about.

    I guess it is better they pass a bill that essentially does nothing instead of completely pandering to whack job hatemongers like Pat Robertson. Imagine if someone like him were in power. Anyone not in church on Sunday would be labeled a perverted homosexual Baby Jesus hater and put on the NSA watch list.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:41AM (#15784041)
    Who uses the meta-tags? I know that I don't when I surf.
  • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:42AM (#15784052)

    National sovereignty. How quaint.

    National sovereignty is no match of the power of the globalized economy. And national governments of a lot of countries have already proved that they pass whatever legislation the US asks of them.

    It would take the revival of nationalism to restore nation-states to their proper place as an instrument capable and willing of protecting their citizens from the predations of global corporations and foreign governments. But unfortunately nationalism lead to militariaism the last time, so now everyone is too scared to try it again.

    And perhaps they are right to fear it, but all I know is that the US government passes bad laws that affect me without me being able to do anything about them, thanks to the spineless cretins who hold power here and use it to ensure they get a good retirement, even if no one else will...

    So no, national sovereignty doesn't mean anything nowadays. There are no sovereign nations, just different markets.

  • by Rinzai (694786) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:42AM (#15784056) Journal
    Perhaps you weren't paying attention. The idea is that children who have reached a level of web proficiency that allows them to type "Barbie" or "Furby" into Google or Yahoo! Search still won't be sophisticated enough to tell which websites in the resulting link list will be toy stores, collector sites, as opposed to porn sites trying to glom the unwary.

    I realize it's a subtle point, but perhaps you aren't a parent. I'm the parent of a high-functioning autistic nine-year-old child, and as much as I want to be in the room all the time when he's using the computer, sometimes I just have to leave for biological reasons. Apparently innocent links on Google Video or YouTube can lead to pages with links that aren't so innocent, and I've already had to intervene multiple times when I'm there with him. (Not for porn. Mostly for "stupid people doing stupid things and ending up injured" kinds of videos. He doesn't need to see idiot skateboarders losing teeth or breaking jawbones, either.)

    Purveyors of adult material who deliberately attempt to attract underage traffic are contemptible and deserve whatever force we can bring to bear against them. This measure isn't designed to stop adults, and any of the responders to this particular thread who pound on that point are missing the gist of the thesis.

    To answer the direct question: yes, it does happen all that much--a lot more than you think. (Except, apparently, you didn't think.)

  • by KarmaMB84 (743001) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:46AM (#15784092)
    Virus installations, ad impressions etc.
  • Re:Stupid idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mstahl (701501) <marrrrrk@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @09:58AM (#15784228) Homepage Journal
    Again, it used 'think of the children' to role in crappy, unenforceable laws which steal away people freedom, and solve a non-existent problem.

    I absolutely agree. If Congress wants to 'fess up and consider this bill to be merely a means of delivering porkbarrel riders, fine. I could almost respect that a whole lot more. The very idea that this bill would somehow be enforceable is laughable. It is both irrationally draconian and, even for the US, way too equivocal to enforce responsibly. Call me old-fashioned, but it seems to me you should be able to prove something beyond a shadow of a doubt if you're going to lock someone away for 20 years for it.

    The only, and obvious, solution to the minor problem of children accessing inappropriate content is for parents to be responsible in how their children can access the net.

    This is one of those things that I keep coming back to with America. I find it absurd that you could have fiscal conservatives (read: traditional Republicans) who vehemently oppose any form of government regulation of business, yet somehow find it necessary for our justice system to waste its time deciding whether a website featuring photos of Lana Barbie violated this law or not.

    There are two things here that really do speak of the bizarre socially conservative nature of the US. One is that, as I think a couple of comments down someone mentioned, there is still this puritanical mentality that sex is somehow dirty or unnatural. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth. We do need to protect children from sexual predators and paedophiles, but protecting them from sex itself just means that we have a generation of children out there that genuinely think you can't contract a sexually transmitted disease through oral sex. Children are coming of age with none of the vital information they need to be safe because of this.

    The other thing that is happening here, and this is one of my primary complaints about how the US government "handles" the Internet, is that parents expect the Government to manage their children for them. Parents now know less than ever about what their children are up to because their children are conducting more and more of their socialization online. What people in Congress have continually failed to understand is that making the Internet safer for children means drastically restricting free speech protections for everybody else. The solution is not to make the Internet safer, it's for parents to take on a more proactive role in guiding their children's online experience.

  • by edmicman (830206) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @10:30AM (#15784493) Homepage Journal
    How many adult sites actively hope children view their pages? Really, I think the pron industry is there to make money, and kids don't have it. "Mom and Dad, can I have $$ to subscribe to this adult site?". No, it's the adults who have disposable income to actually spend on that content. Why would they want to attract kids to their sites - what would it gain them?
  • by tumbleweedsi (904869) <simon,painter&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @10:41AM (#15784608) Homepage
    I recently became the legal guardian of my 11 year old half brother. This has meant that I had to put my money where my mouth is on certain issues.

    I agree that it sucks that a small child can search for a site innocently and end up at a hardcore porn site. I don't however think that the legal attack vector will work or that putting in place Net Nanny style software is the answer.

    The answer is simple, it's to be a good parent. That involves a combination of education (a cyber version of the "do not talk to strangers" conversation) and supervision (I monitor what sites my brother visits, not some software).

    I used to preach about poor parenting being the root of all evil and since I became a parent my opinions have not changed... the people who complain about their children being vulnerable online are only blaming technology for their own bad parenting and there is no danger in the cyber world which has not been around for ages in the real world and the same steps to keep your kids safe apply in both worlds.

    I would not let my brother have unsupervised access to the internet at age 11 any more than I would leave him alone in Soho after dark.
  • Sex or Society? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jefu (53450) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @10:53AM (#15784708) Homepage Journal

    I've seen published claims that exposing children to sex (and things related to sex - at least in some minds -- porn, nudity in the home, seeing their parents have sex, hearing people talk about sex, reading about sex...) is invariably harmful. I always wonder about such claims - is the research funded by people with an agenda? is the research specific to the US where it may not be the sexual exposure itself that is harmful, but rather the response of society to children who know things that the puritans don't want them to know.

    Just how perverted and sex obsessed the US and thus how seriously sex information in the hands of children is taken, can be deduced from all the instances of families being harrassed for having pictures of their kids nude in the bath, or skinnydipping. Or the fact that going to a nude beach, or even appearing in public with an erection can (potentially) lead to a man (but rarely a woman) being stigmatized for life by being convicted as a "sex offender".

    Personally, I think that making sex and the human body (all parts of it) more accepted and acceptable would help to alleviate many problems in American society.

  • by kabocox (199019) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @11:18AM (#15784900)
    "Daddy, will you buy me a membership to this website! It's only $2.99 for three days!"

    Valacosa to congress: children are not the "target audience" for pornography!


    This has got to be the funniest thing that I've read today. If my boy was really interested in it, then he should be able to find my storage directory that has gigs of that type of data. My son shouldn't have to search the internet for what is already on the local computer!

  • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <[justin.wick] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @01:32PM (#15785930)
    I still don't understand how using the analogy of "tubes" is any different than the analogy of "pipes" which has been used for 40 years to describe abstract data streams from one point to another. The senator didn't know what he was talking about, but it is true that there are FIFO queues involved in the routing process, and that net congestion (especially that caused by spam) can be a serious issue, for some folks at least. The guy may be a crotchedy old moron, but what the hell is wrong with saying "tubes"?
  • by scheming daemons (101928) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @01:44PM (#15786028)
    Sex should be a beautiful expression of love between a committed man and woman.

    There is so much to disagree with in that particular comment.. where to begin?

    A. You have no business telling anyone what sex "should" be. Who made you the grand poobah? And don't you dare quote the bible to me... it isn't a book of laws for this country yet (despite the efforts of the Christian Taliban).

    B. Sex doesn't have to include love, and love doesn't have to include sex. They often work in conjunction, but neither depends on the other. I've had great sex with someone I love, and great sex with someone I like, and even some awesome sex with someone I didn't care for very much at all.

    C. Sex doesn't have to be between a man and a woman, as I'm sure you are aware. You have no business telling two women or men that their sex life is outside the bounds of what "should" occur. Your morality is just that... yours. Keep it to yourself.

  • by cr0sh (43134) on Wednesday July 26, 2006 @02:07PM (#15786180) Homepage
    Take a look at advertisements and promotions in the US.


    Regardless of the product being sold (shaving cream, butter, cars, liquor, beer, computers, clothing, soft drinks, food, etc), the advertisement will almost invariably have a sexual element to it. Why? Because sex sells products. The advertisers know this, we know this - because it works (unless you're a bastard like me who simply buys whatever is cheapest or works best, regardless of adverts). The actors and actresses involved in making those advertisements are typically young and sexy. Even if they aren't young, they tend to be sexy and good looking.

    Ultimately it comes down to "buy our product and you will be sexy and/or get this guy/girl".

    But woe be it to those who actually try to act on the feelings these advertisements tease (litterally) out of us. Sure, that girl may be sexy, but if you dare look for too long at a girl on the street who IS sexy, you are a pervert. If you are female and do the same, you a slut or whore. If you discuss sex, want sex, get sex, do sex, act sexy, are sexy - you are labeled "bad" - but buy our products anyhow, please?

    Sex=Bad, Sex=Product=Good, cognitive dissonance reigns supreme...

    All of this is shown to our children, and they make the connections, and see the illogic of it, and those who have children can't explain it to their kids because they would have to explain sex, and Sex=Bad, remember? These commercials and advertisements, that our children can see and understand (magazine covers, radio ads, department store flyers, commercials on TV, even shows targetting children it sometimes seems, because parents inevitably watch them, too) - they all have a sexual element to them, to sell the product.

    The adverts say "sex is good, consume our products, sex is good", while society and parents scream about "SEX IS BAAAAD - THINK ABOUT THE CHIIIIIILLLLLLDDDDDRRRRRREEEENNNN!!!!"

    Meanwhile pornography in the US is one of the growth industries during a recession (like it has never been a growth industry, no pun intended). But remember - Sex=Bad, but Sex=Product=Good (hmm, maybe this is why porn is consumed here in the US, because it is the ultimate expression of Sex as a Product?)...

    Our children see all of this, take all of this in, and we punish them for exhibiting any sexual urges, though it is undeniable that they are or ultimately will become sexual beings. The cognitive dissonance, the view of the hypocrisy, without the understanding of its existence (not to mention the why or how of it - I understand its existence, but I can't even honestly answer the why or how, and any answer I could give probably isn't half the story) - is it any wonder our children are confused?

    Is it any wonder the adults are, too...? Pass the soma, please...

"Love your country but never trust its government." -- from a hand-painted road sign in central Pennsylvania

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