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Internet Decency Commission Is Broke 122

Repton writes, "Another one from CNET's News.com: A commission set up by the government to look into ways to keep youngsters from Internet smut has realized that they have no funding. This is a sad state of affairs, but somehow I don't feel too much sympathy." Perhaps people "charged with evaluating high-tech tools and other methods to keep online pornography away from children," but on a beer budget, should enjoy a few hours reading through the Censorware Project's Web site. At a library in Utah, say.
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Internet Decency Commission Is Broke

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The commision could do any of three things...

    1) Reply to one of those "Make Money Fast" emails we all get.
    2) File for an IPO.
    3) Start a pr0n site.

    That should get 'em going.

    -AC, you know who I am dammit.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    In real life, people are trying to legislate, sue or pay others to raise their children. Every plastic bag imprinted with "This is Not a Toy" is testament, as is every lawsuit suing heavy metal bands for responsibility for teen suicides.

    And how many kids have you raised, buddy? Everybody's an expert until they actually try it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Because I know if my kids were using my cc. It is the ease of access that is the issue. I received 4 unsolicited prono spam e-mail advertisments this week one advertising "squash" fetish sites where small animals are stepped on by women wearing high heels. If folks started receiving this type of junk mail advertisements with seductive pictures and text via snail mail there would be alot of justified concern. There are some things I have a _right_ not to have shoved into my face.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    People are stumbling all over each other trying to censor this and that. When all is said and prevented from being said, what's left?
    Technical nirvana? Electronic panacea? *chuckle*, not hardly. Just a bunch of commercial noise.
    I don't even know why kids need to be accessing the net anyway. Perhaps there was a time when such a thing could have been an enriching experience but that time has passed. Hearing people complain about there being porn on the net is akin to people complaining about finding dirty magazines while scavengin the landfill. It's damn funny.
    Sure there are excellent sites on the net. I know they're out there. But they've also been outnumbered to the point of statistical insignificance.
    What's my point? Well, lets see. Sure I'm a
    bit jaded and pissed off. But there is more to this than a rant. I'm here to make a proposal.

    It's time to abandon ship. Yep. It's over,
    this incarnation of the WWW. It failed and did
    so miserably. The very foundations, the DNS
    system have succumbed to various colors of corruption and our marketing buddies have turned
    our leisurely information tool into something
    that follows us and carefully archives our every move. Search engines? Ha! Weighted and useless.
    Where does this leave us with the WWW today?
    Functional to some extent but I guess the same
    could be said of television as well.
    I propose we set up a *private* network
    of non-profit servers. There will be no advertising, there will be no commercial involvement. Anyone ever hear of the galactic library? I think it would be damn nice to have
    something similar to that. Proliferation of knowledge, the important stuff. Not this pseudo-intellectual superhighway stuff. I mean
    solid information.

    You see, we don't need the assistance of the government or some corporation to make this happen because we have everything we need already. *We don't need them*. One nice thing about the net, if you want to drop into another universe, you can just create one on another port....Think about it.


  • You know what kills me the most?

    The STATS that you have just shown !

    From www.adherents.com:

    1.Christianity: 2 billion
    2.Islam: 1.2 billion
    3.Hinduism: 900 million
    4.Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist:
    900 million
    5.Buddhism: 350 million
    6.Chinese traditional religion: 225
    million
    7.primal-indigenous: 190 million
    8.Yoruba religion: 20 million
    9.Juche: 19 million
    10.Sikhism: 18 million
    11.Judaism: 15 million
    12.Spiritism: 14 million
    13.Babi & Baha'i faiths: 6 million
    14.Jainism: 4 million
    15.Shinto: 4 million
    16.Cao Dai: 3 million
    17.Tenrikyo: 2.4 million
    18.Neo-Paganism: 1 million
    19.Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
    20.Scientology: 750 thousand
    21.Rastafarianism: 700 thousand
    22.Zoroastrianism: 150 thousand

    From the 80's onwards, people have been telling me that there was a "official statistic" that "clearly" showed that Christianity was the biggest religion of all.

    So I looked for where they got that satistics, and I asked many questions.

    Almost EVERYTIME I asked, and almost everytime I looked into the matter, it all points to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and I went to the library to check, "Walla !" there was the stat in there.

    And I did asked the people who published the Encyclopedia Britannica where they obtain their statistics from, they couldn't give me a definite answer !

    Yes, I did asked !

    And yes, after more than 15 years, the Encyclopedia Britannica people still can't tell me where they obtain those figures from !

    It seems like someone from the Encyclopedia Britannica DREAMT OF THE FIGURE and put them out in such a way that they have since became THE STATISTIC everybody and their cousin are refering to.

    Let me say it again, the stat that you have just shown us is TOTALLY BASELESS.

    I am not saying that there aren't many Christians.

    I am not desputing that there _MAY BE_ a possibility that Christianity _is_ the BIGGEST religion of all.

    But still, the stats that EVERYBODY HAS BEEN RELYING ON is a BASELESS STATISTICS, and nobody can come out with the VALID PROOF that the stats is based on an ACTUAL COUNTING based on VALID SCIENTIFIC METHOD !



  • You asked:

    "How did you get only four million in Shintoism? It's by far the main religion of Japan, and I know Japan has many more than four million people. Also, China, which has about a billion people, is mainly Buddhist, isn't it? 350 million Buddhists just doesn't add up, especially with all the converts around the world. And aside from that, with these figures Christianity dominates over other religions, but not all combined. Two billion is not fifty percent of six billion."

    Well... let me tell you this - the stats is a FAKE !

    I have been looking, searching, and re-searching for the SOURCE of _that_ statistics everybody is referring to, and EVERYTIME it comes down to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

    It all originated from the Encyclopedia Britannica, someone working for the Encyclopedia Britannica put up a stats which showed that Christianity is the biggest religion of the world - in term of followers - and yet, the people of Encyclopedia Britannica can NOT tell me where they obtain those figures from.

    Why?

    Because, those figures are FAKE ! That's why.

    Someone just script out some figures from thin air, and put it into the Encyclopedia Britannica, and then EVERYBODY ELSE AND THEIR BROTHER IN-LAW quote that stats as though it is the HOLY GRAIL.

    Geeesh !

  • Slashdot / Andover / VA Linux could benefit projects like this and Mozilla.org so much....

    but they dont.
  • This is a joke, isn't it? Sorry, but I feel that in this case a smiley was really needed.
  • Just to pick nits,
    I believe that you are conflating the Puritans with the Victorians. It was the Victorians who made sex into something taboo. To the Puritans (well, the Pilgrims anyway) sex was something a bit dangerous, that needed to be kept under control, but was also something necessary and praiseworthy, when operating within properly approved of limits. (But see "The Whore on the Snowcrust" for a (slightly) contradictory opinion.)
    Please. The Pilgrims have enough real misdeeds to their "credit". No need to blame them for things that they didn't earn.
  • Puritans? Champions of religious freedom? You mean the folk who drove out the Unitarians? They championed their own religious freedom. Not those of anyone else.
    As for the "Puritan culture of repression" that could use some specification. So here is how I understand it.

    The Puritans believed that only some small fractions (The Elite) would be saved from hell. They believed that most folk came into the world already damned, and there was nothing that they could do about it. OTOH, those who came into the world with God's favor shining on them ... well, there was uncertainty as to whether or not they could loose it. From a strict Predestinationist stance, they couldn't, but it felt dangerous, so best to play it safe.

    Now the sign of God's favor on you was success in the world, so whatever you did that increased your success (i.e., prosperity), must be favored by God, because the sign of God's favor was success.

    The converse relationship was also assumed. The unsuccessfull were already condemned by God, so you really didn't need to feel any pity for them. You could if you wanted to, and dared to risk the wrath of God, but you had no obligation to. This justified slavery, indentured servitude, and many other things that appear vile to us.

    This was the essence of the "repressive Puritan culture" as I understand it. (See "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" for a particularly vivid statement of the relationship between the worshiper and the deity.)

    The hanging/burning of witches was not more common in New England than in England, and less common there than in either Scotland or France (much less Germany), so I don't feel that the Puritans really deserve to be blamed too harshly. I don't find them nice people, but there weren't very many people that I would consider nice at that time period. The Friends come the closest (and they are actually a bit later). Of course there were many small, usually rich, groups that had espoused moralities that I find reasonable. But they didn't notice that they refused to extend the espoused morality into their relations with their servants.

    I think that in general no modern person of reasonable morality will end up approving of the morality that was common in the pre-mechanical age. Before machines started taking over the labor, the folk on top always coerced the folk on the bottom into performing unpleasant labor. This is still somewhat true, but much less so than it was.
  • Correction... Real christans make up the majority.
    They are not offended by people who think for themselfs.
    They are not offended by the actions of others.
    They are however offended by your notion that anything your doing even comes CLOSE to being christan...

    Mind you I'm realising I'm stupid... your not even a fake christan... your a troll... ohh crud... ok you got me on this one...
  • What your saying isn't that the stats were accually made up or that they are fake.
    But simply that none of the people who should know where they came from know..
    It is unlikely that an Encyclopedia as well known as Britannica would make up such a figure.
    On the other hand... it isn't imposable...
    This is a question to push... where in hack did this stat come from...

    The point/moral remains... accept no statistic blindly... ever... piriod...
    Even if it is from the Encyclopedia Britannica...
    No one is perfict and Statistics are bound to be flawed.
  • One could equally ask at what point certain genres of photographs stopped being "harmful to minors".
    It all goes back to first principles. Those who believe that sex outside of a marital context is wrong will define material which teaches children otherwise as ipso facto harmful.


    Oh? But what about those who believe that sex inside a marital context is wrong, who in point of fact believe that marriage itself is wrong?

    Everyone's beliefs are their own. They should not be able to impose them on others.


    ---
  • But of course, this is exactly how society functions - by imposing an agreed-upon set of rules of conduct on its members. Take away the rules and you have anarchy.

    Well, I'm all for anarchy, but that's neither here nor there...

    Funny how it only becomes "imposing their beliefs" when we don't agree with it. One never hears any objections to imposing our belief in, say, the wrongness of rape on other members of society.

    Of course. If you agreed with it, they're not "imposing" anything. You'd folow that belief anyway, because it's your own, so what do you care?

    One point is that those people clamoring for censorship are a MINORITY. A loud, annoying, vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless. Polls won't tell the story properly, because the majority of the polls done on the subject are biased in the questions. "Do you believe children should look at sick, gay, animalistic, heathen porn, or do you think there should be filtering software in place to protect the children from evil sick twisted sh*t like this?"

    Ok, admittedly, that's a bit obvious, but it brings the point across. Most polls I've seen on the subject use questions no better than that.

    The majority of the human race is non-christian. The fundies, deep down, believe that only x-tian beliefs matter, and then proceed to impose those beliefs on the "heathen few" that disagree. They can't live and let live. They insist on regulating that which should not be regulated. There's some areas (most areas in fact) that the law should not cross into, and ethics and morality are one of them. Rape is not an issue of ethics or morality. Rape is an issue of hurting another person. It's deemed incorrect by society to hurt another person against their will, so punishment insues. We do not jail rapist because their sense of morals are skewed. We jail them because they are a physical danger to other members of society.


    ---
  • Okay. Fine. From dictionary.com (which is not very good, I admit, but hey):

    impose v. tr.
    1. To establish or apply as compulsory; levy: impose a tax.
    2. To apply or make prevail by or as if by authority: impose a peace settlement.
    3. To obtrude or force (oneself, for example) on another or others.
    4. Printing. To arrange (type or plates) on an imposing stone.
    5. To offer or circulate fraudulently; pass off: imposed a fraud on consumers.
    Okay. The difference is in the definitions #1 and #3. From #1, all laws are imposed. From #3, any law you disagree with is an imposition. So it's semantics here. Therefore, we're both right. 'Nuff said. :-)

    > Rape is not an issue of ethics or morality.
    Maybe we need to explore our definitions of "morality". In my book it most definitely is a moral issue -- as are things like theft, murder, and kicking the neighbor's dog. It is precisely that -- harm to others -- which makes them wrong.

    Okay, it IS an issue of morality. But my point was that the morality of it has nothing to do with WHY it's illegal.

    Rape is illegal not because it's wrong, but because the person (rapist) is a danger to society (and/or members of that society). Therefore society must protect itself from that person, and lock 'em up.

    Along those same lines, there are things that are morally okay that are still illegal, because they hurt society as a whole. I can't think of an example offhand. I have brain problems at the moment, in that I had to sit through company meetings today. :-)

    Ooh, while looking at the preview, I thought of one. Prostitution. Not a very good example, but hey...

    Everything is wrong, to someone. But only those things that hurt society (and/or members of such) should be illegal.


    ---

  • who gets to be the lucky department that gets to administer this? the collective drivers license departments of each state? who gets to pay for such administrative burden? a pr0n tax... thats all we need... ;P


  • Why do we insist on attempting to regulate morality? If parents are worried about their kids viewing internet porn then they need to stop blaming the media/tv/internet and teach their kids about sex and drugs etc. You can intruduce regulation that makes it harder for people to provide content, but that doesn't replace the need for parents to raise their children.

  • Uh, these people went broke beacuse no one ever gave them any money. Its not hard to reach 0$ when you start there...
  • the first few words:

    "WASHINGTON--At its first and only meeting so far..."

    Well Shoot, I should hope so! None of them people meeting before their first meeting!!
  • Maybe they meant to say, "First and last meeting...." since they don't have any money.
  • Maybe I should have defined what I meant better.

    I didn't mean blocking out as in "denying them the right to act upon something" such as consuming alcohol, having sexual intercourse, or stealing, etc. I meant denying them knowledge of it and what it does. I really think that having your parents speak to you about things is a lot better than learning it from the street.

    I guess a good example of what i'm trying to say is this: I think a child with a parent who explained to them what sex is, the consequences, the potential health problems it can cause, and ways to prevent pregnancy and STDs would probably be better off than a child with parents who do nothing but preach abstinence and "sex is bad, mmkay?". We all have our opinions and mine is probably as biased as the next, but almost everyone I know that have parents who tried to inform and explain things to them at the appropriate times have turned out far better off than the ones who got to learn it from the world because their parents refused to acknowledge informing them about it. There are always the exceptions of course.
  • Yeah AC, and everyone responds to that comment with this chestnut. Are you saying you are unable to raise your own kids? Just because some people can't doesn't mean that no one else can, or that anyone else wants to raise somebody elses kids.
    If you have a tree that grows into someone elses yard, you are responsible for cutting it back, if your dog bites someone, you're responsible for the med bills, if you 1rst grader shoots someone in the neck, you are responsible.
    I have yet to see a shitty kid that didn't have either biological problems, neglect problems, abuse problems, or some other form of parental incompetance.
  • No Dude, you're totaly right. Heaven forbid a parent might have to raise their kid(s) on his/her/their own. If these people had taught their kids right from the beginning, i wouldn't have to cringe everytime i watch Ghostbusters on Cable, or click the "enter" button on those p0rn sites ;-) Mommy and Daddy should have to watch over their kids. I gotta watch my puppy, otherwise he'll piss all over the floor or eat the packing peanuts or harass the cat. I say, watch your own damn kids so that my Gov't can spend my money on something worthwhile. mrBoB
  • >Hear, hear! We need to do away with all >morality-based laws. Meth? Crank? Horse?
    >Barbies? Crack? Ludes?
    >Well, personally I'm against 'em, but who am I to
    >judge? Inner city youths need to make a living,
    >too.

    Inner city youths make a much better living off drugs now than they would if the drugs were made legal. So do the hundreds of thousands of police officers and prison guards who make a living off the War on Drugs (that, by the way, you lost before it started).

    America has passed a milestone recently. You now imprison more people than any other "free" civilization has in all of history. Congratulations. Your morality war is really working out well for you. Keep up the good work.

    Maybe you should start handing out 15 year sentences for looking at porn, too, like you do for smoking a little weed. After all, it hurts as many people (ie. none), and annoys pretty much the same people. And a ban on it would be about as effective.

    >Rape? Incest? Kiddie porn? Spouse abuse?
    >Horrible! Or, well, at least I think so. But I
    >wouldn't want to be mistaken for a religious
    >zealot.

    Those aren't illegal because they are immoral. They are illegal because they actually hurt other people. Even a dimwit like you should be able to grasp the difference.

  • So are they only financially broke or are they morally bankrupt as well??
  • Hi,
    I really apologize for the tone in this letter but I have to ask where you're coming from?

    Please answer this: What in hell makes you think it's easy? I really don't understand how you can assume that.

    It is perfectly possible to develop a filter list that will filter the really egregious cases without filtering political speech and the like.

    Go for it, chief. When you can't read the weather because winter was hard on cars don't come crying to us. Sorry, dude. No censorship. No way. I was born in that fucking bullshit. No hell in way. Read my lips: An entire society in beautiful doubletalking doublethinking self-destructive suspended animation.

    Its just not possible to do it in a commercial context.

    What does that mean?

    the stubborn refusal of the technical...

    Whatever. (Now was that stubborn refusal or do I have a point?)

    If effort is not made to make it easier for parents to filter genuinely offensive content, then the current bunch of
    censorware will go into wide use


    In my experience, no one should ever make compromises against their conscience. When I say conscience I mean not guilt nor some learned morality, but having the wisdom to see the cliff you're jumping from. Such compromises only make people numb, apathetic, cold, and terribly bitter. Sickening. Fear of such compromises make people into flamers, but not quite as bad as the fool who continually let's things slip.

    I approve of the 2nd Amendment. Do I think there should untrained shooters playing gang lords? No. I think people should protect their ideas or rather themselves, from oligarchs? (Ayn Rand agrees also contrary to most people's beliefs.) Should they do it with broken patent laws? Hell no. Guess what? Supporting a broken ideology is no better than allowing a broken tool to go to market. I view choosing between one or the other as a distraction from spending my time on productive efforts such as teaching people about technology and the importance of this modern day printing press.

    Incidentally... ZDNet (yes, I used to go there) did a poll after Columbine and found 55% of parents would let their kids play games. Where do they get 75% from?

    Rares

    PS: I generally tend to come out flamethrowers blasting on issues like this. Part choice, part habit. There's worse things in the world right now than a short fuse. granted it's a short fuse that's tied to a stick of dynamite ages old.
  • Do you really think young teenagers get pregnant because of porn on the net and magazines? As much as we'd like to blame things we don't like, it still doesn't justify it. It's not like a teenager gets pregnant from wanking in the toilet, or in front of the computer. Teenagers have gotten pregnant for ages, and it's increasing because sex is now being tolerated before marriage. With higher toleration of drugs and booze, it's a lethal combination. Especially when kids think they don't have to use protection (surely a "brilliant" idea from comrades who says it's better that way).

    Before, kids were forced to get married before anyone noticed, or they went to a "clinic", possibly getting scarred for life. So going back is definately not an option, or possible. About drugs and booze, they're too much used now, but it's more like a symptom adding to the problem, than the real problem itself. I don't know about alcoholism, and maybe it's genetical, but people getting problems with drugs or booze usually have bigger problems lurking under the surface, in combination with making some bad decisions.

    We have more freedom now, especially social acceptable freedoms. I think it would have boggled our minds to talk to someone who lived (and died) 100 years ago, and vica versa. But this newly-won freedom also gives us more responsibility in our own lives. Our current problems is the price we pay for getting rid of old rules and dogmas so fast.

    You said:
    "Sex sites demean women and men in them, they teach that sex is something you can purchase or engage in with out relationships or consequences."

    This is such a standard-phrase I just have to attack it. I believe you cut everything over one comb here. Surely it depends on how the pictures were taken, if the persons involved consented, in fact, love to do it! We're all different, and if there were such thing as "pornism" (aka racism), I think that's very much present in todays society.

    So how this would "demean" those pictured on the site I don't know. Maybe it's you who feel demeaned? Do you seriously believe that illegalizing and banning activities, you are helping those individuals? There are laws against murdering, yet still people get shot every day in the US. You can't make a rule for everything to fix it, what you can do is make people aware of how they live, without judgement. It's impossible to forcibly rescue other people, but you can help them realize how to help themselves. Sometimes using strong methods can help, sometimes it makes matters even worse. Most important is to help yourself, or else you risk doing more damage than good.

    About sex having implications and consequences, that also depends on how you do it. I don't think a pornsite is designed to teach kids about ethics, they should get that from somewhere else. Surely educated people who view pornsites doesn't suddenly think condoms are all rubbish. Well it's time to educate those kids, and stop being afraid.

    Fact is, there are people all around the world that like to have promiscuous sex. Even with multiple partners at the same time, without necessarily involving too much long-term relationships in it. That may mean there are different feelings involved than in a long-term relationships, but they're still feelings that need to be acted out.

    Now it's not up to you or me to judge what relationships are most healthy. But many monogoman long-term relationships are not as beneficial as we may believe. Not only counting abusive relationships, but also relationships where the partner is too much emotionally dependent on the other, and countless other types. They're not something to illegalize, they're something to make people aware of! Hopefully without putting them down or judging them, so that we can feel better about ourself for a little time.

    In the end, we don't have relationships with others as a goal in itself. It's more like something we can learn and grow on, preferrably but not always, while having fun! A perfect relationship is not one that lasts forever, but one that ends so that we can continue with our next, or be alone if we need that. A relationship doesn't have to involve strong feelings or sex, you can have more than one relationship at the same time, even sexual ones.

    - Steeltoe

    What do you do today to limit yourself?
  • While Slashdot headlines and articles are often less than grammatically perfect, I see nothing wrong with this one. "Broke" is a perfectly acceptable English adjective. It's somewhat informal - at least according to dictionary.com [dictionary.com] and the dictionaries on my bookshelf, but it's hardly "street-talk".
    What I do find questionable, however, is the use of two consecutive question marks. Can your question really be so important that one won't cover it?
  • Well, there's so much smut on the internet anyways, it's like real life, if you look hard enough you can find plenty, people just don't advertise as much because you can do it anonymously on the internet. It's no wonder they went broke, you can't censor people's sexual urges and whatnot.
  • With all the censorship that's going on (attempted anyways) it's a wonder why lots of politicians aren't saying that the internet is out of hand and should be regulated totally...oh wait, the big comapanies that make it a frontier are putting money in their pockets. If those damn companies weren't so concerned with making money, there would be no market for smut on the internet, and it would be a lot cleaner of a place, if you want porn, you can go buy a playboy.
  • No one wants to hear about people's addictions to smut, if they want a story about that, they go see 8mm and then feel very disturbed about it. Censorship of porno in the US has been an uphill battle and one that i don't think will ever be won, because there's always going to be that open-minded person who will argue a valid point, and they're going to be up against someone who grew up learning that porn is bad, or they were molested by some sicko that was one of the porno addicts, so it's just a viscious cycle and we need to invest more money in important stuff, like getting the sickos psyciatric help.
  • At what point did photographs become harmful to minors?

    One could equally ask at what point certain genres of photographs stopped being "harmful to minors".

    It all goes back to first principles. Those who believe that sex outside of a marital context is wrong will define material which teaches children otherwise as ipso facto harmful.

  • Just asking...

    This kind of mentality will prevent the formation of a sane society, one that is not afraid of sex and the human body

    Or, one might argue a "sane" society is one in which people respected sex and understood its role, responsibilities and consequences, making modern society rather more delirious than sane.

    First principles.

    Lee Kai Wen
    Two years of posting and still 89.5% Slashdot pure.

  • But why block kids from porn sites or racist sites?

    My reply was to the comment that "blocking things totally out" of a child's life can cause "irreversible harm". Whether pornography and racism falls into this category is up to the individual parent or society, and falls outside the scope of my argument.

    Lee Kai Wen

  • I grew up with porn available to me if I wanted it, and I think I turned out fine

    We used to have a saying in Botswana: "The gorilla cannot see the ugliness of his own eyes." We are all the worst judges of our own failures and shortcomings.

    Do a survey of peoples' attitudes toward their own sense of ethics, and I can tell you what you'll find: 95% will tell you that their own beliefs are fine -- the problem is the other guy.

    And that's a conservative estimate.

    Lee Kai Wen

  • I fail to see how respecting sex and understanding its role would make modern society "more delirious than sane".

    What I said, of course, was precisely the opposite: that one might argue that modern society in its failure to respect sex was more delirious than sane. Re-read my post.

    The reason censorious societies are so obsessed with sex is because it's forbidden

    I'm not convinced this is true. Many things are forbidden; that doesn't ipso facto turn them into obsessions. Why do we assume it is true of sex?

    Conversely, many people seem to obsess over things that aren't forbidden. Alcohol, cars, sports, money, status -- all these can be objects of obsession.

    So I don't see any obvious connection between forbidding and obsessing.

    treated as simply something natural.

    Define 'natural' please. Even the Seven Deadlies (greed, pride, sloth, avarice, etc.) could be said to be 'natural' -- if what you mean is 'part of human nature'. In that case, I seriously doubt anyone considers sex 'unnatural'.

    Unfortunately, two fundamentally broken philosophies still exist in our society

    All you have done is re-state the original poster's claims without substance. 'My views are right. It's the other guy's views that are broken.'

    I'm pretty sure, however, that, beyond their usefulness as epithets, you have little understanding of either puritanism or gnosticism.

    Puritans (whom Americans used to call 'pilgrims' and praise as the founders of their country) seem to nowadays be more reviled as the purveyors of a system of sexual ethics which nobody much likes, even while few seem to understand what Puritan sexual ethics really were. If I were a Puritan (I'm not), I would probably be as offended as if I were a Jew constantly having to defend against caracatures of myself as a conniving, money-grabbing cheat.

    'Gnosticism'. Did you have in mind Hermetic, Mandean, or Mannichaen? Classical or modern? Jungian or Kabbalistic?

    Classical gnosticism, which I think is what you had in mind -- though you misrepresent even it -- championed a secret 'gnosis' or knowledge, roughly spiritual in nature. It gnosticism was inherently dualistic. Some strains, particularly those which syncretised Christianity and Judaism, held physical reality, created by the Demiurge, inimical to the search for gnosis. But the resulting approach took contradictory forms.

    Some considered the physical world to be evil, and thus eschewed its pleasures and delights, developing a very aescetical praxis, in which they turned away from 'fleshly desires'.

    Other gnostics, however, reasoned that the physical world, being 'unreal', could not be inimical to gnosis, and so hedonistically embraced its pleasures.

    Probably more -- it's difficult to say; the sheer variety of ancient gnostics is huge -- neither denied nor particularly embraced physical pleasures.

    In any case, you lay some heavy -- albeit unsubstantiated -- charges at the gnostics' feet. How, precisely, has the gnostic search for gnosis caused 'no end of pain, suffering, humiliation and torture'? Any modern gnostics out there who would care to respond to this?

    All that aside, what you appear to be championing is a rather unsophisticated hedonism: Sex is good. Therefore whatever forbids sex is bad. Pleasure is good. Pain is bad. Therefore whatever increases pleasure is right. And whatever increases pain is wrong.

    Most modern ethicists gave up on this approach to ethics about five minutes after they emerged from puberty.

    Lee Kai Wen (who would rather examine arguments than parrot them)

  • Tell that to all the nice clean suburban drug users you've just offended :P

    It was not my intention to impugn the character of upscale druggies. My post, for those who missed its intent, was parody. Which means it was supposed to be bad reasoning.

    Lee Kai Wen (neither 'burb-dweller nor drug user)

  • Why do we insist on attempting to regulate morality?

    Hear, hear! We need to do away with all morality-based laws. Meth? Crank? Horse? Barbies? Crack? Ludes? Well, personally I'm against 'em, but who am I to judge? Inner city youths need to make a living, too.

    Rape? Incest? Kiddie porn? Spouse abuse? Horrible! Or, well, at least I think so. But I wouldn't want to be mistaken for a religious zealot.

    And I would never dream of forcing my belief in, say, the immorality of murder down someone else's throat.

    We all know that "morality" is just a code word for "religion", which makes morality in government unconstitutional.

    Doesn't it?

    Lee Kai Wen

  • trying to block things out totally from the lives of your children can cause irreversible damage

    You were doing great till you leaned too far forward and stumbled over your untied shoelaces.

    There are, of course, many things parents "block out totally from the lives of their children", usually with rather positive effect.

    My children are not allowed alcohol. My 13 year old daughter is not allowed to date, let alone have sex. They don't get to watch documentaries on setting up your own private meth lab, or sample illegal drugs. They don't get to knock over the local grocery store or shake down their friends for lunch money. They don't get to cheat on their homework. They aren't allowed to lie to an adult -- ever.

    I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

    I do agree that governmental regulation is not a proper substitute for good parenting. But I think you'll find that, far from looking for ways to avoid their parental responsibilities, most of the parents who are concerned about such things are grasping for all the help they can get in fulfilling the responsibilities they already take very seriously. Torching strawmen will only get you burned.

    Lee Kai Wen

  • I disagree with ... umm .. lessee ... uh ...

    Nope. Sorry, can't find anything to disagree with in your reply. Thanks.

    Lee Kai Wen (who's always disappointed when he can't disagree with something)

  • I just re-emphasized certain points I made in the original post which I think you didn't adequately address

    I addressed them in the only way they could be addressed -- as unproven first principles -- by pointing out that not everyone shares yours.

    by some of the more popular religions, which in turn seek to impose their rules on others.

    Such a statement could equally be applied to, say, politics or the National Organization of Women.

    Society, by definition, imposes rules on its members. We all live by a set of agreed-upon regulations. Absent that, you have anarchy. But somehow it only becomes "imposing" when we don't agree with.

    As for the Puritans, while their culture of repression may be the main problem

    Specifics, please. Labels do not make arguments.

    As I said, if all you know about Puritans is some alleged "culture of repression", then you're in need of a visit to your local library.

    On the other hand, remembering that the Puritans championed such nefarious concepts as freedom of religion and democracy, and "imposed" on Americans such deviancies as the Mayflower Compact and the Protestant work ethic, I can understand why they were make your shit list.

    they did burn people who were "different".

    Ah, yes, the "Salem Witch Trials". That lasted, umm, twenty years, no six, no, 9 months. And executed, uh, thirty thousand, no fifteen thousand -- er, twenty people. And of course, all the thousands of powerful people involved were Puritans -- those rabid, slathering, wild-eyed, fanatical enemies of all pleasure. And all the victims were, what, Catholic?

    Frankly, I don't buy it. Your argument sounds just as simplistic

    Since I have made no argument -- other than to point out that your own unproven first principles are not shared by all -- all you appear to be "boiling down to its essence" is a few strawman Puritans and gnostics who are no longer around to defend themselves against all the ills of the modern world.

    Lee Kai Wen (who is neither Puritan nor gnostic, nor shares all (who knows, most?) of their views on religion, sexual ethics or, most probably, anything else)

  • Puritans? Champions of religious freedom? You mean the folk who drove out the Unitarians? They championed their own religious freedom.

    Champions of freedom from government-imposed religious practices and beliefs, then, if you will. A fundamental pillar of American freedoms, if I recall my political theory classes. I did not intend to invoke them as paradigms of modern sensibilities of "religious tolerance".

    As for the "Puritan culture of repression" that could use some specification

    [Introduction to Calvinist soteriology snipped] (Jonathan Edwards was required reading at my school. Still one of my favorites.)

    What you laid out for us being rather typical classical Calvinism, why not say, e.g., "Presbyterian culture of repression"?

    As for Calvinism being used to justify slavery, et al., well, proponents of slavery weren't particular. They could be Calvinist when it served, or Deist when it didn't. They were equally adept at employing, e.g., laissez-faire capitalist arguments, or the then-emerging concepts of race, when it preferred their position to do so.

    My point remains: Puritans are being scape-goated for a slew of sins which they can hardly be held accountable (or at least unfairly singled-out) for.

    The above not withstanding, the original poster intended "Puritan culture of repression" to refer to a system of sexual ethics with which he disagrees, and which he, somewhat ignorantly, ascribed to Puritanism.

    Lee Kai Wen (sometime student of American history)

  • But what about those who believe that sex inside a marital context is wrong, who in point of fact believe that marriage itself is wrong?

    They merely prove my point - that different folks have different first principles. Those who assume that, say, pictures of two women having sex cannot be harmful to minors do so because they depend on a certain set of first principles. Begin with a different set of first principles, and you arrive at a different conclusion.

    Everyone's beliefs are their own. They should not be able to impose them on others.

    But of course, this is exactly how society functions - by imposing an agreed-upon set of rules of conduct on its members. Take away the rules and you have anarchy.

    Funny how it only becomes "imposing their beliefs" when we don't agree with it. One never hears any objections to imposing our belief in, say, the wrongness of rape on other members of society.

    Lee Kai Wen (who thinks laws against bestiality are imposing someone's morality)

  • >Rape? Incest? Kiddie porn? Spouse abuse?

    Those aren't illegal because they are immoral. They are illegal because they actually hurt other people

    "Because they hurt people". Which, I gather, you consider wrong. Right?

    Maybe you need to turn your own lightbulb up a notch.

    Lee Kai Wen

  • One never hears any objections to imposing our belief in, say, the wrongness of rape on other members of society.

    If you agreed with it, they're not "imposing" anything. You'd folow that belief anyway

    OK, for the sake of argument, I'll grant that laws against rape are not an imposition on me. They are, however, an imposition on someone -- namely, in this case, the rapist, who disagrees with it.

    Generalizing, it becomes apparent that every law is "imposed", because someone disagrees with it. In fact, this is the whole purpose of having laws -- to force compliance on the part of those who disagree with them. Any time someone disagrees with a law, then the law can said to be "imposed", at least on the one disagreeing with it. Yet, that doesn't stop us from imposing the law anyway. I mean, why would we even have a law, unless there were someone who disagreed with it?

    Which brings me back to my original statement: it's funny how no one ever calls it "imposing morality" when it's their morality being imposed -- only when they become the imposed-upon.

    One point is that those people clamoring for censorship are a MINORITY.

    Those who oppose them are also a minority. The great middle doesn't much care one way or the other.

    Rape is not an issue of ethics or morality.

    Maybe we need to explore our definitions of "morality". In my book it most definitely is a moral issue -- as are things like theft, murder, and kicking the neighbor's dog. It is precisely that -- harm to others -- which makes them wrong.

    Lee Kai Wen

  • In my book it most definitely is a moral issue ... It is ... harm to others ... which makes them wrong.

    Okay, it IS an issue of morality. But my point was that the morality of it has nothing to do with WHY it's illegal.

    Which is precisely where we disagree. I say, "Rape is illegal because it is wrong." You say, "Rape is illegal because it hurts other people." I say, "So, what? Who cares if other people get hurt? As long as I don't get hurt, it's no skin off my nose." To which you reply, "But it's wrong to hurt other people."

    And I say: Bingo! Rape is illegal because it hurts someone, and it's wrong to hurt someone! And we're right back to morality.

    Back to dictionary.com:

    morality:

    1. The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct.
    2. A system of ideas of right and wrong conduct: religious morality; Christian morality.
    3. Virtuous conduct.
    4. A rule or lesson in moral conduct.

    I'm operating here under the first definition: society defines rules of "right" or "good" conduct: this conduct is good; that conduct is not. This conduct is right; that conduct is wrong. This conduct is desirable; that conduct is not. Therefore, we pass laws against conduct which, as a society, we do not accept. In particular, we do not accept conduct which hurts other people. Why? Because we think hurting other people is wrong.

    Therefore society must protect itself from that person, and lock 'em up.

    We throw people in prison for two reasons: to protect society, true. But also to punish. That's why it's called the penal system. We punish, because the criminal has done something deserving punishment - he has done something wrong.

    Lee Kai Wen

  • "All you have done is re-state the original poster's claims without substance."

    I am the original poster! It's not like I just read my own post and shouted "me too". I just re-emphasized certain points I made in the original post which I think you didn't adequately address.

    "In any case, you lay some heavy -- albeit unsubstantiated -- charges at the gnostics' feet. How, precisely, has the gnostic search for gnosis caused 'no end of pain, suffering, humiliation and torture'?"

    You are correct in assuming that I meant the breed of gnosticism that strove to deny all worldly urges, and I must confess I didn't know that gnosticism came in 31 flavors.

    But I wasn't attacking the gnostics themselves (frankly I could care less what some people want to deny themselves), but rather the particularly nasty strain of their philosophy which has been adopted by some of the more popular religions, which in turn seek to impose their rules on others.

    As for the Puritans, while their culture of repression may be the main problem, they did burn people who were "different". (And The Scarlet Letter sucked!) So they're not exactly on my "cool people" list.

    "All that aside, what you appear to be championing is a rather unsophisticated hedonism: Sex is good. Therefore whatever forbids sex is bad. Pleasure is good. Pain is bad. Therefore whatever increases pleasure is right. And whatever increases pain is wrong."

    As opposed to, say, "Sex is dirty. Therefore whatever regulates sex, makes it more orderly and utilitarian is good. Pleasure causes decadence. Pain builds character. Therefore denying pleasure and enforcing pain are the only cure to our societal woes."

    Frankly, I don't buy it. Your argument sounds just as simplistic, and a thousand times more harmful once it is boiled down to its essence.

    "Most modern ethicists gave up on this approach to ethics about five minutes after they emerged from puberty."

    Most modern ethicists don't worry me. It's the modern "moralists" that have the power to screw up society.

    (And, as for "emerged from puberty", to which exit from puberty are you referring: death, or castration?)

    You have shown a good deal of expertise and knowledge of religion, philosophy, ethics, etc. Is there any chance you could use your powers for good?

    Hai Per Geeque (insert cute-yet-inflammatory catch-phrase here)

    --

  • Bill Gates is probably the most decent then.
  • Heck yeah. Tell em all that you set this up, so you get the vote.

    But don't give them the power, since you really don't want what they would try to do to happen, and you couldn't enforce it anyway.

    The world rocks.
  • I always find it offensive when government agency tries to take away MY rights because of "the children". I could care less if some 13 year old boy sits at the computer and looks at porn, saves him the time and expense of getting it in hardcopy. I can't believe that viewing the naked human form will cause so much psychological damage that the government feels the need to restrict my right to free communication.
  • YAaaaaaaa!!!! Down with the control of the internet!!
  • It's not that hard to raise funds on the internet... just put some p0rn banners on your site ;-) That way they can start censoring immediately, with their own site!

    (Or maybe i should not reply to articles when i've just woken up)
  • Such committies are a waste of time and money, with luck, some goverment lackey with more intelligence then the people who make up and control the commitee in the first place "accidently" forgot to sent a memo giving them their funding. Hooray for accidents :-)
  • I agree with voodoo. the only reason its so much more plentiful on the net is because you can do it anonymously and not become the next larry flint. but I think because it's become so much easier to get our hands on, and more importantly, free, it gets out of hand, before the internet you never really saw any Channel 5 special reports on "Addicted to Porn." Bah im rambling now. anyways the point of this is that the government isnt gonna be able to do much to stop this, and hell, I grew up with porn available to me if I wanted it, and I think I turned out fine, so maybe they should calm down. so lets not waste our tax money for this bulls**t. ok. im done now.
  • How did you get only four million in Shintoism? It's by far the main religion of Japan, and I know Japan has many more than four million people. Also, China, which has about a billion people, is mainly Buddhist, isn't it? 350 million Buddhists just doesn't add up, especially with all the converts around the world. And aside from that, with these figures Christianity dominates over other religions, but not all combined. Two billion is not fifty percent of six billion.
  • I think Cary would like to believe that none of us could be influenced unconsiously by what we read or see but unfortunately the evidence is that humans can be uncritical thinkers. There is a "herd" mentality out there. There are lots of examples outside of sex. Why else would violence against women and others be tolerated? Why does one piece of garbage on the street give permission for others to litter? Why do allowing racist or sexist remarks encourage more of the same? When it comes to sex sites or violence site the same thing applies. Sex sites demean women and men in them, they teach that sex is something you can purchase or engage in with out relationships or consequences. I work in a teen clinic and the young people who experience unplanned pregnancy, STDs,infertility,much less hurt feelings would report that the portrayal of sex as something that doesn't need careful thought is stupid. The folks who work in the porno industry are being explointed themselves-- and frequently have a history of physical and sexual abuse in their lives. There is a big difference between erotica and porno... I think this is what the US Gov is trying to get at
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everyone agrees there is material on the Internet that's not appropriate for minors

    There's material on television and the radio which is not appropriate for children. So? What is censorship expected to accomplish?

    ...verify an adult's age before showing photographs or other material "harmful to minors."

    At what point did photographs become harmful to minors? What is the fear here?
  • According to the article, 75% of parents want some kind of filter.

    Bottom line guys -- I've said this before and I'll say it again. If effort is not made to make it easier for parents to filter genuinely offensive content, then the current bunch of censorware will go into wide use. Like it or not, the average person does not endorse the radical (and legally unprecedented) ideas of free speech that many on Slashdot advocate.

    If the average consumer is not provided with some way to filter out hard core porn without filtering other (usually marginal) sites, they will say "screw the consequences" and filter them all.

    And the stubborn refusal of the technical communities to attempt to provide a good filter list will be to blame. It is perfectly possible to develop a filter list that will filter the really egregious cases without filtering political speech and the like. Its just not possible to do it in a commercial context.

    Remember: the Supreme Court can and will remove protected rights when public interest is strong enough. Just look at gun control.

    --

  • From now on, instead of flaming the Slashdot party line in all these "censorship" (in quotes for a reason) articles, I'll post a link to this.

    (By the way, I have Censorship, Patents, United States and YRO turned off in my preferences to cut down on the number of irate responses I feel compelled to post every day. I wasn't expecting you to sneak a censorware story into a Humor article!)
  • Of course, if they get a job, then they end up abandoning their children. Leaving them in day care centers, etc. And if you've priced the day care centers, you know that on a minimum wage job THAT can't be afforded, so the job that they get had better pay well, or their kids will be on the street.
    Parenting is a part of the answer, but just saying the word is no solution. It needs to be made possible, and not just for the folk who get higher end jobs. (Then there's the question of varying skill levels... but as things stand now, that's very much secondary.)

  • Is this the "anything that offends me" standard?
    I find your "holier than thow" addatude offensive. I find your stuffing religion in peoples faces offensive. I find your "my way" addatude offensive. Dose your standard still aply?
    Or am I exempt becouse I have a diffrent opinion?

    He is not amoral just becouse he isn't hypermoral he isn't anti-christan just becouse he dosn't blindly folow your version of the christan religion.

    And on religion. Your version of christanity is flawed. Christ himself said "Judge ye not lest ye be judged" yet you have placed yourself in the position of judge...
    I myself refer to Christ as an enlightend philosopher. I do not reguard him as a savur or a deity or son of a deity. Thats just how I see it.

    As for society... It's not in the gutter yet but thanks to people like you who place imposable standards on socity and thanks to people who go in the other direction realising there is no pleasing your kind.. we are slowly being notched in that direction.

    People like you who see anti-christan addatudes in ordenary activitys. People like you who see immorality everywhere... you discust me...

    True morality has nothing to do with messing with other peoples lifes. True morality comes from within. To act moral. Not to cram it down everyone elses throats.

    I would like to suggest that the most immoral, anti-christan, and indecent of all acts is censorship..
  • Meth? Crank? Horse? Barbies? Crack? Ludes? Well, personally I'm against 'em, but who am I to judge? Inner city youths need to make a living, too.

    Tell that to all the nice clean suburban drug users you've just offended :P
    The notion that "drugs" are and "urban" problem stems from uptight suburban middle-class citizens who are either blind to their own surroundings or dismiss it.
    As we all know, white middle-class suburban citizens have NO drug or violence problems; it must be a city thing :)
    (good lord, if my tongue was any further in my cheek, I wouldn't be able to chew any more)
    From my own experineces living in different areas of a few cities across North America, the suburbs are way more susceptible to softer drugs like Alcohol and Pot simply because the 'burbs are so friggin BORING!

    Getting of the entire drug thread, I think half the problem comes from parents who are unwilling to actually discipline their kids themselves, under fear that their kids won't like them anymore. or thinking that THEIR parents were too hard on THEM, so they will treat their kids better.
    Anyway, that's just pure speculation on my part. I'm just disgusted that common courtesy has been thrown out the window for an obsessively ego-centric society where anything goes, just because we can.

    Pope
  • >Further back, 'Christians' committed atrocities including rape, pillaging, mass genocide and infanticide against anyone who disagreed with them, under the generic heading of 'The Crusades'.

    Yeah, but that's all water under the bridge now. =)

    I hear the pope is going to give an apology to the world for all the crap that the church has been 'responsible' for since the beginning (crusades, inquisition, aiding and abeting nazi holocaust, fun stuff like that).

    Should be interesting.
  • Amphigory wrote:

    "And the stubborn refusal of the technical communities to attempt to provide a good filter list will be to blame. It is perfectly possible to develop a filter list that will filter the really egregious cases without filtering political speech and the like. It's just not possible to do it in a commerical context."


    Amphigory:

    I think filtering companies have a right to exist and make money, so long as they don't interfere with the rights of others to enjoy a free flow of information. It's perfectly sensible to employ a vicarious decisionmaker for aspects of life. Some are formal, some aren't -- We read film reviews, we ask friends' advice on cars, we use tips on the radio, maybe we read Consumers' Digest to avoid a lemon television set.

    I agree with you that most people would like to be able to avoid certain things -- let's say as a conservative baseline, most people don't want to see child pornography or depictions of bestiality. Most people would not want their children receiving invitations to pornographic Web sites.

    But how do you see the "good filter list" you hope for working? You say it is technically possible, but not possible "in a commercial context," and I don't understand what you mean. It seems to me that, unless all Internet access (that is, both viewing and publishing) is subject to approval by some sort of panel, then it would *only* be possible in a commercial context. Filtered ISPs (like Mayberry USA [mayberry.com] are flourishing, because they provide a more palatable picture of the world, and their subscribers consider this added value. I'm happy with that; if I had children who were using the Internet, I might employ such a service.

    But I would employ it, and if I found it to be a nuisance, or intrusive, I could either pick a new one or do all the supervision myself. In other words, I don't want the subjective, by-definition-impossible task of suppressing certain Internet content to be in the hands of the government. You can fire your accountant, you can stop associating with the friend who told you to invest in Laetrile, but generally the government keeps coming back with the same grin and same demand. Censureship, with my approval, vs. censorship without.

    Just thoughts,

    timothy
  • Lexis-Nexis.

    :)

    And the idea of paying $20 a month for super-filtered content is not only reasonable, but it goes on all the time. There are electronic equivalents to old-style clipping services which do nothing but gather, vet, and sort by worth information on topics you want.

    Some no-charge search engines employ some variant of this as well, with human experts on particular search categories.

    timothy
  • bons made the excellent point that: "Creating a TLD for porn would go a long way to removing a decent chunk of the problem. Namely, it would make it easy to censor all those who are willing to be censored. Those who aren't willing to be censored will, of course, still be a problem. However, they're a problem regardless of the solution, much like spammers, they "know" that they're right, and that somehow gives them the right to behave as they choose to everyone else.

    (First, I would amend that last sentence to read "they know they're in the wrong, but that the material gain they make alllows them to remain contemptous of the rights of others." Same difference.)

    But this is an important point: the majority of pornographic sites would like to avoid legal liability for their content, and would probably *like* a way to be easily filtered by browsers who specifically don't want to see their content. Just not blocked to someone who specifically wants to. "Someone" in this case, though, really means some end user, even if it's an aggregate ... when IBM buys / provides for / puts on employees desks Internet service, the end user in question is really IBM, rather than its employees. (Likewise, when the employees go home, and buy service on their dime, IBMs standards oughtn't apply.)

    timothy

    p.s. Tipper Gore, remember, isn't in favor of "censorship." She wants it all nice n' voluntary. ["Captain, captain! The BS meter's just exploded out of the console! We must have encountered a Black Hole of Honesty!"]
  • Online porn is not the problem...poor parenting is. I have to agree with comment:
    "The damage, if any, caused to kids by seeing a few pornographic images absolutely pales in comparison to growing up with no real parental contact."
    So true. Parents must learn that can not prevent their kids from seeing, hearing, reading, and learning about "bad" things. You just have to teach them how to deal with these things. Parents should be willing to talk frankly about sex and nudity with children. Kids should not have to figure things like this out on their own. Not talking about these things is what makes a porn site dangerous. Kids who have an open relationship with their parents will either know enough not to care much about a "bad" site or be calm in the fact that they can ask their parents about it later.
    This issue is an old one that hits every medium. Some say that sex and violence on tv is warping young kids minds. They point to the shows that glamorize sex and violence as ruining kids. If the WWF's The Rock has more influence on your kids then you do, it is your fault, not TV's. Remember the big talk about Playboy magazines in 7-11 stores? Guess what parents...if a kid wants to get a Playboy, he or she will. Period. There is nothing that you can do about it. All you can do is teach them to handle it and answer their questions honestly. You can't raise kids in a bubble because someday they will have to go into the real world and deal with all of these "bad" things.
  • Your idea of a public database is a good one except in not noting how sites get in. Who is a valid judge? I think that a voluntary submission system may work for the most part but it may run into problems the same way some films do. Everyone knows that some films are just obvious porn. No one has a problem with those films. People do have a problem with some films that claim to use sex, nudity, and violence for art's sake. All of these things can and should be used in artistic ways. Should we limit artistic expression to avoid offending someone? Where do we draw the line? Who are we to draw one? Why does one need to be drawn anyway?
  • Actually, it's kind of interesting, because Alcoholics Anonymous (and Narcotics Anonymous and all other organizations based on the same model) make you take responsibility for your own problems as the first step to recovery.

    Now, as to this article: The reason why this organization doesn't have any funding is because the politicians already have people to tell them what's wrong with the Internet. People like Pat Robertson, David Grossman and Donald Wildmon [ifas.org] and organizations like th American Family Association, the Christian Coalition, and the Lion and the Lamb Project [lionlamb.org] are more than willing to tell them about the horrors of the Internet. Maybe the reason that the organization set up by the Child Online Protection Act hasn't recieved any funding is because the politicians whose bread and butter is this issue are afraid that they would come up with something reasonable that doesn't tread on anyone's freedoms. Something rational is also not going to bring in those big contributions checks from the "family values" organizations.

    Since these organizations and people want to see an end to the First Amendment in this country, they aren't really interested in solutions to the problems. They certainly wouldn't want an organization run by industry people making decisions on these issues.

    After all, without controversial issues "for the children" what would politicians have to do all day?

  • Why don't these organizations ever go after spam?

    I mean I know people who have gotten shocking porno-mailings in their Email box almost every day who were pretty upset about it. (I have a cousin who couldn't recieve any Email from me. When I asked her about it we figured it out, she had put a block on all Email from the Hotmail domain because she kept getting porno-mail.)

    Now, I even get sick at the mix of porno, "get rich quick schemes," and "free trips to Florida" (I live in Florida!!!) that show up in some of my mailboxes every day.

    Notice though, that these people never complain about pornography that's being pushed on people who haven't asked for it and don't want it. No, that's because they are more worried about political power and interfering with people who choose to view pornography than in helping to curb a public nuisance on the same issue.

    I mean, if they took on the spammers, it might be a First Amendment gray area (though I don't believe people have the right under the first Amenment to force me to look at things I don't want to) but it would be a help to everyone. Why, it would even help that oft-invoked group, "the children" who could get an Email account without having to worry about this kind of spam. I mean, heck, they'd probably even get supporters from Usenet enthusiasts. Of course, it wouldn't lead to massive new federal powers and major interference with people's right, so I guess there is no chance of them taking it up as an issue.

  • In real life, people are trying to legislate, sue or pay others to raise their children. Every plastic bag imprinted with "This is Not a Toy" is testament, as is every lawsuit suing heavy metal bands for responsibility for teen suicides.

    And how many kids have you raised, buddy? Everybody's an expert until they actually try it.

    Well, well, well. I have to say that in my few fleeting moments i've had in this mortal coil myself, I think I know what raising a kid must be like. I've done hundreds of babysitting jobs, many being overnight excursions while parents went too far away to get back before morning and whatnot. I've had to babysit children as young as 6 months; as old as 12 years. No doubt it is a hard thing to do to keep up with them (especially when you've got 4-6 on your hands at one time), but I seriously think that the angle of attack on the statement above is rather askew. For it is not the children's fault most of the time for many things. You must remember, their minds are still developing. This means that they must rely on someone else who is older to help them along. You have to teach them or else they can twist and contort things into weird perceptions. (Of course I'm speaking of smaller children here.)

    People definately are attempting to legislate, sue, and pay others to raise their children and it sickens me. Plastic bags and other things that state "this is not a toy" is just a small example of it. "Well let's see, if it's not a toy, why don't I just give it to my son here to play with! While i'm at it, let me go buy him a bow and some arrows too!" Then they go and sue the companies because they were stupid enough to do such a thing and it all becomes a blame game. It's stupid. It's all damned common sense. If parents can't do their job teaching their kids common sense, right from wrong, red from purple, left from right, why do you expect the government to do it? If you're going to leave your child with the responsibility of surfing the internet without either supervising them yourself or teaching them about certain things they might find (depending upon age group), then it's the fault of the parent.

    "Well do you think I can keep up with my child 24/7?" If you chose to have the child, you damn well should have thought about that, shouldn't you? Didn't plan on having him/her, it just popped up? Then making as much time as possible with your child should be first priority. Attention and teaching is everything to them. The way you bring them up in their early years of life has a lot to do with how they are in their pre-teens, teens, and beyond.

    If you didn't catch the drift of all that for one reason or another (probably due to my irregular thought patterns due to lack of sleep), basically it's saying that Parents are the ones that are responsible for their children. They need to teach them common sense and about things when they ask or when the time is appropriate. If you haven't caught the drift of generations of repitition, trying to block things out totally from the lives of your children can cause irreversible damage to the parent-child relationship and possibly to their psyche. It pisses them off because they don't understand why you didn't just talk to them about it or for the simple fact that you denied them the right to surf freely while millions of other people can. Who knows. Maybe they'd even hit that .001% chance and turn psycho and kill half of the people in a department store when they're 22 because you sheltered them all their lives and they couldn't cope with the real world.

    I highly doubt I conveyed my whole opinion there since my train of thought jumps between different things about once every few seconds, but hopefully you got my drift.

  • You're right, it is just like Real Life, and that's the problem. In real life, people are trying to legislate, sue or pay others to raise their children. Every plastic bag imprinted with "This is Not a Toy" is testament, as is every lawsuit suing heavy metal bands for responsibility for teen suicides.

    The difference is the fragility of the internet. In Real Life, you can't wave a magic wand and make the porno shops in the seedy part of town disappear, along with the gay bookstores, abortion clinics, women's resource centers, etc, etc. Unfortunately, this is done very efficiently on places like AOL.

    Even more unfortunately, a lot of Americans seem to LIKE IT. I guess this post just turned into a rant. Well, so be it. Some days I think that Margaret Atwood's The HandMaid's Tale is where things are headed.

    Mike van Lammeren
  • As stated in a Dilbert Comic strip, the staff of the IDC is pitting their intelligence against the collective sex drive of all the youth of America. I'm pretty sure that teens will find a way to get around anything they try. (NetNanny? Give me a break!) Edge: Teenagers.

    The reason they ran out of funding is because they haven't been persuing the proper courses of action in reguard to Internet Decency. Instead of trying to develop new software that blocks sites with certain words, why not just make a law that states that any website that provides adult content requires proof of age in the form of a credit card or similar id.

    That raises another point -- people wouldn't like giving out their CC over the internet, especially to pr0n sites. ("Honey, why is there a charge for $29.95 to a company called 'PureSexyTeens.Com' on our credit card bill?") Maybe a new type of adult id could be created -- once you turn 18, you get a card in the mail that has a number on it. It's completely unique, and all it does is state that you're over 18.

    Does that make sense?
    ,-----.----...---..--..-....-
    ' CitizenC
    ' "Bug? That's Not A Bug, That's A Feature!"
    `-----.----...---..--..-....-
  • I'm sorry, but you and the U.S government must live under a different definition of 'addiction' than is given in the dictionary. An addiction is that which you are dependant upon. While I can more then picture Paul Reubens or Vincent Van Gogh using graphic pornography as a staple, I can't seem to imagine anyone dependant on it.

    Wait. I forgot. Personal responsibility became a write-off back in 1992. It's politically acceptable to be addicted to anything these days. My mistake..

    You cannot possibly become addicted to porn. Heroin, yes. Nicotine, yes. Porno, no. You may very well like photos of young women going at each other, but that doesn't mean that you are addicted.

    To quote Glen Frye.. Get over it!!
  • Actually (and this is not to sound unduly pessimistic nor big business conspiracist), but adult verification services have become a huge industry and are responsible in part for a good deal of the online porn revenues. These companies are not going to want the government cutting in on their revenues.

    Furthermore, many adult webmasters have incorporated these services into their business-plans (contrary to popular belief, there are actually knowledgable businesspeople in the porn industry), since they get commissions if people buy verification while on their sites. Moreover, because of the sheer number of adult sites out there, there's this interesting self-filtering going on. Most of the better quality sites have struck exclusive partnerships deals with different AVSs. The sites get classified as "premiere/gold/platinum" and are guaranteed better placements on the AVSs' listings. They also have to minimize/eliminate advertising, get rid of any further fees and improve their layout and content. The AVSs' are making even more money since on top of the base rate (usually about US$20 a year), they're charging customers for upgrades (about US$20 a month). All said, it's an interesting lesson in value-added marketing (which may or may not be improving actual viewing experiences - the jury is still out on that one) that would have questionable success if there wasn't this pre-existing condition of AVSs (eg, could you imagine Altavista Gold - $20 bucks a month for truly weeded links? Maybe not - maybe it would be a very bad idea - but it's a business model that probably isn't going to be tried any time soon).

    This is not meant to justify AVSs (consumer reaction is, well, complicated to them - some people think that porn, like information, should be free while others feel better thinking that they're a impedence to minors getting porn), but rather to point out the degree in which they've become part of the web as it stands today.
  • While I think you're pointing to something interesting, I would have to say that your argument is fundamentally flawed. One of the hallmarks of (post- | *-)modern society is that there are profound linkages between diverse issues that constitute our lives. So, most any argument that makes the claim that "foo is the cause of bar problem" is going to run into some very messy ground. I mean, I would bet that I could argue that the cause of most of society's problems today are, say, an ill-supported educational system, but at the end of it, we'd just end up in a pissing match along the lines "well, my foo causes your foo" or "my foo is more of a fundamental problem than your foo."

    What we'd really need to do is avoid that problem altogether and articulate a set of problems and things that contribute to them, and admit that they're all interrelated and that there's things on both lists that are we (and by this I've mean society) probably can't/don't/won't see.

    On a related note, I have to admit that I'm troubled by these lines in your post:

    I've seen women grow up with the only real core value passed down from their parents is to have more children in order to get a bigger check. In defense, I've also known one or two that believed in actually raising their children, but they are a decreasing minority.

    If this is a reference to "welfare queens", then I would have to take offense. While I do not deny that there are individuals who do have additional children to gain additional (welfare) money, attributing their actions to "core values" does injustice to the actual experiences of mothers on welfare. Numerous authors have attempted to trace the various interlocking systems of power and thought that lead to such outcomes (for instance, in Rachael and Her Children, Kozol both does the math and interview mothers, case workers and administrators to find out, interestingly enough, that for some mothers on welfare, their aid is so low that they can't afford not to have more children. He also discusses how, importantly, the welfare system punishes nuclear families by considering fathers able to work and therefore the entire family unable to get welfare, thereby leading some families to chose deliberately to become "a single mother with absentee father" in order to survive). As I stated earlier, our problems are complicated and I worry that in our effort fix them we obscure or create others.
  • In my opinion, the cause of many of society's problems today is the lack of parenting. I've seen women grow up with the only real core value passed down from their parents is to have more children in order to get a bigger check. In defense, I've also known one or two that believed in actually raising their children, but they are a decreasing minority. It's a depressing thought, and a hard pill for today's parents to swallow, but it's medicine they need to take.

    The cause is identified, the solution is harder, since this mentality may take generations to correct itself (and heres to hoping it will correct itself).

    At least I can do my part and raise my children as best I can and not view them as little more than a financial liability. A few core values passed on, along with a basic sense of decency. Yes, decency, not censorship, something that should be natural and not governed. Difficult in a world where nice people supposedly finish last, but the validity of that statement depends on your viewpoint.

  • I specifically chose the word "many" instead of "all" (which is simply ridiculous), and more importantly instead of "most". It is my firm belief that the lack of actual parenting is the direct cause of many of society's current problems. I also believe it's an indirect/aggregate cause of many others. Whether or not you agree with me is actually irrelevant, I ensured that I specified it was my personal opinion. I do consider myself a reasonable person, and if you provided evidence to the contrary, I would happily evaluate it, and adjust my opinions as necessary. A far more likely outcome would be our agreement of many other problems (since there are many others, and I never said otherwise).

    As far as the second part of my post, take offense if you want. You can read all you like, look at all the statistics you want, but unless you've actually been there, I honestly think you're clueless in this regard. The women I referred to are ones that I've known very intimately. Some romantically, some platonically, but I have been there. When you've helped raise a child who's mother was beaten ruthlessly by the child's father, and who's only means of child-support was a dividend of drugs from the father, then you tell me about why people do what they do.

    If I sound somewhat angry, it's because I am to a certain degree, but it's not something I'd ever expect you to understand, or more importantly be able to relate to. The funny thing is I consider most of these people to be highly intelligent. Most got terrible grades in school, dropped out before finishing high school (for those that made it to high school), and anything beyond basic arithmetic was beyond them. But they knew how to survive.

    If theres one thing I've taken from my life, its that there is a major difference between book smarts and street smarts. The true understanding of the difference and the parallels is something most people can't comprehend, and frankly, from your statments, I think you fall into the majority.

  • . . late one night, after finding http://www.AllMonicaAllTheTime.com/

    ;)
    _________________________

  • You cannot possibly become addicted to porn. Heroin, yes. Nicotine, yes. Porno, no. You may very well like photos of young women going at each other, but that doesn't mean that you are addicted.

    I Am Not A Neurologist, but the prevalence of chemical addictions doesn't mean that there's no such thing as psychological addictions.

    I think that anything that can produce an emotional response can addict at least somebody.

    Fortunately, porn doesn't fry your brain like certain drugs, no matter what the Puritans-In-Charge may tell you.

    And if someone does become a rapist or whatnot after sampling porn, it's because of a preexisting, severe psychological disorder, not because they've seen depictions of nudity and sex.

    Of course, you don't hear much about any crusades of concerned parents fighting hatred, prejudice, poverty, governmental corruption, corporate rule, cultural stagnation, or rampant Puritanism, for example. That's because real problems get ignores, while manufactured "issues" get all the attention. The death of independence in the mainstream media ensures that Joe Average will never know about most of these problems until they bite him in the ass.

    And while I'm talking about "Puritanism", I find it really hard to buy the idea that there could be anything virtuous or "pure" about a society that violently repressed almost all natural human instincts, was openly intolerant of religious and ideological differences, and burned at the stake anybody who didn't conform, out of sheer superstition, fear and ignorance.

    Yet even if the "Puritans" per se are fodder for the history books, their virus-meme has spread itself across the US and firmly embedded itself in society's collective psyche.

    Welcome to the United Salems of America.

    --

  • Or, one might argue a "sane" society is one in which people respected sex and understood its role, responsibilities and consequences, making modern society rather more delirious than sane.

    I fail to see how respecting sex and understanding its role would make modern society "more delirious than sane".

    The reason censorious societies are so obsessed with sex is because it's forbidden... it's seen as "dirty", taboo, and that makes it a thousand times more tantalizing than if it were treated as simply something natural.

    Unfortunately, two fundamentally broken philosophies still exist in our society: Puritanism, which I'm sure we all know and love (picture particles of sarcasm leaping out of my mouth, condensing in the air and raining to the ground in solid form...), and gnosticism, the belief that "reality" is merely a test, and that all worldly urges and temptations must be avoided at all costs, and if they absolutely must take place (i.e. eating to live, or sex only for procreation) then absolutely no pleasure must be derived from them, for fear of placing one's immortal soul in dire peril.

    The latter philosophy has been inducted into several popular religions, and along with the former (its bastard half-brother Puritanism), has, over the centuries, caused no end of pain, suffering, humiliation and torture to denizens of the Western world.

    This brings a very serious question to mind:

    By "Understood its role", i.e. the role of sex, are you referring to the role of sex as strictly procreation?

    One could argue that the purpose of life is strictly procreation, but frankly, I plan on having some fun along the way. And the same goes for sex.

    So, as I see it, sex is not just for procreation, but also for recreation.

    And a society that takes a, shall we say, Fear Uncertainty and Doubt approach to sex is definitely a Bad Thing, or a symptom of something worse.

    --

  • What you are describing is not democracy, but mob rule. We (in the US) live in a *representitive* democracy and we have this thing called a Constitution that contains another something called the Bill of Rights. Perhaps you should try reading them some time. What this means is:

    1) that issues are deliberated and thought out before mindlessly enacting laws. Unfortunately, congress seems to be as reactionary as you are at times. Even so, bad law is hopefully vetoed by the president of deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

    2) The minority has equal protection under the law. This is *protection* from the tyranny of the majority.

    3) We have the right to privacy and to be secure in our homes.

    4) We have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What I take this to mean is that when I am all alone in my dungeon, if I enjoy tossing off to pictures of transvestites coated in polyurethane (SP?) sucking off goats while being spanked and flogged by midgets, then that is ok.

    And from my experience on the net, you really don't see porn unless you really go looking. Sounds to me like you've been venturing into the red light district a bit.

  • by Amphigory ( 2375 ) on Sunday March 12, 2000 @08:21AM (#1209009) Homepage
    But how do you see the "good filter list" you hope for working? You say it is technically possible, but not possible "in a commercial context," and I don't understand what you mean. It seems to me that, unless all Internet access (that is, both viewing and publishing) is subject to approval by some sort of panel, then it would *only* be possible in a commercial context. Filtered ISPs (like Mayberry USA are flourishing, because they provide a more palatable picture of the world, and their subscribers consider this added value. I'm happy with that; if I had children who were using the Internet, I might employ such a service.
    What I mean by "not in a commmercial context" is this: when you are running a company, you cater to the desires of your customers. What ends up happening is that those who feel strongest about something win.

    So, for example, there have been many cases of gay activist web pages being censored. This is because a minority of the customers who purchase filtering software want them censored -- they regard any mention of homosexuality as obscene. The vast majority, while they do not approve of homosexuality (despite "gay rights" rhetoric, most Americans don't) don't really care about that page one way or the other. Those who find any mention of homosexuality obscene rule because they will scream louder about the page not being filtered than the majority who don't care either way. And the few people who want to see gay activist web pages don't use this kind of software anyway.

    The bottom line is that the companies best interests' are served by a "filter first, ask questions later" policy.

    What is exceptionally pernicious about all this is that it is done in secret. The bottom line is that youcan't copyright a database. And the database of "dirty sites" is the filter company's main asset. So, the filter companies encrypt their database and try to hide it from the world.

    It's a vicious circle. The best way out of which I am aware is for operators of pornographic sites to tag their sites as such. Voluntarily. Failing that (its not going tohappen because these people are for the most part pretty sleazy) the best thing would be a public list of filtered sites, reviewed by humans.

    Of course, that's never happened because, as I mentioned above, the people who buy filtering software generally don't care about the sites that get erroneously censored! So, they would rather pay $20 or whatever for netnanny than spend their time to protect free speech. And the free speech people are so busy trying to protect the dubious "rights" of pornographers that they can't be bothered to try deal with the real abuses out there (www.whitehouse.com being a wonderful example).

    If I ever have any time, maybe I'll start a page for developing something like this. But, not today. I have bigger fish to fry.

    --

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @09:30PM (#1209010) Journal


    Can anybody tell me why I am seeing so many fakeries on the Net?

    I mean, there are so many people who are so publicly anti-porn (See that article on China's attempt of censorship and the author had to put the word "PORN" in it) but on the other hand, their hard drives may have thousands of kiddie-porn pictures and all other smut stuffs.

    Isn't the etho of InterNet is LIVE AND LET LIVE - that is, you do your stuffs, I do mine, you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone, so long as what you do do not hurt me and vice versa?

    I really long for the past days in the Net where everyone respect each others' privacy, and no one will come to tell you what you can do, what you can't.

    Disclaimer: I am NOT for porn, but I am NOT going to ban porn just because I don't find it interesting. Just like I am not going to publicly asking those puritans to go to hell just because I am tired of their holier-than-thou views.

    And one more question - just when all these will end?

    Will it end when we are not allowed to watch, received, say or _think_ of anything someone, somewhere find disgusting?

    What's the freedom of all these, eh?

    Live and let live, fellas !!

  • by bons ( 119581 ) on Sunday March 12, 2000 @04:39AM (#1209011) Homepage Journal
    (Please read all the way through, there's some good stuff at the bottom I'd like you to think about.) It's actually very sad that this project is underfunded. This project was one of our last hopes for the government to come up with a decent filtering scheme. After all, the government does have the power to make ICANN create a .XXX tld and enforce that TLD (since ICANN only enforces half of the TLDs it has, .edu, .gov, and .mil). Creating a TLD for porn would go a long way to removing a decent chunk of the problem. Namely, it would make it easy to censor all those who are willing to be censored. Those who aren't willing to be censored will, of course, still be a problem. However, they're a problem regardless of the solution, much like spammers, they "know" that they're right, and that somehow gives them the right to behave as they choose to everyone else. It's almost impossible to stop someone who keeps playing against the rules in a playground this big. As a parent, I do feel that there is a need for censorship. It does not belong in my home, simply because it is my job as a parent to watch over my son and help him grow to be a decent man.

    However, my son will probably go a school, and that school will have to have internet access if he's to have any hope of an education. Now I kow that I will answer any questions he brings home, but I can't say that his teacher will be qualified to answer those questions in school. I can't even say if the teacher will be allowed to answer those questions out of fear of being sued by someone.

    Schools, Libraries, and other places where children can log on (mall kiosks, cyber coffee shops, open lan parties) should probably have some sort of method available for filtering. After all, I can't be a parent if I'm not there, and a child does need to be away from his parent every now and then, to explore the world on his own and to expand his boundardaries.

    The problem is what to filter and how to filter it. I think we can all agree on three things:

    • Current censorware sucks. It just isn't good at doing it's job. It's like a blind man with a shotgun trying to stop a robbery.
    • It's easy enough to censor sites that are voluntarily willing to be censored.
    • It's also easy enough to censor sites that don't care if they're censored, but who don't want to go to the trouble of tracking down all the censorware sites and identifying themselves.
    • It's close to impossible to stop the ones that actively do not want to be censored. (Luckily these are almost always clueless gits who think that Pam Anderson is a porn queen)
    The problem is choosing what to censor in a particular area. The standards for Omaha, Ne are puritan compared to the standards for New York City. Add Amsterdam to the mix and you really don't have a standard at all. perhaps the most interesting place to look at community standards would be New Orleans, where the community standards drop once you enter the Quarter and change depending on the time of year and the time of day.

    I think the answer is to have a standard method of identifying sites that should be blocked, and a number of publicly accessable databases to choose from. These databases should be able to point to one another in the same fashion that web pages do today. For example:
    /porn.blk is a well know directory that porn sites can voluntarily add themselves to.
    /nudity.blk is a directory of sites that contain nudity. It also points to porn.blk. When you use nudity.blk it automaticly means you're using porn.blk. You could call nudity.blk with a nofollow parameter ond only get the nudity.blk listings.
    gay.blk is a religious list that lists all gay sites, including gay rights sites.
    pagan.blk is another religious list that lists all wiccan, satanism, santaism, and other cool sites. For some obscure reason it has overlaps with gay.blk :)
    gore.blk is Tipper Gore's personal list to hide all of the sites that should have never made it on her husband's internet. It points to all record lables, lyrics sites, and just about every .blk in existance.
    cthulhu.blk is a campus list thar lists all the .blk sites thereby preventing your machine from using existing filters.

    See, once you get a standard and let us all create .blk lists, much like we all create .htm files with hrefs galore, the internet will return to it's wonderful chaotic state, and everyone will be happy.

    This post and the contents thereof are not patented and should be considered prior art if someone tries to patent it. Thank you.

    -----

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2000 @09:36PM (#1209012)
    The council spent all their money buying Adult Check IDs so they could "investigate" all the different kinds of porn sites out there, and the best way to get everybody on AOL so they could censor them all from a single point, just like China!
  • by Arashi ( 36201 ) on Sunday March 12, 2000 @12:12AM (#1209013) Homepage
    As someone who used to run ISP's for a living, (Yes I used Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, AND NT on occasion :-) ) I am quite used to getting the kind of call/letter/email from a member of the outraged public, along the lines of "I searched through all the newsgroups you carry, looked at all the homepages, did some searches on the search engines you link to, and eventually, after two or three hours, I found some filth!"

    The Internet is not a kiddie playground, supervised by social workers and kindly policemen. It is an anarchic meeting ground - different races, different political views, and different business drivers all come together. Sometimes they collaborate, sometimes they fight. However, if we do not encourage the freedom of expression on the Internet, it will cease being the port-of-call that it currently can be, and become just a slower form of Cable TV.

    There are things on the Internet I don't want my children to see - this is also true of TV. It's my responsibility as a parent to make those choices, to educate my children and to share with them why I am making those choices.

    What I would welcome from a legislative body is a process for me to choose what content I view, control where my personal information is stored (and thereby, how big my data shadow grows) and have the ability to publish my thoughts and express my beliefs without fear of prejudice, reprisal, or bigotry.

    It would also be nice if I could be assured that the communications I send and receive remain confidential, retain integrity, and that the channels I communicate over - be it email, web, IRC, telephone, letter, or whatever - undertake to protect those channels, and to maximise their availablity to me.

    I know this may sound like a utopian dream, but this is the kind of aspiration most of us share - we are drawn to OS's like Linux and BSD not only because they extend the invitation to directly participate in their development, but also because those who have already participated in that development have chosen to build it as best they can. Focusing on stability and reliabity has given us a stable platform, which assures us that we can use it as a communications base without fear of being let down.

    We need the same level of assurance in our communications - we need to have an assurance that our privacy is respected, the integrity and confidentiality of our communications is controlled and measurable, and that those who we trust to carry our messages will do so to the best of their ability.

    Part of the answer to this may be strong crypto - certainly things like PGP, Thawte, and so on allow us to set controls on privacy and identity.
    It is not the role of the government to protect us from ourselves - we do not want it, or need it.
  • by Chester K ( 145560 ) on Sunday March 12, 2000 @02:28AM (#1209014) Homepage
    From the article:

    Similar panels in Washington enjoy budgets in excess of $1 million, roughly the cost of a single Tomahawk cruise missile.

    Well, I suppose that's one way of keeping smut off the Internet... just blow up their servers.
  • by RancidPickle ( 160946 ) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @09:40PM (#1209015) Homepage
    Bwahahaha... good thinking...

    "We will now hear from the Beastiality committee, and after the coffee break, we'll have a movie submitted by the S&M committee."

  • by RancidPickle ( 160946 ) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @09:31PM (#1209016) Homepage
    It sounds like there's a lot of heavy-hitters on the panel (AOL, PSInet). It would be in their best interests to fund the panel to keep Al Gore's baby "self-regulating" and "self-policing". They make enough cash to buy little toys like, say, Time-Warner, why not fund it themselves (tax deduction!) aso they can use it to thump their chests and say "We are the dreamers of dreams, and we care enough about Al Gore's invention to make it free of smut and A-bomb plans and unbiased news... oops, scratch the last one."

    Sounds like a big ole' slap in the face (with hot grits and beer). Geez, I'm crazy for not posting this anonymously...
  • by hypergeek ( 125182 ) on Saturday March 11, 2000 @10:42PM (#1209017)
    "Keeping smut out of the hands of children" smacks of a workaround of the real problem.

    This kind of mentality will prevent the formation of a sane society, one that is not afraid of sex and the human body, one in which even a child can tell the difference between images which are art or textbook material and those which are simply in poor taste.

    If we continue sheltering our children from everything, they'll never learn how to protect themselves, and they'll never be able to deal with reality. And we're already seeing the effects of this phenomenon: millions who can't cope with the world around them, and in turn are more willing than ever to sell out their freedoms for a dubious-at-best sense of security.

    And this decrease of freedoms and increase of governmental hand-holding creates more of these helpless people, which feeds the vicious cycle.

    Even if the creation of a sane, healthy society is too "impossible" for lazy and unimaginative politicos to even consider, I think that there's still a quick, simple solution that won't cut our freedoms short:

    Encourage parents to guide their kids while using the Internet.

    [straw man:]
    Of course, thousands of parents cry, "But we can't be there to monitor them 24/7!"

    And, of course, the Powers-That-Be agree. Spending time with your kids means less time "working"... might hurt the economy if parents started doing that en masse.

    But I'm not advocating that parents monitor children's access. By "guiding", I mean teaching kids how to use the Internet responsibly, and instilling a sense of responsibility in them that will follow them wherever they go. Of course, it might mean that parents might have to learn a thing or two about the Internet themselves, not to mention responsibility.

    Overall, however, the benefits to society would be too great to ignore. Children growing up with a sense of responsibility and independence will create adults who aren't afraid to stand up for their freedoms, and who can fend for themselves.

    Also, parents who think they need their kids' access "secured" because they "can't be with their kids all the time" need to severely reexamine their assumptions. What many are trying to say is "I can't spend any time with my kids because I'm at work all the time and I want a magic pill to take the burden of parenting off my shoulders."

    The damage, if any, caused to kids by seeing a few pornographic images absolutely pales in comparison to growing up with no real parental contact.

    Understandibly, there may be situations where this isn't possible, such as single parents (who, btw, have a very tough job and my utmost respect), but children of single parents are usually expected to act with some degree of responsibility and independence in all aspects of life, and these virtues easily translate to the online world. (Not to mention the opposite: that responsibilities in Internet usage can also serve as important lessons for Real Life.)

    Treating the Internet as an excuse to take away kids' freedoms (and consequently, their responsibilities), only serves to erode any responsibility and independence they may have learned offline.

    By ignoring, rejecting, and fearing the ideas laid out above, American society has become its own dirty little secret. Insisting on living a self-destructive lifestyle and avoiding our real problems with shoddy workarounds is insane. But somehow it's become the "American Way".

    --

Remember, even if you win the rat race -- you're still a rat.

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