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New Internet Regulation Proposed 429

bumgutts writes "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has suggested a mandatory website self-rating system. The system, very similar to one suggested under Clinton's administration, would require by law all commercial websites to place 'marks and notices' on each page containing 'sexually explicit' content, with penalty up to 5 years imprisonment." From the article: "A second new crime would threaten with imprisonment Web site operators who mislead visitors about sex with deceptive 'words or digital images' in their source code--for instance, a site that might pop up in searches for Barbie dolls or Teletubbies but actually features sexually explicit photographs. A third new crime appears to require that commercial Web sites not post sexually explicit material on their home page if it can be seen 'absent any further actions by the viewer.'"
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New Internet Regulation Proposed

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  • The defense moves (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nuskrad ( 740518 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:28AM (#15172442)
    It's not porn, it's art!
    • by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:42AM (#15172586)
      How did this get moderated "funny"? It's serious. Surely this law would have to ban nudes in art. The next step would then be to remove them from public display in museums.
      • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:50AM (#15172664)
        From the article:

        The definition of sexually explicit broadly covers... close-ups of fully clothed genital regions.

        There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. It's all laid out right here. They want to criminalize something because it triggers a certain thought. A thought-crime if you will.
        • So I guess the Victoria's Secret site is going to be illegal,too?
        • by AstrumPreliator ( 708436 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:22AM (#15173050)
          It's called incrementalism. They see what they can get away with. If the public gets mad they'll back away and take a few more baby steps. Before you know it you're wonderful "Democracy" is dead and gone. Actually I'm pretty sure we're there already...

          On a separate note I have absolutely no clue why the the United States is so against nudity of any kind and how sex is such a hush-hush topic that parents can't even openly talk to their children about. I mean it's not as if nudity and propagation by means of sexual intercourse are natural or anything. Maybe the United States just wants to do away with sex all together and all offspring will be test tube babies. Think "Demolition Man" type society. Hmm... Have sex? Go to Jail! Comming in 2025!
        • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:38AM (#15173226) Homepage
          From the article:

          The definition of sexually explicit broadly covers... close-ups of fully clothed genital regions.

          Gad! You've gotta be kidding me.

          This would outlaw the Sears catalog and Victoria's Secret catalogs, as well as Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition. (Though, the argument could made that the latter two are more like pr0n ;-)
          There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. It's all laid out right here. They want to criminalize something because it triggers a certain thought. A thought-crime if you will.

          I wish I could disagree with you on this, but I can't. If the US is going to define close-ups of fully clothed genital regions as sexually explicit, the US is now being ran by moral purists and fundamentalists no better than the Taliban.

          What next? Government mandated knee length skirts and an outlawing of tank-tops and makeup? This is absolutely scary.

          Time for a regime change methinks.
      • Why remove nude art, when you can dress them!!!
        -- No longer will the attorney general be photographed in front of two partially nude statues in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice.
        http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002/01/29/sta tues.htm [usatoday.com]
  • Kinda reminds me of this old one [subj.com]. ;)
  • What ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moro_666 ( 414422 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `rotaanimluk'> on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:30AM (#15172458) Homepage
    How exactly are they trying to enforce this ?

      I'd say that the sites that still want to expose erotical/sexual content, would just move 1 inch outside the US, probably Canada. So while all american sites and their revenues are hit bigtime (the search engines will definitely start to filter on this), the other countries get the profit.

      Every tenth poster about Madonna or Catherina Zeta Jones or any other female celebrity is somewhat sexual content.

      Since i'm not an american and i'm nowhere near US, it won't affect me, but it still seems enormously stupid idea. The motivation could be correct, but the implementation will suck.
    • Re:What ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by McGiraf ( 196030 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:34AM (#15172490)
      "The motivation could be correct, but the implementation will suck."

      That, my friend, is the definition of the USA.
      • Re:What ? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:18PM (#15178606)
        I am an American, and I could certainly take offense to your +5 Insightful remark, however I won't because you still got it wrong. The implementation will probably be quite impressive, from a technological perspective (just a dedicated Web crawler and associated new Justice Department bureaucracy to manage the fines and press related charges against offending site operators) but the motivations are most definitely not correct, as the GP put it. I'm not sure if this is a matter of misguided right-wing pseudo-Puritanism or a simple Federal power grab, or something worse, but any way you slice it the motives aren't pure, you can bet your case buck on that.
    • Re:What ? (Score:5, Funny)

      by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:34AM (#15172502)
      the sites that still want to expose erotical/sexual content, would just move 1 inch outside the US

      Hi, you must be new to American diplomacy.
    • Re:What ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lbrandy ( 923907 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:42AM (#15172593)
      Since i'm not an american and i'm nowhere near US, it won't affect me

      Instead of reading the the summary, thinking for 9 seconds, and posting as quickly as possible with the first kneejerk reaction you have, in order to get karma, you might want to consider reading the article. Among other things, this has been proposed before, it is also being considered in Australia (getting closer to home yet?) with the next logical step being that search engines will only (be forced to) index rated sites (effect you yet?), and the US will be able to use it's considerable clout to help get similar legislation passed around the world?
      • But without using a "Great Firewall of America", how are they going to prevent americans from using other search engines and other websites? Is that the way we're going?
    • I'd say that the sites that still want to expose erotical/sexual content, would just move 1 inch outside the US, probably Canada.

      Why would they do that? None of the proposed measures ban sexual content, and putting a notice on the pages is easy enough. And for those who are seeking it, labelling would actually make finding it easier. If you are saying revenues would take a hit from people who unwittingly get lured in and now would not, well I can live with that.

      I do agree, however, that a US-only

  • by CaptCommy ( 872383 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:32AM (#15172475) Homepage
    While it sounds like a decent idea, I'm really all for the whole uncensored and unregulated internet. It's more interesting to me to see what people do with the total freedom granted to them. The more stuff like this that's get passed, the closer we move to real censorship. Okay, so I know I probably sound like I just put a fresh bit of tinfoil on this morning, but I really like my internet the way it is.
    • Yesterday I was watching the news (amazing I know) and saw an old chinese woman protesting peacefully outside the whitehouse. She was the only one, but a police officer came and escorted here away. I'd say we are in the midst of the end of our freedoms anyways. All those soldiers that supposibly "died for our freedoms" are rolling in their graves right now because we don't have it anymore and they essentially died for nothing except to say that our way of government was the right one. Which is just what
      • Re:Too late (Score:3, Informative)

        by torokun ( 148213 )
        actually, there were quite a few people outside the white house protesting.

        this woman used press credentials (probably for shintangren (NTD?), the falungong media group) to get on the white house grounds, up on the camera stand, and then started screaming at the top of her lungs at president Hu when he started talking...

        Bush indicated to Hu that he was ok, and he should go on.

        The press guys tried to chill her out, but didn't restrain her.

        Finally, secret service got up to the top of the platform and escorted
        • Re:Too late (Score:3, Informative)

          by databyss ( 586137 )
          Not exactly false pretenses, the whitehouse guys said she has valid credentials and has attended numerous other press conferences.

          "Hadley said Wang was an accredited journalist who had attended White House events before "and had not raised a problem.""

          The disruption part was the only bad part. Although there's mention in another athat they are considering additional federal charges against her.

          "She was charged with disorderly conduct and could face additional federal charges, said service spokesman Eric Za
      • Re:Too late (Score:4, Insightful)

        by The Snowman ( 116231 ) * on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:05AM (#15172841)

        She did yell out [cnn.com] to Bush and Jintao, which maybe could be considered disturbing the peace or something given the context. It was not a rally, not a demonstration, it was two heads of state with press coverage. So maybe it was in bad taste on her part, but I don't see how she did anything as bad as the press makes it out to be.

        I think this law, while it might have some positive consequences, is bad overall. The first step to restricting freedom of speech is regulating speech. While we do have broad categories of "bad" speech such as speech designed to cause panic and mayhem ("fire" in a movie theater), or false claims (slander), there really isn't a whole lot of regulation by the government. This is a good thing. I want the government doing its job (defending my borders and protecting my rights) while I do my job. I don't see how regulating citizens' speech or removing their freedoms is the government's job in a country that prides itself on how free it is.

    • An uncensored internet is great, but for things like schools and libraries, enforcing metadata to be sent along with page requests describing the content of the page is probably a good idea. Provided it's not actually censoring.. it should be left up to the admin of the network/computer. The worry is that ISPs might start doing blanket censoring with proxies, so they can say "We're supportive of the good old fashioned right-winged Christian American family."

      The PICS ratings and stuff always seemed like a go
    • Lucky for you, the AG has no role in the law making process whatsoever. There are much louder voices in the lobbying process, too. You're only hearing about this instead of the 500 other things he did yesterday because it's unpopular. If it makes it into law, it's not the AG's fault; it's congress' fault.
  • boobies (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:32AM (#15172476)
    The Fark 'boobies' tag finally gets the nationwide recognition it deserves...
  • uh, search? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <info&devinmoore,com> on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:32AM (#15172484) Homepage Journal
    All you have to do is know one name, one word even, and any search anywhere will return adult material. Are they gonna put something in front of that? How about just typing in a url that goes to some detail page beyond the index page? Blocking all of that takes a trememdous amount of work... way harder than just "watch your kids" and "tell them about what's there". Any kid can go into a bookstore and see books with adult material in them, in fact you can go to any commercial big-box bookstore (barnes + noble, etc) and you'll see a slew of underage kids in the adult book area. We're just people, people!
  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:34AM (#15172495)

    Note: I am a conservative, but I still don't like most of what Gonzales does.

    A third new crime appears to require that commercial Web sites not post sexually explicit material on their home page if it can be seen 'absent any further actions by the viewer.

    This one actually makes sense. I have young students that occasionally search for school-related things using Google. Some of the sites that come up are questionable at best. I apprecite those webmasters that have the decency to place a warning and no explicit material on their portal page. Even better are those that make you agree to view the content and set a cookie. That way no matter what page you enter to (since Google doesn't give preference on most searches to a home page as opposed to one deep in the site), the cookie is checked and you get the "agree/disagree" page no matter what.

    However, it seems a bit unenforcable. I mean, what about websites overseas? What about websites overseas operated by American's? What about websites in the US operated by foreigners? I think that there are still too many unresolved questions about jurisdiction on the Internet. I would think that as a lawyer, Gonzales would understand that. This is something that depends on the goodwill of the webmasters, much like most other things on the 'net.

    • I have young students that occasionally search for school-related things using Google. Some of the sites that come up are questionable at best.

      So, you click on (enter) someone else's website (property) and have the nerve to complain about how they run things? Welcome to the concept of individual sovereignity.
      • by giorgiofr ( 887762 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:25AM (#15173071)
        If he sees a sign saying "candy shop" and enters and asks for candies and they give him pr0n, I think he's got some rights to complain and leave. He said in his post that he would LIKE people to behave sensibly, not that people who trick you should be shot on sight.
        Besides... if you wanna step into the "individuals' rights" territory: how about my right to do what I want with my voice (and scream at them) or email server (and email flood them) or botnet (and DDOS them)? It's my property, you know?
        The only thing that's needed here is some sense in both the pr0n distributors and those who dislike pr0n. To the latter: you don't wanna see it, ok, but don't censor it. To the former: they don't want to see it, but you want to make it accessible, ok, but don't go scrubbing it in their face! Otherwise it will simply degenerate in yet another war, fought by means of regulations and laws and trials and public campaigns and blocking software and circumventing popups and DNS poisoning and...
    • That one stood out as the one that made least sense. Addressability is one of the most important underpinnings of the WWW. It's the reason why frames and some Ajax applications break so badly. It's the reason why you can email pages to friends, why you can bookmark and why things like search engines and del.icio.us work.

      A harebrained cookie scheme to try and force everybody through your homepage not only causes all kinds of technical problems, when it fails, the visitor can't even get into your websi

      • A harebrained cookie scheme to try and force everybody through your homepage not only causes all kinds of technical problems, when it fails, the visitor can't even get into your website. That's not to say that people don't try to make it work, just that it's impossible to do correctly, and impossible to even attempt without going completely against everything that makes the WWW work so well.

        Touché. I have tried to throw out the baby with the bath water.

        I am not trying to say that it is the respon

    • I like the concept of coming up with a standard rating system where websites can set flags based on their content. It would make it easier for us (as parents, not the government) to regulate what our kids watch/view/read online.

      I, however, want to see if voluntarily implemented and balk at government enforcement.

      a) It would be impossible to enforce
      b) There are better things we should be spending the money on. (like closing up the border from ILLEGALS)
      c) Being a conservative, I believe in smaller Gov
      • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:25AM (#15173080)
        Since even the conservatives are being sensible here, maybe we need to re-examine this whole idea that we, as parents and educators, even can regulate everything that is seen and experienced by our children. I have yet to hear even one anecdotal account of any child's life being ruined by catching a glimpse of Janet Jackson's nipple, and yet we're conditioned to get hysterical over this stuff. Does anyone really think that it is even possible to keep children completely ignorant about their sexuality until they turn 18?

        Perhaps a better approach would be to educate kids about the things they're likely to run into, while giving them a more solid foundation from which to evaluate it morally and ethically.

    • by petecarlson ( 457202 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:08AM (#15172880) Homepage Journal
      WTF is a "home page" and who decides what page is the "home page"? Heres my 1000 pages of whatever and one page that says "click here to enter".

      If the proposed bill is anything like the description in the article, then it shows that the drafters of said bill have no fucking idea what they are doing or what the internet is but rather view a "site" as something like a teevee channel. If they actually gave a shit about the content that young children are exposed to, then they would push for a .xxx domain name. Don't want XXX? filter it out.

          "I hope that Congress will take up this legislation promptly," said Gonzales, who gave a speech about child exploitation and the Internet to the federally funded National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The proposed law is called the Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006.

      Guess what. We allready have laws about child exploitation and child pornography. Drop the red herring, stop the sensational bullshit, and work on the problem in a rational manner. //rant

    • I suppose the thinking is this is much like the brown wrapper you see around pron mags with explicit cover art ;) I'm against that as well as this proposal. If mommy takes little Johnny to a store that displays explicit porn in plain view chances are good she will never go back. The store owner is either ok with this loss of business or he will change his practices. As to the net - I'm tired of this whole "we're protecting the kids" BS. It is your job as a parent to watch your kids - not mine and not
  • by Memetic ( 306131 )
    A firm definition of sexually explicit would need to be written in. If left open to interpretaion ISP's will be dropping sites a the first complaint for fear of injunctions.

    Afterall the difference between kinky nad perverted is just that between using a feather and the whole bird to tickle...
  • Damned Feds!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikelieman ( 35628 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:35AM (#15172509) Homepage
    Where EXACTLY in the Constitution of The United States is this authority delegated from The People or The States to The Damned Feds?

  • A litmus test (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clevershark ( 130296 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:37AM (#15172524) Homepage
    What if your site has that famous picture of Ed Meese talking about his commission on pornography in front of the bare-breasted statue of Justice? Is it art? It is news? It is porn?

    Gonzales seems way too obsessed with pornography. Someone should give him a subscription to Hustler online or something like that so he can, er, release a little pressure.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:39AM (#15172546)
    During his speech, Gonzales also warned that Internet service providers must begin to retain records of their customers' activities to aid in future criminal prosecutions

    Future criminal prosecutions, whenever the government deems it necessary for those who might cause problems for them. The implication is the government does not trust its own citizenry, and must have the ability to invade their privacy at any time in order to control or silence them.

    What other ways can people be spied on by the government? Is this what we want, a paternalistic government and a paranoid society?
  • by gasmonso ( 929871 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:39AM (#15172547) Homepage

    What is with this disturbing attitude towards sex in the US? It's just sex people and nothing more. Violence is far worse than boobies and has a more profound effect on kids. Its insane that showing people getting killed and beaten is more acceptable than sex. Sounds like the US still hasn't excaped their puritan past and that's sad.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by sane? ( 179855 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:40AM (#15172562)
    US politicos, repeat after me:

    1) The US is not the world, so your laws can go hang.

    2) Your views of what is sexually explicit are screwed up, so your rating system would be as well.

    3) The real problem are the spammer and scammers stealing millions from the public. When I don't receive 100s of spams a day - then you can start getting worked up over boobies.

    4) We don't trust you, we certainly don't trust you enough to let you do something this. Earn that trust back first.

  • I mean a quick butchers at Google [google.co.uk] gives 155,000 entries for "Offshore hosting" which kind of removes the teeth from this.
  • by adnonsense ( 826530 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:43AM (#15172598) Homepage Journal
    "A second new crime would threaten with imprisonment Web site operators who mislead visitors about sex with deceptive 'words or digital images' in their source code--for instance, a site that might pop up in searches for Barbie dolls or Teletubbies but actually features sexually explicit photographs"

    One of my sites features prominent images of "Tinky Winky getting it on with the Noo-Noo", "Tubby Custard Full Facials", "Over the Hills and Far Away, Hot Barely Legal Teletubbies Come to Play - With Each Other and Also With a Mysterious Large Cylindrical Object" etc. etc.

    I hope that will not lead to legal misunderstandings which would put me in line for a stint of federally sponsored rectal enlargement.

  • I kind of understand the comment about sites being misleading by including the words "Teletubbies" and "Barbie" in a site that is actually full of sexually explicit photographs...

    But what of sites that feature sexually explicit photographs of Teletubbies and Barbie? It is deceptive in that case?

    And why only commercial sites? What about Ken and Tinky-winky's all amateur web-cam -- totally free, totally K`inky?
    • Because the federal government has absolutely no authority to create such a law, but are always keen on using the "interstate trade" loophole to do whatever the hell they want.

      The rest of your message.. I was going to post :)
  • I'm putting a gold star on every webpage I own, whether it's porn or not. Let the king of denmark serve as an example.
  • Why is it that every few months I hear someone clamor for a standard to do this, when there already is one, and it is already supported by 90% of the PCs on the planet?

    Check out the ICRA [icra.org] which has been around since the late 90s. A standard which is already supported by Internet Explorer [microsoft.com] and most commercial internet filtering software.
  • Morons (Score:4, Informative)

    by cortana ( 588495 ) <`ku.gro.stobor' `ta' `mas'> on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:51AM (#15172677) Homepage
    Great, more morons who don't understand PICS [w3.org]. At least this is better than the .xxx domain.
  • "...would require by law all commercial websites to place 'marks and notices' on each page containing 'sexually explicit' content, with penalty up to 5 years imprisonment."

    So all comercial sites will have to add pornographic marks and notices on each of their pages?? I don't want to be bombarded with porn each time I visit e-bay thank you very much! I'm sure that's meant to read "on each page that contains 'sexually explicit' content"!

  • I'm gonna rate my website "Wacky"! Or maybe "Best Page In The Universe". Oh, wait, someone did that. OK. Wacky it is!
  • This should get kicked by the SC like prior attempts to do the same...hopefully.
  • by Flying pig ( 925874 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:57AM (#15172721)
    The UK has an amazing law which allows its citizens - (sorry, subjects of Her Gracious Majesty Elizabeth II von Battenberg Saxe Coburg Gotha usw) to be rendered to the US at the request of the US authorities without their having to present any evidence that a crime has been committed. Imagine the fun of this one. I host a site in the UK without the flag, which is viewed by an American. As a result, the US Govt. decides to extradite me to the US as a result of an action beyond my control, i.e. the decision of a US ISP to permit relaying of an illegal website to a US citizen. And my heroic Government will do nothing to intervene. Of course, if the website is hosted in, say, France, the US authorities will simply have to interpret French legal expressions like "Merde alors".
  • The law assumes an unhackable web server.

    If this law made it to the books and someone got busted with it, all they'd have to do is claim they were hacked. And as soon as the next patch comes out covering some hole in your web server's system, that's your reasonable doubt. "Hackers must have used the XYZ exploit just patched last week to remove the tags."

  • by SpecialAgentXXX ( 623692 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @09:59AM (#15172750)
    This reminds me of the whole GTA:SA Hot Coffee mod. While a lot of other countries were concerned about the violence in this game (nevermind that it was recommended for mature audiences), the US politicians only went nuts when grainy, pixellated, soft-core cartoon sex was depicted in a hack.

    I used to wonder how obsessed people must be over sex to get all worked up over this. Then I had a conversation with a Christian fundamentalist. Wow. The things they believe. They truly think they are doing God's work by imposing their will on the rest of us. And even more frightening, it's not just sex, but their whole perspective on everything which explains a lot about our foreign policy.

    I hear that in Europe, their advertising has bare-breasted women. I don't see the Europeans running crazily through the streets and their societies falling apart. Yet when JJ flashed a boob at the SuperBowl, the US gov went nuts. Makes you wonder who has the more stable society...
  • I've been using Freenet 0.7, and it's both fast and network-light now - pretty impressive. Looks like they made it just in time...
  • This from a guy who says that laws prohibiting torture "do not apply to the president" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Gonzales [wikipedia.org])

  • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:06AM (#15172852) Journal
    So how do you determine what's "commercial" site or not?

    You can subscribe to Slashdot; does that make slashdot a commercial site? Will Slashdot have to put up a "sexually explicit" warning just in case some geek posts a comment about his hot-and-bothered thoughts about Princess Leia or Natalie Portman covered with grits?

    Slashdot'll be in a real bind -- either censor comments, or get filtered out of any work sites because of the "sexually explicit" label. Indeed, any blog that accepts user comments will face the same dilemma: either start censoring, or be censored by filtering software and employer policies.

    How do you determine what's "sexually explicit"? Recently someone on Fark (also a site that has subscription membership) posted about getting his balls stuck in the slats of his chair. and Fark regularly features a photoshop of a squirrel with enormous testicles.

    Are those posts and pictures sexually explicit? Ask your lawyer when you're faced with five years jail time for guessing wrong.

    Metafilter.com requires a one-time fee to post; it has a popular section devoted to users' questions, many of which are of a sexual nature. Does a post asking about a relationship that's lost its "sexual spark", with details of the sex life, count as sexually explicit?

    Will the site owner be willing to risk five years in jail to find out?

    Gonzales also wants ISPs to keep records of what sites customers browse, so here's where I think this is going:

    • Force sites to put up "sexually explicit" interstitial pages which require a user to explicitly click;
    • Force ISPs to record that the user did explicitly click to see the "sexually explicit" pages;
    • And then prosecute the people who do look at those pages.

    Of course, they'll start with uncontroversial prosecutions of people looking at kiddie porn, but they won't stop there: next it'll be anime and manga, then it'll be BDSM, they anything -- like gay porn -- that violates the "community standards" of the most narrow-minded Federal venue they can find. Expect a lot of the cases to be tried in Utah and Georgia and the ever-conservative western District of Pennsylvania.

    Look guys, it requires the House of Representatives to pass this crap. If you're an American and you're old enough tot look at "sexually explicit" stuff, you're also old enough to vote. Check out the political party Gonzales is a part of, and vote for the other one in November. Or you'll have only yourself to blame when any but the most vanilla sites disappear from the Internet.

  • by Entropy ( 6967 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:12AM (#15172931)
    a mandatory website self-rating system. The system, very similar to one suggested under Clinton's administration, would require by law all commercial websites

    Self rating yet mandatory? Is it me or is there an inherent contradiction in this? This is just a law to get "a foot in the door" so the government can have more excuses to eventually control the net as a whole. "Self regulation has been proven to fail, we MUST apply this NEW more restrictive law ..." will come down the pike a couple years after this has passed.

  • In his press release, Mr. Gonzales brought up the statistic that "one in five children has been solicited online".

    To which my wife and I looked at each other and went "Uh - really. One in five."

    And then I started to wonder. Was this children solicited by adults? How are we defining children? Is this just a sampling of MySpace users, assuming that all solicitees are children, and all soliciters are adults? Are we including two teenagers including lovey-dovey emails to each other, or kids hanging out in Pokemon chat rooms getting hit on my a pedophile?

    I'd like to see the numbers, because I've been in lots of forums, have recieved emails from adults and teens about things I've written (like a "Xenosaga Backtracking" article), and I haven't seen a random person pop up in one of these forums "Hey, that's a nice Pikachu - now I'd like to see you naked!"

    Granted, maybe I'm naive - but I have the feeling that "one in five" is either inflated, or including things that most people would never consider solicitation (again, such as minors hitting on minors).
    • Imagine you have a study of solicitations per 100 children. Those 100 children report 20 solicitations. That's 1 in 5 right?

      Wrong. Why? Because that could be 1 child that frequents certain sites of ill-repute and getting 20 solicitations. That's 1 in 100, not the aforementioned 1 in 5. While I don't think it's that low, I don't think it's that high.

      Odd how a story about porn reveals the perverse nature of statistics.
  • I wonder if this will impact google cache or google images searches.
  • New crimes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:17AM (#15172996)
    A second new crime... A third new crime...

    Am I the only one who is disgusted by the wording? What, are prisons not full enough yet?

    I guess when there are not enough criminals, we just have to make new crimes...
  • Another Shell Game (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0x0000 ( 140863 ) <zerohex@zerohex.cUMLAUTom minus punct> on Friday April 21, 2006 @10:54AM (#15173418) Homepage

    Like so much of the spew that the current US Regime continues to produce, this is clearly another case of "distract them while we slip it to them". I am actually surprised that out of the 40-some-odd posts I've read here about this resurrection of Tipper's late abortive attempt at protecting the Internet from Children, only one of them has even mentioned the real thrust of this legislation - which unsurprisingly has nothing at all to with pr0n or protection of netizens from it.

    Gonzales also warned that Internet service providers must begin to retain records [com.com] of their customers' activities to aid in future criminal prosecutions -TFA

    This is wrong on a number of levels, and Gonzales' attempt to exploit minors as "victims" of the Internet and its alleged pr0n is just that: Another Republicrat attempt to exploit children as a means of manipulating their parents.

    Furthermore, fuck Gonzales and his repeated and ongoing assertions that use of the Internet is de facto evidence of some "criminal activity". He is at the heart of what is arguably the most criminal Regime ever to control the US - the crimes of his mentors in this administration start with treason and continue down thru spousal abuse and criminal malfeasance. How can it not be obvious that this pathetic smokescreen is simply backing for his attempts to force ISPs to aid in government efforts to regulate and control political Speech?

    A headline has been running for several days now concerning Yahoo's apparent liability in the imprisonment of a Chinese national for political speech in China. How much longer before we see reports that ATT, Google, Yahoo, or MSN have supplied information leading to the political imprisonment of US citizens? Careful, that's a trick question - if that Chinese fellow had been in the US, he would have been labelled a terrorist, and there would have been no reports, since there is no longer any requirement that the govt announce the fact once they have imprisoned a citizen for this new class of "crimes"....

    "You might be gang-related..."
  • Cue Paranoia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Java Ape ( 528857 ) <mike.briggsNO@SPAM360.net> on Friday April 21, 2006 @11:28AM (#15173796) Homepage
    I'm getting very worried about the religeous right dictating legislation. As it happens, I am personally opposed to pornography, but strongly believe in the individuals right to choose. This legislation seems to be trying to strike the right balance by making sexually-explicit content self-label. However, as the maintainer of several websites, I have some concerns:
    • The "Please protect the children" plea is overused, and raises a red flag for me. Once censorship is approved for one set of materials, it becomes very easy to gradually expand that list to include all materials deemed dangerous/undesirable by the ruling class. I see the camel's nose coming into the public tent.
    • All sex-related legislation suffers from the difficulty of defining the material affected by the legislation. My wife reads romance novels that I would probably classify as pornographic. Naturally, she disagrees. I have seen nude photography that, in my opinion, is clearly art, but others would denounce as blatantly sexual. Humans are complex creatures, and highly sexual in nature -- nearly any object or body-part can be considered sexually-charged in some context. So, who makes the rules? As soon as breasts/genetalia are outlawed, some moral watchdog will point out that tight clothing, short skirts or exposed ankles are also inherently "sexy" and should be regulated. Burka's all around!
    • Apparently it will be a crime for a sexually-explicit theme to be linked to innocent search terms in a search engine. Interesting. I don't control the search engines, or how they associate text and sites -- in fact those algorithms are carefully protected. So, if Yahoo, for reasons known only to it, indexes my site under "Cartoons" or "Fun" or whatever, I can be held criminally accuntable even I have labeled any explicit material as mature, and provide an opportunity for the underaged to exit? There's a serious flaw in this reasoning.
  • by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) on Friday April 21, 2006 @11:58AM (#15174112)
    Censorship is limitation on content. This proposal does not limit content, nor does it pose an unreasonable burden on the viewer or the website.

    Requiring a MetaTag does not rise to censorship, because it does not limit content. It's truth in advertising. It's also is trivial to implement. Requiring a home page with a enter button (that would set a cookie or session to signify acceptance for the rest of the site) also does not limit content. It too is trivial to implement. It would also probably withstand challange in court since it is no more restrictive than the brown paper cover over a magazine, which is already required in many places.

    If this proposal limited content or imposed an onerous burden, then I too would call it censorship. But it does neither.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"