Clamor For Censorship Grows

from the save-the-children dept

The National Coalition for Protection of Children and Families has been busy: they've been meeting with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to push for a crackdown on "racy content" on cable and satellite television, while also talking to the trade body of US wireless carriers and the FCC about its concerns that kids might be exposed to mobile phone porn. On its web site, the group says its representatives will "ask how we can assist the FCC and CTIA as they draft and review guidelines to meet the oversight demands of wireless emerging technologies" -- given the group's apparent lack of technical or reglatory expertise, it's safe to assume that all they're interested in is censoring materials they deem offensive. While the logical answer, if people are so offended by the material on various media -- cable or satellite TV, the Internet, satellite radio and now cell phones -- would simply be for them not to buy or use them, with the current top priority of the Attorney General to crack down on porn alongside Martin's political, rather than technical, efficacy content providers of all stripes are probably getting a little worried that they're about to be labeled smut peddlers. The follow-on effect will likely be a chill on all sorts of potentially offensive content, with the potential repercussions outweighing the benefits for content providers. HBO had better hurry up with that last season of The Sopranos.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Slojohn, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 4:12pm

    NCPCF?

    Why can't the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families concentrate more on child abuse, deadbeat parents, and poverty? As I see it, these pose more of a threat than racy content on television systems you have too pay for to see. Newer satellite and cable systems have rating controls that are pretty intuitive, I keep my 4 year old from seeing anything over a PG rating with a combination of the controls and just paying attention to what she is watching. Why can't others?

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 4:28pm

    Porn on cellphones affects children who use cellph

    Porn is easily accessible to any person of any age as soon as they use unfiltered web access. That's what you have web filters for. The filters are essential to the emotional well-being and development of impressionable kids. If you think it's OK for kids to be looking at porn on the internet, then you'd better write that. Otherwise, it's clear that media content accessible through cellphones should be filtered for all children who use cellphones, just as it should be for children who use the web.
    Kids 8 years old and up have cellphones. Obviously, their parents need to filter the kids' cellphone content. If porn is available on cellphones, then cellphone service providers should offer filtering of that content. Parents ought to demand that protection from their kids' cellphone service providers.

     

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  3.  
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    VonSkippy, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 4:37pm

    Ban all Religious Fuktards

    Why are religious people so farking stupid?

    It's cute when it's a 4 year old kid and the mythical figure is Santa Claus.

    It's sad and pathetic when it's an adult and the myth is any (yes ANY) religion.

    Grow up people - it's called being responsible for your own actions.

     

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  4.  
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    StereotypeLover, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Ban all Religious Fuktards

    Wow, VonSkippy - you might as well call "religious people" retarted inbred n1ggers since you obviously can't hold back your label-ridden hate vomit.
    Careful - Most people end up drowning in their own....

     

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  5.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 31st, 2005 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Porn on cellphones affects children who use ce

    Porn is easily accessible to any person of any age as soon as they use unfiltered web access. That's what you have web filters for. The filters are essential to the emotional well-being and development of impressionable kids.

    You say that as if filters are guaranteed to work -- which they clearly don't.

    Also, why does this get thrown back on the mobile operators, when they're just offering a service? Why not go after the content providers?

     

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  6.  
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    jdw, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 5:16pm

    Re: NCPCF?


    because, as is quite apparent these days, parents are damn lazy and don't lift a finger to become involved in their children's lives.
    It's all about make the final excuse of 'I work to feed/keep my family alive'. Horse turds.
    I've been to the bottom; I've scraped my way back up, and yet, I can still find time to BE with my daughter and monitor her TV viewing.
    Satellite and Cable are paid choices. Someone without (apparent?) anything real pressing going on in their lives are wasting my hard earned money by trying to get some half-brained legislation passed to screw up my choice.
    I'd say we're very close to the tipping point for those of us that actually act upon our rights as US citizens. Maybe it's time we fired those in the governemtn that have forgotten they work for us, and we choose by majority around here.

     

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  7.  
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    roglisk, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 5:25pm

    Re: NCPCF?

    Very very well said.

     

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  8.  
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    VonSkippy, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Ban all Religious Fuktards

    They're all morons and I'm tired of their stupid beliefs spilling over the "Separation of Church and State" line.

     

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  9.  
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    Steve Mueller, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 6:39pm

    Intolerance

    VonSkippy wrote:

    Why are religious people so farking stupid?

    It's cute when it's a 4 year old kid and the mythical figure is Santa Claus.

    It's sad and pathetic when it's an adult and the myth is any (yes ANY) religion.

    Grow up people - it's called being responsible for your own actions.

    Congratulations on proving yourself as intolerant as the religious people you condemn. Can you say "hypocrisy"? That "Separation of Church and State" you later mention is based on the First Amendment. That same Amendment guarantees people the right to free speech, including speech that could potentially eliminate those Constitutional rights. It's part of political discourse.

    If somebody advocates something that violates the Constitution, it should be up to our elected represeentatives to realize that and ignore those advocating that position. If the legislators don't, then the courts can. However, that in no way lessens the original right to take that position.

    As for assuming that some family group is religious, when did that happen? Just because somebody is pro-family doesn't mean they have to be religious. Protecting children is as much a biological imperative as it is a religious one.

    By the way, I'm all for racy content and am not religious, so don't bother trying to lump me in with your "farking stupid" people (although you should probably add yourself to that group).

     

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  10.  
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    aminor with an attitude, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Porn on cellphones affects children who use ce

    you generally have to try to get porn on the internet. If your kid sees porn on their cell phone they probably knew what they were doing. All this comes down to is whether you can teach the kid not to want the porn in the first place.

     

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  11.  
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    anonymous, Aug 31st, 2005 @ 11:22pm

    what is smutt?

    Everyday I see programming on TV that is no worse than the garbage they call day time soap operas. Which is shown in broad daylight for small children to see. But the mothers watch it, and expose their children to the very crap that most of them are complaining about during prime time. There is incest, rape, adulty, murders, and every kind of crap you can think of on daytime soap operas.

    You people are appalling to me, you really are. First you don't want censorship, and you want the rights to free speech, now you want the FCC to clean up after you. Just what is smut? And why can't you just enable that V chip, and change the station if you don't like what you see? Decide first what is smut. What I am really worried about here is "it's safe to assume that all they're interested in is censoring materials they deem offensive. "

    This can make your skin crawl because before you know it they will find a reason to label anything offensive. Just because they can. Or because someone will come along and throw their power around and they will be dropping programming right and left just because someone doesn't like the topic of the show. Be careful what you wish for folks.

    I believe the FCC as well as parents and those around the USA who want to scream fowl at the networks first have to clean up what is already out there for our children to watch. Leave the damn cable stations alone. We pay for that so called smut!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 12:23am

    Options for controlling access to Porn


    No, filters are not guaranteed to work. But they're essential, because they're what's available currently to protect a child curious about porn. Forget that "You promise that you're over 18..." form button.
    Of course parents should do more, content providers should do more, and so on. That's not the point. Filters are better than nothing, when parents aren't hovering over their kids' cellphone. This FCC chairman might be a Christian loony, afraid of dirty jokes on television. At the same time, convergence is increasing kids' access to porn. So while the FCC pursues its right-wing themes, it also deals with the real problem of internet porn.
    You mentioned that the content providers could control porn access. Great idea, and why not legislate for both access providers filters and content provider shields. Maybe content providers should be forced to perform identity-checks before they'll show so much as a teaser ad. Is that what you're proposing? Even in that case access provider filtering is necessary because providers control the bandwidth carrying the content. Their filters are effective chokepoints for porn.
    Anyhow, shielding children from porn access is no hot potato; providers can't just complain about how its unfair and hurts their business model. If providers ignore the effects of porn on kids, then it's great that right-wing pressure groups are pushing for legislation, because they'll get something done.
    At one time, you might have thought that only pimply-faced college students were downloading internet porn. But modern porn is viewed by older men, middle-aged women, teenagers, and even kids entering puberty. So this is about letting young kids watch hardcore straight porn, gay porn, violent sex, sadomasochistic sex, cartoon sex, sex-toy use, bestiality, and every marketed permutation of the above.
    So right now, kids need protection from porn more than providers need protection from regulation of porn.

     

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  13.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 1st, 2005 @ 12:37am

    Re: what is smutt?

    You people are appalling to me, you really are. First you don't want censorship, and you want the rights to free speech, now you want the FCC to clean up after you. Just what is smut? And why can't you just enable that V chip, and change the station if you don't like what you see? Decide first what is smut. What I am really worried about here is "it's safe to assume that all they're interested in is censoring materials they deem offensive. "

    This can make your skin crawl because before you know it they will find a reason to label anything offensive. Just because they can. Or because someone will come along and throw their power around and they will be dropping programming right and left just because someone doesn't like the topic of the show. Be careful what you wish for folks.


    Er... You need to read the original post with your sarcasm filter turned back ON. The point Carlo was making was exactly what you were saying.

     

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  14.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 1st, 2005 @ 12:40am

    Re: Options for controlling access to Porn

    But they're essential, because they're what's available currently to protect a child curious about porn

    Um, but that's the thing... despite you're claim that they're somehow "essential" they don't work. They let plenty of stuff through that they shouldn't and the block plenty of stuff that they shouldn't... and kids don't learn how to deal with what they come across. Good parenting is much more important than some MANDATORY filters that don't work and give parents a FALSE sense of security. Let the parents decide if they want to use filters or not. Don't make the government force them on everyone.

     

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  15.  
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    anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 1:30am

    Re: what is smutt?

    They still have good points in theirs that Carlo didn't even have.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 2:00am

    Re: Options for controlling access to Porn

    I guess I feel your pain about all that stupid censorship crap, but on the other hand, web porn at least as important to address as the imperfections of government-censored web access.

    So instead, let the government decide if providers want to apply filters or not. Parents will want those filters for their kids. Mandatory works for me, if the alternative is what we have now. Better is that parental control of filters be cheap or free to parents, with providers using filters (by force of government mandate) for all known under-18 cellphone users.
    If you're so upset about the inadequacy and malfunction of filters, then write about how to improve them, given that reliable filters will help prevent kids viewing porn.
    On the other hand, if you are genuinely concerned about EVERY cellphone user's right to get their porn, then write that. I doubt that, so you'll agree that parents need working filters for their kids, regardless of what their kids want.
    Cellphones are part of life for kids, but porn doesn't have to be. No matter what parents might want, they can't control kids access to porn once kids hit puberty. Technology convergence makes sure of that. So working filters are a needed step forward for parents, don't you think?

     

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  17.  
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    Mike (profile), Sep 1st, 2005 @ 2:23am

    Re: Options for controlling access to Porn

    Well, a few things... first of all, there really isn't that much mobile porn out there, so to make it out that it's some huge problem that kids are running into is wrong.

    Second, I don't quite understand why you seem to believe that the options are mandatory filters or no filters at all. If parents want filters, let them have filters, but why should it be mandatory?

    As for saying I need to improve filters... um... why? I'm not selling filters, that's not my job. However, pointing out that they don't work, and often make the problem worse is fair game if it's true -- which it is.

    Finally, your last paragraph doesn't make much sense:

    Cellphones are part of life for kids, but porn doesn't have to be. No matter what parents might want, they can't control kids access to porn once kids hit puberty. Technology convergence makes sure of that. So working filters are a needed step forward for parents, don't you think?

    Hmm. Who said that kids automatically get porn when they get a mobile phone. I've owned mobile phones for years and have never, not once, viewed any porn on one. So, why should everyone be forced to have filters that cause all sorts of problems to solve a problem that isn't even there? I'd much prefer that parents teach their kids how to understand right from wrong and to know how to avoid problematic content. Too many parents will end up using mandatory filters as a crutch and not teach their kids how to deal with what they're seeing. Then, when they do see it later (as you noted, once they hit puberty, they'll find a way), they'll be *less* prepared to deal with what they're seeing.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 3:33am

    Re: Options for controlling access to Porn

    Well, once mobile porn hits the big time, filters will be appropriate. That's what the original article made me think of. The write-up of free speech rights is not too interesting to me. Porn sells mobiles in Asia, manga cellphone porn is popular in Japan, moantones are popular here, and web-enabled high-res cellphone browsing is on the way. Cellphone porn, therefore, is also on the way.

    So parents will want filters, easy ways to protect kids, ways that the parents don't have to constantly monitor. That's when a good filter on any web-browsing device (cell-phones included) is handy.

    If parents do want filters on their cellphones, then as a disinterested party, what provider or product do you recommend? Maybe you're a parent, and you think that kids should be taught right from wrong, so the need for filters doesn't concern you. In that case, maybe you know how to influence kids to avoid porn. If so, what's your method? How did you check the method for success? If you're not a parent, but you've researched such methods, please share them on Techdirt. Thanks!

     

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  19.  
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    AC, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 7:28am

    Re: Options for controlling access to Porn



    Repeat after me: boobies are not evil.




    Every thing else going on here is either a fabrication of people trying to curry political favor or the inherent neuroses of some utterly repressed lunatics.


     

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  20.  
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    cavemanf16, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 9:45am

    Re: Ban all Religious Fuktards

    Not all "religious" people are bad or 'fuktards' as you so eloquently put it. There are those people who call themselves "religious", and in their self-righteousness have determined that fundamentally changing the law to take us back to a time when men ruled women and kids worked 9 hour days would be a great thing for America. THOSE are the people who are quite obviously, fuktards; because they don't give any legitimacy to those who would disagree with them, and will make little or no effort to work towards compromise. Be upset with those people, fine.

    But don't go to the far opposite extreme of proclaiming that anyone who practices a "religion" is a 'fuktard'. If you're an atheist, you're practicing a religion because you can't ultimately prove your position either. Us humans don't know it all, so there is logically no way for you to prove that there is not a God, a god, gods, goddesses, or other "deities" in which others believe that are more powerful than us humans.

     

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  21.  
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    jeremiah, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 10:28am

    Re: Ban all Religious Fuktards

    For religion and civil democracy to coexist, what must be graciously accepted is that the *political* expression of one's religious beliefs (gov't pr0n filters) does not have secular validity simply because the people that hold these beliefs think they're divinely endorsed.

    In other words, keep your damn Fed-stinkin' hands off my b00b13s.

    Parents, p0rn is the least of your worries. Yes, it may present unreasonable expectations of sexual intercourse (it's FANTASY!) that may burden your child with...well, unreasonable sexual expectations...which, yes, could make their life hard as an adult. GOOD NEWS!- that's easy stuff!

    Porn, however, will never harm an individual in the same way a drunk driver could, or a swimming pool, or sharp objects in the home..or a PEDOPHILE...or for that matter, a hurricane.

    Gahh, i can't believe I diginified this thread by posting...


    In closing, Mike is right: filters don't work because they can't work. Filters are a terribly lazy cop-out bandaid approach to a deeper sociological issue...

    ...that fact that in 2005, TWO THOUSAND FUCKING FIVE PEOPLE....we still cannot bear witness to the human body without feeling shame/anger/etc.

    The terrorists have won.

     

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  22.  
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    thecaptain, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 11:12am

    Re: Ban all Religious Fuktards

    I agree with Mike and the above.

    I've had the dubious privilege of being around several people who lobby for this kind of legislation in my office.

    Lets just say that if they are the typical "concerned parent" that is behind these movements (and everything tells me they are), they are NOT interested in parenting.

    They rant and rave about filth...fine...but most of them either park their kids in front of the TV (not ONE monitors beyond the minimum WHAT their child sees) and without an exception, each parent with young teen children has 1) A PC IN their child's room, without monitoring and 2) NO CLUE on how to monitor it IF they want to (and let me tell you, they don't)

    The surest way I've learned to piss them off is to cut off their argument with this simple question:

    "Instead of legislating what *I* can access, why isn't it better to monitor your child to make sure he accesses only material YOU approve of?"

    This will lead to much personal insult and screaming.

    I want ONE of you people to actually reason out and TELL me WHY you people CANNOT parent your child and need the government to do it FOR you...JUST ONE.

     

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  23.  
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    malhombre, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 11:18am

    Re: Ban all Religious Fuktards

    Have you, by any chance, ever actually read the Bible? You, as a christian, are commanded throughout the old and new testaments to respect the god-given mastery of men over women - there is absolutely no fence straddling on this subject. So, by your definition, those who follow the bible's commands properly are fuktards. (Don't worry, I completely agree. They are fuktards).
    Women are clearly, in the eyes of your imaginary god, a subservient gender whose only role is to obey the commands and teachings of males!!! YEAH! READ THE FUCKER!

    As to atheism: choosing, based on intuition, deduction and empirical evidence, not to believe in fairy tales that lack a single shred of demonstrable physical evidence to support them, the legacy of ignorant, immature human society that has endlessly shown a proclivity to cause death, punishment, torture, war, hate, bigotry, intolerance, absolute male superiority and domination over females, not to mention the wildly erroneous, absolutely fucking ridiculous explanations concerning the origins, history, and science of the physical universe is not a religion. Atheists do not congregrate in "churches", do not have religious rituals, do not subscribe to the big guy in the sky bullshit. Atheists are individuals who show themselves capable of not resorting to fantasy and superstition to explain the existence of nature.

    Re: "and in their self-righteousness have determined that fundamentally changing the law to take us back to a time when men ruled women..." Here are but a few biblical selections (New Testament only, the OT is so freaking harsh on women that it can't possibly be legally followed):

    I Corinthians:

    11:3: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

    11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

    11:8 For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.

    11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

    14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.

    14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church


    Ephesians:

    5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (5:22-24)

    5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

    5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.


    1 Timothy:

    2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

    2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

    Titus II:

    2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, (2:4-5)

    2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

    I Peter:

    3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

    3:2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

    3:3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Steve Mueller, Sep 1st, 2005 @ 10:52pm

    Easy Questions

    thecaptain wrote:

    I agree with Mike and the above.

    I've had the dubious privilege of being around several people who lobby for this kind of legislation in my office.

    Lets just say that if they are the typical "concerned parent" that is behind these movements (and everything tells me they are), they are NOT interested in parenting.

    They rant and rave about filth...fine...but most of them either park their kids in front of the TV (not ONE monitors beyond the minimum WHAT their child sees) and without an exception, each parent with young teen children has 1) A PC IN their child's room, without monitoring and 2) NO CLUE on how to monitor it IF they want to (and let me tell you, they don't)

    Well, my daughter (who is now 14) has a laptop in her room. So what? I've told her what to watch out for, taught her about Internet scams, etc. I also gave her a domain of her own with catch-all forwarding so she can use unique E-mail addresses where she visits in order to track spamming -- which she does.

    However, I know how to monitor her if I want to. I could easily packet sniff the network and see everything she does. I also have my E-mail client set to download her E-mail so I can check it if I need to.

    But then, I haven't been in your office. Maybe I'll drop-by -- where is it?

    thecaptain wrote:

    The surest way I've learned to piss them off is to cut off their argument with this simple question: "Instead of legislating what *I* can access, why isn't it better to monitor your child to make sure he accesses only material YOU approve of?"

    There seems like an easy answer to that.

    With more families requiring both parents to work just to make ends meet, you can't monitor your kids 24/7.

    Even if the computer is in a common area, if the child is home after school and both parents are at work, how is anybody supposed to monitor what they do?

    Basically, you either have to trust your child (which isn't easy nowadays with all of the peer pressure and things like spam) or somehow prevent them from accessing content even when you're not there. Sure, you could avoid giving them a cell phone and shut your home network down while you weren't there, but that seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Also, who is trying to legislate what you can access? My proposal for filtering public computers would allow anybody over 18 to show ID and the librarian (or whoever is in charge of the computers) would take the ID and disable the filters. When you were done, she'd return your ID and turn the filters back on. So no adult would have to be filtered.

    In this case, I would suggest the carriers offer the alternative of filtering traffic to a certain phone. Parents could choose this for their children's phones, but wouldn't have to choose it for theirs. What's wrong with that?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    lexi, Mar 22nd, 2006 @ 4:38pm

    porn love!

    love it!

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Margaret, Dec 9th, 2006 @ 2:37pm

    Advertising porn on non-cable televsion

    Why is it acceptable to have "Girls Gone Wild" advertisements on TV. Surely it is porn that is being advertised and the infomercials are theselves porn.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Republican Insider, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Ban all Religious Fuktards

    Don't listen to this poster. He is a fake.

    You will see an explosion in this type of thing this election cycle. Republicans posing as atheists are insulting Christians and other religious people all over the Internet. They are energizing their voting base.

    One thing that is a dead giveaway is when the poster comes back again and again to the same place to flame people. Don't fall for it.

     

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