New Senate Bills 'Protect The Children' At Plenty Of Others' Expense

from the talking-heads dept

Two separate proposals today from senators will markedly increase the responsibility ISPs face in helping law enforcement to achieve the ever-popular political goal of “protecting the children.” The first comes from Republican Lamar Smith, and would introduce data-retention laws, a long-time goal of the current administration. The laws would force ISPs to hang on to details of their customers’ online activity, potentially forever, purportedly to help law enforcement investigate crimes. The second part of this bill revives a previous failed attempt to require owners of sites with sexually explicit content to put warning labels on each offending page of their sites, or face prison time. Meanwhile Republican Senator John McCain and his Democratic colleague Chuck Schumer are introducing a bill that would create a national database of illegal child-porn images, and would strengthen the requirement that ISPs report child-porn activity to the government by adding the possibility of prison time, in addition to fines. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s an updated version of a bill the two introduced back in December, but their announcement today (at a big press conference) surely has nothing to do with McCain’s presidential aspirations. The bill’s been narrowed a bit, as the previous version also explicitly applied to web sites, but the wording of the new version remains sufficiently vague so as to threaten a wide swath of online service and content providers. Another part of the bill would tack 10 years onto the sentence for certain child-exploitation crimes if they were committed on the internet — because, you know, exploiting a child over the internet’s inherently worse than doing it any other way.

These bills both are filled with their own problems. The conflict between data-retention laws and privacy is well documented, while it can add a ridiculous level of expense for ISPs. In the end, it often represents an expensive solution that doesn’t really work, since just adding more data isn’t the same as having the right data. Meanwhile, the labeling law could cause some problems, as the unclear boundaries of what needs to be labeled and what constitutes explicit material could do little more than to act as de facto censorship tools, since many people would choose to simply not allow content that’s questionable in any way whatsoever rather than risk getting sent to prison. The bottom line is this: nobody wants to make it easier for child pornographers or internet predators to operate, but these proposals, like so many from politicians before them, are misguided, and will be ineffective and onerous to ISPs and innocent third parties. As long as politicians make being seen as “protecting the children”, rather than doing anything to actually protect them, their top priority, expect more of the same.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “New Senate Bills 'Protect The Children' At Plenty Of Others' Expense”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

I just hope that in this era of remarkable leisure and plenty, everyone involved is able to take this once-in-history opportunity to insist that a new forum for human interaction retain its character as a bastion of freedom, even if it means making sacrifices IRL. How pathetic would it be for us to receive this gift and then mangle it like we do everything else in a generation or less?

PhysicsGuy says:


neither of these proposals are feasible in any way whatsoever… data retention is idiotic, it’s a logistical impossibility to force isps to save records of all online activity for all users for and infinite amount of time. the second proposal is laughable, it’s like sites that ban images with the name “goatse” in them, how hard is it to change the name to “sugarfairy”? info hash? resize and change the compression level… WOW… THAT WORKED… i hate when people don’t think and just try to pass laws to get publicity.

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:


Meanwhile you can just get a (close to) free vpn connection as a gateway in another country without any of these monitoring laws. Of course, that will only bypass the monitoring capabilites. Your bill will still be … a bit extreme.

Are these bills going to outlaw vpn connections so they can actually be enforced? Don’t you think that businesses everywhere would just LOVE that?

gwyndion says:

finally using the senators against the senators

Ok, we might have a loophole here to get rid of the idiotic senators. A national database of child-porn images…and where will this database be kept, who will have access? If it is kept on a government computer, then the operator, and eventually the supervisor should be sent to jail for having child-porn. Who ever accesses the database, would be doing so with intent to browse child-porn, therefore that person has to go to jail. The senators that are creating this bill, are contemplating such a database, so that shows intent in conspiracy to circulate child-porn..There we go! We now have most of the idiotic senators gone, most of law-enforcement gone, and the rest of the government gone by their own laws…oh wait forgot, they have no laws, just the rest of us pions that pay our taxes to pay their bail fees.

Ron (profile) says:


re: “… create a national database of illegal child-porn images …”
So, the government is going to go into business for itself as the purveyor of fine child porn?
Wouldn’t maintaining a data base of such images be an illegal activity for which the owner could be prosecuted? Oh, wait, government can’t be prosecuted for its own illegal activities.
My personal view is that children are best protected by better parenting. Of course, that’s just my opinion … I may be wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

This article is well resurced and show why this stuff does not work. I found it on Skeptical Inquiry, and appears to the best one around on the issue.

Predator Panic: A Closer Look
Benjamin Radford


“Protect the children.” Over the years that mantra has been applied to countless real and perceived threats. America has scrambled to protect its children from a wide variety of dangers including school shooters, cyberbullying, violent video games, snipers, Satanic Ritual Abuse, pornography, the Internet, and drugs.

Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent protecting children from one threat or other, often with little concern for how expensive or effective the remedies are—or how serious the threat actually is in the first place. So it is with America’s latest panic: sexual predators.

According to lawmakers and near-daily news reports, sexual predators lurk everywhere: in parks, at schools, in the malls—even in children’s bedrooms, through the Internet. A few rare (but high-profile) incidents have spawned an unprecedented deluge of new laws enacted in response to the public’s fear. Every state has notification laws to alert communities about former sex offenders. Many states have banned sex offenders from living in certain areas, and are tracking them using satellite technology. Other states have gone even further; state emergency leaders in Florida and Texas, for example, are developing plans to route convicted sex offenders away from public emergency shelters during hurricanes. “We don’t want them in the same shelters as others,” said Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw. (How exactly thousands of desperate and homeless storm victims are to be identified, screened, and routed in an emergency is unclear.)

An Epidemic?
To many people, sex offenders pose a serious and growing threat—especially on the Internet. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has made them a top priority this year, launching raids and arrest sweeps. According to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, “the danger to teens is high.” On the April 18, 2005, CBS Evening News broadcast, correspondent Jim Acosta reported that “when a child is missing, chances are good it was a convicted sex offender.” (Acosta is incorrect: If a child goes missing, a convicted sex offender is among the least likely explanations, far behind runaways, family abductions, and the child being lost or injured.) On his NBC series “To Catch a Predator,” Dateline reporter Chris Hansen claimed that “the scope of the problem is immense,” and “seems to be getting worse.” Hansen claimed that Web predators are “a national epidemic,” while Alberto Gonzales stated that there are 50,000 potential child predators online.

Sex offenders are clearly a real threat, and commit horrific crimes. Those who prey on children are dangerous, but how common are they? How great is the danger? After all, there are many dangers in the world—from lightning to Mad Cow Disease to school shootings—that are genuine but very remote. Let’s examine some widely repeated claims about the threat posed by sex offenders.

One in Five?
According to a May 3, 2006, ABC News report, “One in five children is now approached by online predators.” This alarming statistic is commonly cited in news stories about prevalence of Internet predators, but the factoid is simply wrong. The “one in five statistic” can be traced back to a 2001 Department of Justice study issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (“The Youth Internet Safety Survey”) that asked 1,501 American teens between 10 and 17 about their online experiences. Anyone bothering to actually read the report will find a very different picture. Among the study’s conclusions: “Almost one in five (19 percent) . . . received an unwanted sexual solicitation in the past year.” (A “sexual solicitation” is defined as a “request to engage in sexual activities or sexual talk or give personal sexual information that were unwanted or, whether wanted or not, made by an adult.” Using this definition, one teen asking another teen if her or she is a virgin—or got lucky with a recent date—could be considered “sexual solicitation.”) Not a single one of the reported solicitations led to any actual sexual contact or assault. Furthermore, almost half of the “sexual solicitations” came not from “predators” or adults but from other teens—in many cases the equivalent of teen flirting. When the study examined the type of Internet “solicitation” parents are most concerned about (e.g., someone who asked to meet the teen somewhere, called the teen on the telephone, or sent gifts), the number drops from “one in five” to just 3 percent.

This is a far cry from an epidemic of children being “approached by online predators.” As the study noted, “The problem highlighted in this survey is not just adult males trolling for sex. Much of the offending behavior comes from other youth [and] from females.” Furthermore, “Most young people seem to know what to do to deflect these sexual ‘come ons.’” The reality is far less grave than the ubiquitous “one in five” statistic suggests.

Recidivism Revisited
Much of the concern over sex offenders stems from the perception that if they have committed one sex offense, they are almost certain to commit more. This is the reason given for why sex offenders (instead of, say, murderers or armed robbers) should be monitored and separated from the public once released from prison. While it’s true that serial sex offenders (like serial killers) are by definition likely to strike again, the reality is that very few sex offenders commit further sex crimes.

The high recidivism rate among sex offenders is repeated so often that it is accepted as truth, but in fact recent studies show that the recidivism rates for sex offenses is not unusually high. According to a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics study (“Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994”), just five percent of sex offenders followed for three years after their release from prison in 1994 were arrested for another sex crime. A study released in 2003 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that within three years, 3.3 percent of the released child molesters were arrested again for committing another sex crime against a child. Three to five percent is hardly a high repeat offender rate.

In the largest and most comprehensive study ever done of prison recidivism, the Justice Department found that sex offenders were in fact less likely to reoffend than other criminals. The 2003 study of nearly 10,000 men convicted of rape, sexual assault, and child molestation found that sex offenders had a re-arrest rate 25 percent lower than for all other criminals. Part of the reason is that serial sex offenders—those who pose the greatest threat—rarely get released from prison, and the ones who do are unlikely to re-offend. If released sex offenders are in fact no more likely to re-offend than murderers or armed robbers, there seems little justification for the public’s fear and the monitoring laws targeting them. (Studies also suggest that sex offenders living near schools or playgrounds are no more likely to commit a sex crime than those living elsewhere.)

While the abduction, rape, and killing of children by strangers is very, very rare, such incidents receive a lot of media coverage, leading the public to overestimate how common these cases are. (See John Ruscio’s article “Risky Business: Vividness, Availability, and the Media Paradox” in the March/April 2000 Skeptical Inquirer.)

Why the Hysteria?
There are several reasons for the hysteria and fear surrounding sexual predators. The predator panic is largely fueled by the news media. News stories emphasize the dangers of Internet predators, convicted sex offenders, pedophiles, and child abductions. The Today Show, for example, ran a series of misleading and poorly designed hidden camera “tests” to see if strangers would help a child being abducted. [1] Dateline NBC teamed up with a group called Perverted Justice to lure potential online predators to a house with hidden cameras. The program’s ratings were so high that it spawned six follow-up “To Catch a Predator” specials. While the many men captured on film supposedly showing up to meet teens for sex is disturbing, questions have been raised about Perverted Justice’s methods and accuracy. (For example, the predators are often found in unmoderated chatrooms frequented by those looking for casual sex—hardly places where most children spend their time.) Nor is it surprising that out of over a hundred million Internet users, a fraction of a percentage might be caught in such a sting.

Because there is little hard data on how widespread the problem of Internet predators is, journalists often resort to sensationalism, cobbling a few anecdotes and interviews together into a trend while glossing over data suggesting that the problem may not be as widespread as they claim. But good journalism requires that personal stories—no matter how emotional and compelling—must be balanced with facts and context. Much of the news coverage about sexual predation is not so much wrong as incomplete, lacking perspective.

Moral Panics
The news media’s tendency toward alarmism only partly explains the concern. America is in the grip of a moral panic over sexual predators, and has been for many months. A moral panic is a sociological term describing a social reaction to a false or exaggerated threat to social values by moral deviants. (For more on moral panics, see Ehrich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda’s 1994 book Moral Panics: The Social Construction of Deviance.)

In a discussion of moral panics, sociologist Robert Bartholomew points out that a defining characteristic of the panics is that the “concern about the threat posed by moral deviants and their numerical abundance is far greater than can be objectively verified, despite unsubstantiated claims to the contrary.” Furthermore, according to Goode and Ben-Yehuda, during a moral panic “most of the figures cited by moral panic ‘claims-makers’ are wildly exaggerated.”

Indeed, we see exactly this trend in the panic over sexual predators. News stories invariably exaggerate the true extent of sexual predation on the Internet; the magnitude of the danger to children, and the likelihood that sexual predators will strike. (As it turns out, Attorney General Gonzales had taken his 50,000 Web predator statistic not from any government study or report, but from NBC’s Dateline TV show. Dateline, in turn, had broadcast the number several times without checking its accuracy. In an interview on NPR’s On the Media program, Hansen admitted that he had no source for the statistic, and stated that “It was attributed to, you know, law enforcement, as an estimate, and it was talked about as sort of an extrapolated number.”) According to Wall Street Journal writer Carl Bialik, journalists “often will use dubious numbers to advance that goal [of protecting children] . . . one of the reasons that this is allowed to happen is that there isn’t really a natural critic. . . . Nobody really wants to go on the record saying, ‘It turns out this really isn’t a big problem.’”

Panicky Laws
Besides needlessly scaring children and the public, there is a danger to this quasi-fabricated, scare-of-the-week reportage: misleading news stories influence lawmakers, who in turn react with genuine (and voter-friendly) moral outrage. Because nearly any measure intended (or claimed) to protect children will be popular and largely unopposed, politicians trip over themselves in the rush to endorse new laws that “protect the children.”

Politicians, child advocates, and journalists denounce current sex offender laws as ineffective and flawed, yet are rarely able to articulate exactly why new laws are needed. Instead, they cite each news story about a kidnapped child or Web predator as proof that more laws are needed, as if sex crimes would cease if only the penalties were harsher, or enough people were monitored. Yet the fact that rare crimes continue to be committed does not necessarily imply that current laws against those crimes are inadequate. By that standard, any law is ineffective if someone violates that law. We don’t assume that existing laws against murder are ineffective simply because murders continue to be committed.

In July 2006, teen abduction victim Elizabeth Smart and child advocate John Walsh (whose murdered son Adam spawned America’s Most Wanted) were instrumental in helping pass the most extensive national sex offender bill in history. According to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the bill’s sponsor, Smart’s 2002 “abduction by a convicted sex offender” might have been prevented had his bill been law. “I don’t want to see others go through what I had to go through,” said Smart. “This bill should go through without a thought.” Yet bills passed without thought rarely make good laws. In fact, a closer look at the cases of Elizabeth Smart and Adam Walsh demonstrate why sex offender registries do not protect children. Like most people who abduct children, Smart’s kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, was not a convicted sex offender. Nor was Adam Walsh abducted by a sex offender. Apparently unable to find a vocal advocate for a child who had actually been abducted by a convicted sex offender, Hatch used Smart and Walsh to promote an agenda that had nothing to do with the circumstances of their abductions. The two high-profile abductions (neither by sex offenders) were somehow claimed to demonstrate the urgent need for tighter restrictions on sex offenders. Hatch’s bill, signed by President Bush on July 27, will likely have little effect in protecting America’s children.

The last high-profile government effort to prevent Internet predation occurred in December 2002, when President Bush signed the Dot-Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act into law, creating a special safe Internet “neighborhood” for children. Elliot Noss, president of Internet address registrar Tucows Inc., correctly predicted that the domain had “absolutely zero” chance of being effective. The “” domain is now a largely ignored Internet footnote that has done little or nothing to protect children.

Tragic Misdirection
The issue is not whether children need to be protected; of course they do. The issues are whether the danger to them is great, and whether the measures proposed will ensure their safety. While some efforts—such as longer sentences for repeat offenders—are well-reasoned and likely to be effective, those focused on separating sex offenders from the public are of little value because they are based on a faulty premise. Simply knowing where a released sex offender lives—or is at any given moment—does not ensure that he or she won’t be near potential victims. Since relatively few sexual assaults are committed by released sex offenders, the concern over the danger is wildly disproportionate to the real threat. Efforts to protect children are well-intentioned, but legislation should be based on facts and reasoned argument instead of fear in the midst of a national moral panic.

The tragic irony is that the panic over sex offenders distracts the public from the real danger, a far greater threat to children than sexual predators: parental abuse and neglect. The vast majority of crimes against children are committed not by released sex offenders but instead by the victim’s own family, church clergy, and family friends. According to a 2003 report by the Department of Human Services, hundreds of thousands of children are abused and neglected each year by their parents and caregivers, and more than 1,500 American children died from that abuse in 2003—most of the victims under four years old. That is more than four children killed per day—not by convicted sexual offenders or Internet predators, but by those entrusted to care for them. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “danger to children is greater from someone they or their family knows than from a stranger.”

If journalists, child advocates, and lawmakers are serious about wanting to protect children, they should turn from the burning matchbook in front of them to face the blazing forest fire behind them. The resources allocated to tracking ex-felons who are unlikely to re-offend could be much more effectively spent on preventing child abuse in the home and hiring more social workers.

Eventually this predator panic will subside and some new threat will take its place. Expensive, ineffective, and unworkable laws will be left in its wake when the panic passes. And no one is protecting America from that.

Enrico Suarve says:

Re: Re:

Thanks for posting this here – it basically backs up what I have being saying for a long time

The situation with the gross exaggeration is nearly as bad in the UK press as in the US although I get the feeling we perhaps haven’t got to quite the same stage *yet*

We have already had a suggestion however from either our own government or the EU (I forget which idiot proposed it) to store all ISP data for 5 years

It was proposed for the same reasons and looked like a voter friendly action [cue smiley politician kissing kids]. Eventually when it was pointed out that this would increase the cost of the internet exponentially for everyone and still wouldn’t be effective (for the reasons already posted here), it stopped being talked about [cue amazing political disappearing act]

We didn’t propose the national database of child porn however and this seems even more unworkable and frankly spooky – I suggest a thorough investigation of senators John & Chuck ASAP

Basically none of these actions would have any real effect or tackle the root problems which I believe are outline beautifully in your post. If congress really want to use technology to ‘save the children’ perhaps they should spend the money on halfway decent PCs for schools, so that next time a teacher fires up a computer it doesn?t bombard the class with porn due to it being hopelessly out of date and running windows 98. Not as sexy as a national database of child porn maybe (ooh that’s still creeping me out) but probably money better spent

Rich Kulawiec says:

The image database: unworkable

I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation this morning based on
these assumptions:

– 10e6 images (obviously far, far too small)
– 10e9 permutations of each (also far, far too small — consider that
there are 512 x 512 x 24 = 6.2 million ways to change just a single bit in
a 512×512 image with 24 bits of color. Now consider multiple bit
changes, cropping, adding, resizing, format change, etc.)
– 128 bit hashes computed for each image

The resulting 10e15 hashes would require 16,000 terabytes of storage.
And I think 10e15 is too small (because both of the first two assumptions
are too small) and that 10e21 is probably more reasonable.

BTW: permuting images to avoid detection is not a hypothetical
concept. Spammers use it all the time to prevent content-scanning
anti-spam measures from identifying image spam.

Not that I expect this or any other technical concern to have the
slightest impact on the proposed legislation. “We must do it
for the chilllllllldrunnnnnnnnnnn” is a familiar drumbeat.

John says:


The way things are going, the average Joe Sixpack could be arrested if the Feds find some image in his browser’s cache he didn’t even know about. I think this is a very real problem and think we should do everything to protect the innocence of children but the day is coming where the govt. will seize a computer, find a pic in the cache, and there ya have it, arrested. Kind of scary.

Nick (profile) says:

The Flip Test: Orwellian scenario

Let’s pretend that the Internet was the only way for anyone to interact until now. Now, we have this thing called real life, where people can go out in public places and interact. A perpetrator could see a kid on the street, and they could possibly approach him or her, and they could possibly kidnap him or her or trick him or her to come with the perpetrator, and the perpetrator could exploit and abuse the child. Should we then keep all children from public view, put masks on them Michael Jackson style? Should we keep photos of every person who looks at a child in public? Should we put masks on children so they cannot be recognized in public? I think two reason that Muslim women wear berkas is so other men cannot see what they look like and be tempted, and because a woman’s face is sacred. By enacting a law like this we are imitating a Muslim mindset of could/would, take these crazy measures just because someone could do something. This sounds like an Orwellian scenario, but on the internet, and could lead to the real life Orwellian scenario in the future.

Mark says:

Okay, but add to it...

This would be fine, but I think the worthy Senators should set the example for the rest of us.

Add to the bill a requirement for all internet activity of politicians and their staff to be recorded in a public, searchable database. After all, they should be proud of all the actions they take in their ongoing role of governing us.

Is that too much of an invasion of their privacy? Now they know how we feel.

DKP says:

idiotic laws

Like the DRM of the music industry allowed to be enforced by the DMCA no matter what laws are paaed there is no way of completly getting rid of a problem on the internet although congress is a different story I would like to see the entire goverment replaced with the people that actualy know what can be done IE no more career politicans. rather people that know what actualy needs doing do it just a thought.

Kestryl says:

What happened to parental responsibility?

Um, why do ISP’s have to be responsible for protecting my children from the internet service I (as a parent) allow them to use? If I am a responsible parent, then I pay attention to what my kids are doing online. I don’t allow them to have computers with unlimited internet access in areas where I can’t readily see what they’re doing – like in their bedrooms, with the doors closed. If I’m concerned about what my kids are seeing when I’m not around to keep track of them, then I’d better buy a cybersitter program, right?

Oh wait, then I’d actually have to PAY ATTENTION to my kids, right? And be RESPONSIBLE… and no one wants that.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

CP80 won't work, and an alternaltive proposal for

Too many people will ignore it, so it will just lead to an American walled garden, which would be bad for the internet. most of Latin America will ignore it on principle, the iSlamic theocracies will try to force everyone to use the open port for virtually everything and then block it, as will the dictatorships. THe EU will, possilby, stop arguing and introduce thier own version of he proposal, but will make such a mess of it that it will be virtually worthless.

I have a better proposal for the regulation and control of the internet, which ensures that businesses are taxed and regulated fairly and simply.

1) Abolish the .com, .biz, .mil and other analogous TLDs. .org, .arpa, can be kept.

2) all abolished TLDs are transferred to the .us hierarchy: thus Techdirt becomes

3) ICANN is made into a division of the ITTU, which already regulates international telecomunications for the purposes of dialing codes and the like. IANA would also be included in this. The same people can continue doing the same jobs in the same building, but they would be ultimately responsible to the UN, not the USA.

4) Each country allocated the TLD is responsible for adminstering its domain names as its governement sees fit.

(a) Each country has sole juristiction with regards tot he content of sites in their TLD. The registrar of each second-level domain has may impose whatever rules on those who register third and lower level domains from them, sublject to national laws. THe thrd level domain registrar may do the same, subject to the rules imposed upon him by higher level domain’s, and so forth.
(b) for taxation and international trade matters, business conducted on a page belonging to to a country is considered to be the same as transating the business by post. THus if I buy goods from Amazon, it would be treated as if I had poosted a letter to Amazon in the US, and the goods were then sent to me in my country, and I would pay US taxes. If I were to buy something from a UK domain, I would pay UK taxes, &c.
(c) for the prvention of internet crimes, a country could state that all domain name registrars be perement residents of a counrty with which tey have an extradition treaty, and/or require proof of ID. (Bilatral treaties could also be used to share IDs of those convicted of internet fraud, and countirs could refuse registration to those on the register, although I would not like to see the registrar be responsible legally for this, unles there was provision for the registrar to have made a mistake. THis would be a mateer for national law, and something like the existing internationally shared registers of child sex pffenders could be used.)

6) the body which repaces IANA will give out IPv6 addresses to each country divided on the basis of population, once those needed for UN amnd internet administration use are emoved from the pool. Countries may then allocate the IP addresses as they see fit, and may lease them to another country for a period of time. THis allows developing countries to gian money by leasing IP addresses to otehrs, IP addresses which would otherwise be wasted.

7) On the UN reserved TLDs (the remaining three letter ones) there shall be no regulation except that:
(a) the genitalia of persons under the age of 18 shall not be displayed.
(b) no business activity is permitted on the sites. For charities, for example Wikipedia, the donations page would have to be on a national page.
(c) regulations concerning spam (in addition the the prohibition of business activities)
(d) rules concerning who may register domains within each hierarchy. (non-profit organisations, for example)

8) THe regulation on web hosting applies to the location of the servers. For example, if a country requires the retention of data of anything which happens on its servers, then no matter where you are registered in, you have to keep that data in the coutry where your servers are. For the purposes of data protection laws, if a businaess is not permitted to send data to the USA, then it is not allowed to have its site hosetd there if any prohibited data is being stored there, buit must use some other countries hosting..
A country may prohibit the use of a server in it for the hosting of sites registered in another country, either specifiaclly or genreally. Thus the US could, as part of its trade empbargo on Cuba, prohibit hosting companies hosting cuban pages on american servers.

A country obviously _can_ block any traffic from another country, by blocking either or both IP addresses and URLs. THis would be used by dictatorships to keep out unwanted ideas, or as part of a trade embargo. If a country blocked traffic from a site in anther country, it would be treated as blocking commerce with that country.

I am entirely happy with others copying these ideas and spreading them, and suggesting improvements to them, although a reference to this origin post would be good. While I would like these ideas adopted, I woukd also like to have the Crdit for them (and even more a reward 😉 ).

Dr. Lizardo says:

So, how am I supposed to know whether a particular image is in this National Database of Child Porn, and therefore REALLY, really illegal, without first plowing through every pic in the database myself to see if it’s in there? That means that the government would have to make this database of kiddie-porn accessible to everyone, as it would be serving as part of the definition of what is or isn’t illegal… Wait, that’s just SO stupid.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

way to beat the system

place a border 1px wide around the image and put random 256-bit colours in each pixel. It might even be possible to do this on the fly. A movie you could do the same, or even with just one pixel, you could have a lot of variation. I just want to know wether Seagate or Western Digital are paying these senators.

Anonymous Coward says:

mozilla is open source yes?

how hard would it be to add a new ‘protocol’ to it, ala http: ftp: etc, but for an encrypted page, which in turn states if its http: or ftp: etc. basically just an encryption layer?

prompt for a password for that page, either pgp (or similar) at the server…

yes it will take cpu power.. and yes MSIE won’t support it.. and it would need a modified server, but its doable. and then law enforcement can basically kiss goodbye to trawling ISPs logs.

of course they can always obtain the keys etc with a court order, problematic if the server is overseas of course.

this could be basically transparent to the user, very secure.. and makes sites vastly harder to phish.

oh yes and it totally bypasses internet controls, until someone trys to ban any sort of ‘secure’ internet connection.

doable yes. worth doing? depends, theres al manor of ‘evil’ that could use it, but they probably encrypt stuff anyway. plus if the legal establishment want to monitor all traffic I can see an ISP giving them basically a multi TB data set and saying ‘fill your boots’ then leaving some porr sod to make sense of it.

will these laws mandate log file formats? data storage formats? will actual traffic be stored or just headers? (and how hard would it be to have a web page with a multi-gig file on it.. download that a few times to help fill the logs.

the pointlessness of this is amazing, but it will protect children.. by slowing the net down to make it almost unusable?

jos says:

this is so outragiously funny! Are you sure it was McCain and Schumer? Would seem more like this folly was thought up by Foley or would he have just kept pics of young senate aids in the database?
Another idea from Washingtoon whereit is better to make a grandious and useless gesture than actually deal with a problem. Next will be the “surge” onkiddie porn which like the war-on-drugs” will only make it widely available in a central and hackable database.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

problem with encrypted protocol:

the ISPs have to pass hte keys to you, unless the keys were avaliable to everyone, in which case the police could decrypt the logs. The keys would also be internet traffic, which would eb logged. I fthe bill merely specified WWW traffic, then that would only cover the ports used for DNS, HTTP, HTTPS and the other “web” traffics, not all the other ports.

Stuff MSIE. I tried to use IE 7 whe it came out, and decided it was worse than IE6. WTF, FF2 is far better than either(so was for that matter)

Matthew Yarro (user link) says:

CP80 Can Work

The CP80 Internet Channel Initiative is a great solution to the Internet pornography problem. It protects both an individual right to access and to block adult content.

It uses existing technologies and would be very easy for any person to use, because they would simply call their ISP to block adult content.

Reasonable law, treaties and Internet governance is also leveraged to make the Internet a safer place for children.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...