Connecticut AG Asserts Jurisdiction Over Any Web Site With Ads; Wants MySpace To Verify Users' Ages

from the no-id-no-social-networking dept

Politicians continue to point fingers at MySpace in their never-ending quest to protect the children, and now some Connecticut lawmakers have introduced legislation that would force it and other social-networking sites to verify users’ ages and get parents’ permission before letting minors post profiles online. The initiative is led by the state’s attorney general, who describes the efforts with this wonderful quote: “If we can put a man on the moon, we can check ages of people on these Web sites.” and says 10 to 20 other states are considering similar laws. The AG says that the state has the authority to enforce the law because ads posted on MySpace and other sites are viewed in the state. That’s a pretty questionable assertion, since it would give the state authority over any site on the internet with ads. The bigger problem, though, is that not only is the law unreasonable, but it also just simply won’t work. Kids will, inevitably, find a way around the block (such as, oh, just shooting from the hip here, lying about their age), and even if the system did work, it’s not particularly clear how it will stop the problem of internet predators at all. That’s the problem with all of these sorts of things politicians come up with — all they create is the illusion of meaningful activity without doing anything to help the underlying problem. Should the law pass, it will be interesting to see how MySpace and its corporate parent, News Corp., respond. MySpace has been making efforts to appease politicians by working with them and instituting some changes on its own, but it’s unlikely it would just sit back and swallow this sort of law. The typical response might be for a site to move offshore, but News Corp. probably wouldn’t want to take that step, while the Connecticut AG would probably see his assertion of jurisdiction over the internet extend out there as well. Using his logic, if we can put a man on the moon, can’t we find a way to stamp out stupid politicians?

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Comments on “Connecticut AG Asserts Jurisdiction Over Any Web Site With Ads; Wants MySpace To Verify Users' Ages”

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Duodave (user link) says:

Poor myspace...

It seems like every so often there is a site or thing or group that is targeted by organizations as being the root of all evil. Whether it’s Take Two or the pr0n industry or gun manufacturers, suddenly they are the target of the “protect the children” groups. Yadda yadda yadda. Tomorrow I’m sure they will target Verizon, saying that the cell phones our children take to school are rotting their brains. Too late, their parents did that in the 60s by smoking pot in college.

The infamous Joe says:

Bass Ackwards.

Why don’t we just teach children some sense about not going to meet internet friends (aka strangers) in dark alleyways?

In an interesting site note, myspace already requests the user’s age, and if below whatever their minimum age is, it denies access.

I know this because my darling girlfriend tried to make a myspace page for our dog, who is only 4 years old. Yeah, you read that right. Our dog. It not only told her she didn’t mean the age requirements, it locked out the email address she gave from making an accout with a different age. That’s plenty good enough for me– what do they want? A credit card? (Which all adults may not have?) A birth certificate?

If we can put a man on the moon, we can teach our children some [what was once common] sense?

mad matt says:

Ya right.

Ok, so if the technology is there, o wise Connecticut state’s attorney general, how do websites verify people’s ages accurately? What they have to put in a driver’s license number? Wait that means there would have to be a national database to verify against that had open access to all these sites with identifying information about all US citizens? That seems like if could be a slight security risk. And on top of that what stops them from using their parent’s?

Oh wait you’re probably in support of the Real ID crap without realizing all the problems it causes and all the ones it doesn’t solve.

man on the moon says:

man on the moon

it cost taxpayers almost 140 billion dollars (todays money) for the GOVERNMENT to put a man on the moon.. maybe myspace can do it for cheaper.. just have them stand up their 160 million users on top of each other.. they’ll get there for free and we will know just how old each and every one of those people is — NOT.

bobwyzguy (profile) says:

Def: Politician = Failed Litigator

I have come to the conclusion that the lawyers who go into politics are the ones too clueless to make a good living in the courthouse.

These guys are great at the quick hip shot solution to any problem, and like most hip shots, there’s a lot of noise (sound bite), but it completely misses the target (no useful effect), and usually wounds some innocent bystander (unintended consequences).

A little critical thinking, and real problem solving skills, couple with the ability to accept that all problems may not have solutions would save us from a lot of stupid legislation.

But the legislation today is more about appearing to do something to fool the gullible electorate into returning them to their government jobs, so they don’t have to struggle at a real law career, or (horrors) actually doing something useful with their lives, like stocking shelves at WalMart.

micheal rossiter (profile) says:

why lawyers?

two reasons for political lawyers:

1) once a year most governement departments do an audit, so the lawyers quickly scramble for something to make them look busy since they’ve been sitting on their asses for the past 11 months.

2) Hell is almost full, so the devil makes space by allowing a few of his most evil heartless demons loose on the earth!

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