Pennsylvania's Porn Blocking Law Case Begins

from the understanding-the-issue dept

We've written before about how civil liberties groups are suing the attorney general for a law that forces ISPs to block access to sites they decide have child pornography on them. Today, the case began, and a fairly compelling argument was made. The problem with this case is that people hear "child porn" and immediately decide that anything that stops it is good. Stopping child porn obviously is a good and noble goal - but this law doesn't do that and has a ridiculous amount of collateral damage. What the law should be, is that if a site is discovered with child porn, the site itself should be taken offline and those responsible should be tried for breaking the law. Instead, what this law does is force ISPs in Pennsylvania to block access to those sites. In other words, the sites remain online - but people using certain ISPs are blocked from accessing those sites. In cases where the site is on a shared server, every other site on that server are also blocked - even if they have nothing to do with the child porn. The Pennsylvania attorney general insists that this is the right way to go, but doesn't explain why they can't focus on catching those actually responsible for the child porn rather than using this other, ineffective and troublesome solution instead. This is the equivalent of the state discovering a crack house, but instead of shutting down the crack house and arresting those responsible, they just have the police come and put up a big barrier blocking the road from everyone - even others who happen to live on the same street. Even worse, they won't tell those who live on the street that they've been blocked or tell them why. They just stop letting them go home.
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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 6 Jan 2004 @ 10:31pm

    Re: True but...

    So why not just have a law that forces those sites to be taken offline?

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