Senators' Plan To Protect Kids Online: Massive Bureaucracy

from the just-what-we-needed dept

This year there have been tons of stories about attempts by politicians to put in place ridiculously bad laws, all in the name of protecting children. Many of these laws tend to pass, because no politician wants to vote against "protecting the children." However, these laws rarely do much to protect children -- they are simply designed for political purposes, to help politicians claim they're protecting the children in order to get votes. The latest case is no different. We've had a bunch of folks submit the story of John McCain and Chuck Schumer's silly bill to require sex offenders to register their email addresses, which seems to assume that people only have one email address. However, much more troublesome is another, less talked about, aspect of the bill, which would require any site that has user's post illegal images or videos to file a report with a government agency or face up to $300,000 in fines. Based on some readings of the bill, this would mean that if anyone happened to post a comment on your blog that included child pornography, not only would you have to delete it, but you would need to file a report about the incident. On the face of it, the reasoning makes sense. The government certainly would like to know the details of anyone posting child pornography in places. However, the reality suggests that this doesn't make the situation any better. It's just going to be a huge hassle for a lot of people who happen to have sites that allow comments. We get a ton of comment spam that some might consider crosses the line of what's appropriate. Are we going to need to file hundreds of these reports every day to remain in compliance with this law? Does that really help the government, or will it just overwhelm them with useless junk?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Rick, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 3:11am

    Report 'em all!

    I think if this bill actually becomes law. I'll basically report every single comment, upload, submission to the authorities and of course CC: it alll to the fine senators.

    Forcing the public to do law enforcement seems as if it borders on illegal, besides the fact we don't have the time or resources to validate every submission to our sites. The only option is automation and to suspect everything right?

    Of course this makes the entire system even more useless and stupid than it is as proposed....

    But what else should we expect from politicians, not solutions - just passing the buck so they look good to the fools who are clueless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Mike F.M, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 4:02am


    They shouldn't make others do their job. Just think how much time and money will be spent looking into and sorting all of these submissions.

    The money would be much better invested somewhere else where it can actuallt target the problem rather than stock-pile useless info that will never get used.

    Plus, if they are able to fine you in the first place, that means they must be able to find out about the presence of this material themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    rstr5105, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 4:48am

    how's this....

    call me old fashioned, but let's skip all this Bureaucratic BS and do something simple.

    If you are a convicted Sex offender do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars, stand on that little white line there, and......


    Firing sqaud.




    Painless. (Mostly)

    And Most important.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Republican Gun, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 5:18am

    Email Addresses

    I have unlimited email addresses on all my domains. I have a gmail account, yahoo, myway, and a spam filled ISP account. This bill sounds like that idiot talking about how the internet is a bunch of tubes with diesel 2 ton trucks running through it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    ShadowSoldier, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 5:18am

    Re: how's this....

    Damn Straight! No need for any sentencing trials either. If you commit a crime like that you are no longer of value to society. I say we let the victims kill them though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    dennis parrott, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 5:37am

    well, the post is partly correct...

    while it is largely true that the morons we ALL elect are only trying to create the appearance of actually doing something about the largely overblown issue of "online child predators" there is one real important bit that was completely missed in why these bills get put on the floor for a vote and why they pass so easily....

    Pork! The Other Form of Graft!

    this silliness will create a whole new bureauracracy that will need some senator's big donors to run, will create opportunites for some other senator's big donors to become contractors to, yadayadayada... all the while giving the morons we've elected a great way to trumpet how they have struck some great blow against online child predators. and all the while the huddled masses of abused voters will be lulled into believing that steaming pile of lies and total fabrications and thinking that the money they are hemorraging from the treasury is going toward something worthwhile. before long, some other stupid, clueless boob of a politician will start going on about how we "need to declare war on online predators" and then the costs will start to really add up like that idiotic "war on drugs" we spend a BILLION PER WEEK on and that does NOTHING of any consequence.

    the plain and unfortunate truth is that the most effective means at a parent's disposal to help their kids stay out of these situations is for them to BE BETTER PARENTS! Spend time with your kids, educate your kids -- don't candycoat the world, teach them what goes on out there -- and make sure you know who you kids are hanging out with -- online and offline!

    But you know, the Nanny State is in full gear here in Amerika, my friends. Aind in the Nanny State, nobody should be expected to actually have to do their job, especially when that job is "hard" and in the Nanny State that means we need a "Program".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Sex Offender, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 5:38am

    I'm a sex offender

    and this bill is ridiculous. I was a case of 18 year old with a 15 year old.

    I own 40 domain names. Technically any address sent to those domain names comes to me. Do i have to register all those?

    This is a bad idea. I can't fathom how much spam and harassement I"m going to recieve when this passes. Senators don't understand that Email isn't like a physical address.

    You can't go to somebody's house anonymously, but you CAN email them anonymously.

    This is going to lead to nothing but harassment of people that don't deserve it. (most sex offenders aren't dangerous, they're peeing in public, had a young girlfriend, got naked in front of the window types.. the real dangerous kiddy touchers are in prison)

    I've read the bill. Technically if I were to take a new job, I wouldn't be allowed to use my new email from work until I had registered it with the Govt, and I'd only be able to do that once every 3 months. Using a newly assigned work email on the day it's given to me would net me a 10 year felony.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:00am

    Oh my god we elected morons...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Andrew W, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:02am

    And then think of major news sites that allow comments. Top stories get thousands of replies. Admins might respond by installing a flagging or voting/karma system, but then you're allowing people not just to bury comments but to be the law. This bill is the national equivalent of that Andy Griffith episode where Gomer discovers the phrase "citizen's arrest".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    chuck, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:10am

    The stupidity will be exposed hearings, I hope.

    Hey - let's all get aboard the proposal to make bills available on the internet at least 2 weeks prior to the voting so we can ferret out all the hidden trash in them.

    and tell McCain I spoofed my address on this post.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Charles R Powell, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:24am

    This is another case of gov. bull. We need to enforce the laws we have instead of making new ones that make no sence .

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Elkroppo, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:39am


    Here is the problem with shooting sex offenders. Who decides what a punishable offense is? I have a friend serving a mandatory five year federal sentence because as an 18 year old he had pictures of his 16 year old girlfriend on his computer. He was legally allowed, under state law, to plow this girl's field, but some overeager fed prosecutor felt that he was a danger to society because he had a photo, and that is child pornography, regardless of state age of consent laws.

    Until there is some rationality in the national laws I have no respect for the current legal structure. We can't even decide who is an adult (16, 18, 21 years old), so how the heck do we protect "the children"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Ryan, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:46am

    Email your senators

    Anybody that owns a website, please email, call, or write your senator and tell them to vote no on this.

    Sadly, this bill may bass without even being read. Many senators will see the word "sex offender" and just vote yes without even reading it.

    Contact them... let them know what it would entail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Bob, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 6:59am

    If you want to protect kids online then the best way to do that is make it illegal for kids to go online. Problem solved and it wont cost a thing!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Chris, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    Re: Irrational

    That really is retarded. Especially since nudity in and of itself does not qualify as pornography, which I guess means it must have been a rather explicit photo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 8:34am

    yeah, everyone will have ot have their gov't issued ID card, and all routers/modems/switches/hubs/wi-fi cards/computers/cat5 cable/phone lines..... will all have card readers, so you can prove who you are....

    or better yet, RFID tags inserted in our wrists or necks, and we get scanned to use the net. yuppers!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Bob, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 9:18am

    #7 Sex offender you did it to yourself. Dont break the law with minor and wouldnt have any reason to complain. You broke the law so stop bitching!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 9:22am

    18 and 15....that's a HS senior and a freshman. not so bad? is a college freshman and a college senior that bad? what about a 30 and 33 yo? how about 40 43? not so bad?

    we need some consistancy here. right? 12 is an adult in some cases, then it's 14, 16, 18, 19, 21? different derees for everything.

    our society is just so screwball, because of the "change of power" every 2/4/6 years. one law gets enacted, later it's revised, butstays, and then it gets wiped and changed. it's all just crazy

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Davey, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 9:29am

    Protect us from pious politicians

    Politicians don't make laws like this because they have the remotest chance of doing some good for anybody. The write them so they can posture about how hot they are to "protect the children". And then all the idiots scream and cheer and feel so protected that they go out and buy some more crap at the mall.

    I've about had it with the hysteria over "online predators". If even now, after all the salatcious FakeNews hooha on the topic, minors and their parents are incapable of avoiding going out to the mall to meet up with a stranger, maybe real life experience of the consequences is the only remaining option for getting a basic education in how to exist on planet earth. Maybe then we can even hope for an electorate with something besides shit for brains.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Paul McConnell, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 9:44am

    Spam the Gov't

    We're all geeks here right? Just cobble up a little program that automatically deletes dodgy posts and fires off a form letter to John McCain or whoever. The sell it to all the other webmasters. Now you can honestly say you are trying to do something, instead of whining how difficult it is and doing nothing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 10:15am

    Re: Protect us from pious politicians


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 10:16am



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    sex offender, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 10:20am


    Bob, I broke the law.. Correct.

    I also went to jail, and got out. I served my time and I'm done with it.

    why is it that I continue to have laws imposed upon me whereas all other ciminal don't?

    How would you feel if you got a ticket for speeding then 10 years later they said "oh, by the way... we raised the fines. you only paid $100 10 years ago, you owe us another $400 now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Aaron, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 10:36am


    I think most of this so called "sex offender" legislation is total crap - and no, I'm not a sex offender. If you commit a crime and you are convicted, you serve your time or punishment and then your "debt" to society should be paid. If society believes that you are still a threat, then they shouldn't release you in the first place - otherwise, debt paid and now the individual has a choice about how to live their life and more importantly a chance to succeed in life. If you keep kicking a person, after a while they just stop to care - not to mention if it was ever brought up some aspects would probably be found unconstitutional. It's like the law in New York city where an adult cannot sit or be in a park without a child - that's just plain messed up.

    As for raising and protecting kids, it's never going to be the government that does the best job, it involves having parents that are involved in their children's life and use a bit of common sense - duh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Matt, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 10:37am

    @ post 18

    There is a huge difference between 15 year olds and 18 year olds in high school. The government thinks an 18 year old is old enough to be drafted and join the military, to vote, to be considered independent of its parents, etc... There are 15 year old girls that haven't even started their period yet. The other huge difference is brain development. Look it up, 15 year olds have barely begun to scratch the surface of brain development. This is where the big deal between a 40 & 43 year old couple and a 15 and 18 year old couple is. The 40+ couple has had a fully developed brain for 20 some years. Whereas the 15 and 18 year old could be at completely different stages.

    I'm not saying all laws are great, hell, I think very few are even good. But, its your duty as a citizen to know the law and if you don't want to get in trouble, follow them.

    And the biggest thing you can do is what post #13 said; call or email your senator! Its not hard and its probably the most effective way to solve this problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Jeremy Boyd, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 10:39am

    Seriously, Mike? Your complaint about the reporting provision is that we might file "hundreds of these reports every day?" I've never seen child pornography on any of my comments, and I've never left any. What the hell websites do you frequent where the administrators could be prosecuted under this provision?

    I agree that the bill is mostly useless and a great example of politicians' failure to understand new technologies. The email-registration provision is nonsense. But your suggestion that the rest of it is similarly nonsense because we might generate too many of these reports is ridiculous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 12:57pm


    Read up on some of the "child porn" cases that have gone through.

    Some examples of "guilty" child porn cases

    Mothers pictures of there kids bathing
    Teen Magazine photos shoots
    Beach photos of kids in bathing suits
    underwear adds of kids.

    All the above were classified as child porn in some cases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Jeff, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 1:16pm

    Matt, you're reasoning is flawed

    In regards to an 18 year old being an adult and a 15 year old being a child.

    If a 15 year is a child, why are there cases where the prosecutors have tried to get 15 year olds tried as adults in murder cases? We have to draw the line somewhere.

    The simple fact is everybody is different. People mature differently. I've seen 16 year olds that still act 12 and I've seen 12 year olds that act like adults. I almost "hooked" up with a 14 year old when I was a senior in high school. The only thing that stopped me was her sister was around and she was best friends with my then girlfriend. I was 18 but I was still thinking like a kid. So why would I have been considered an adult?

    Child molestation is definitely bad and I think people who molest children should spend life in prison, but my definition of children is younger than a high school freshman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 1:40pm


    there are cases of 16yo being granted emancipation from their parents. i'm sure i can find a case of a 15 yo who was emancipated.

    so, it's funny this huge standard we have....

    and if you think 40yo's have developed brain capacity....just go to any monstor truck rally or county/state fair. then tell me that those 40something are full mental capacity

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    No-One, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 1:48pm


    Dude...that part about monster trucks was awfully damn funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Matt, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Matt, you're reasoning is flawed

    If a 15 year is a child, why are there cases where the prosecutors have tried to get 15 year olds tried as adults in murder cases? We have to draw the line somewhere.

    The line happened to be drawn at 18 years of age which is what we're talking about, not murder.

    I do agree with you that people do mature differently, but, the main fact is developing judgment. Heres an interesting article...its also about murder, but, it does reference judgment.

    It all comes down to what the law is and the 18 year old (above) should have known...its his responsibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Charles Griswold, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 5:30pm

    Sex Offenders

    When people hear the term "sex offender" they usually think of the vilest sorts of offenders: pedophiles, rapists, and the like. What they forget is that there are all sorts of sex offenses. The proposed law would also affect anyone who as been convicted of prostitution. Sorry, but I don't think that a 50-year-old grandmother who was once convicted of prostitution when she was 18 should be put into the same category as a serial rapist.

    Just my 2 cents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Charles Griswold, Dec 11th, 2006 @ 5:41pm

    LOL No More

    From the article:
    Yet some of those very acronyms reveal the danger that unpoliced computer use can pose: [. . .]
    RPG: Role playing games
    So, Dungeons and Dragons is a threat to today's youth. Again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Jeff, Dec 12th, 2006 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Email Addresses


    "I have unlimited email addresses on all my domains. I have a gmail account, yahoo, myway, and a spam filled ISP account. This bill sounds like that idiot talking about how the internet is a bunch of tubes with diesel 2 ton trucks running through it."

    Gosh, I think people are missing the point. If we have the email address of a sex predator, can't we just have someone drive through the tubes until they get to the predator's email address, then once we're at his house we can just dig a moat through whatever on-ramp the predator is using to get on the Information Superhighway? If he can't even get on the highway, how's he going to drive to google-mail, yahoo-mail or anything else?? No, sirree I think those Senator guys are really on to somethin' this time!

    ;-) ;-) ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Mark, Dec 14th, 2006 @ 5:32pm

    Doesn't matter

    Even if this passes, it won't make a lick of difference. Which agency is going to step up and field all those reports? Is the FBI going to drop its investigations of real crimes so they can track down ne'er-do-well blog posters? The bill will pass amid a slew of patriotic flag-waving, and then it will hit with a thud and no one will ever do anything about it. Then, 50 years from now, someone will write one of those columns about weird laws that are still on the books and will mention this as one of them -- "Hey, did you know that every time someone posts something that might be illegal in an online forum you're supposed to file a report with the government? Who knew?!"

    One of the lesser-known bulwarks of democracy is indifference. Politicians didn't start being stupid recently; they've pretty much always had their share of morons. But when they do something that the rest of us find stupid, we ignore it. That's the way it's always been, and so it shall remain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    G Jennings, Jan 4th, 2007 @ 4:23pm

    Sex Offenders

    I am not a big fan of the Chinese Communist Government, however, they have it right in one sense. Small room, soldier, pistol, one round, base of skull.... belated birth control. Zero chance of reoffending, secondary bonus - cheap fertilizer. Cost of the bullet is sent to the pervert's next of kin.
    Permanent and complete rehabilitation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. identicon
    Christine, Nov 29th, 2007 @ 4:46pm

    KIDGUARDLIVE.COM. check it out. it is good

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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