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?

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  1. identicon
    Jeff, 11 Dec 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.

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