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?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Duodave, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 10:37am

    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.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 10:50am

    I think its a wonderful idea

    In addition to making all these kids divulge their identities, that would make it much easier for me to find them.

    Did I just type that with my outloud keys?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous of course, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 10:51am

    I think the AG is wrong

    It appears to me that a good argument could be
    made that he's trying to regulate interstate commerce.

     

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  4.  
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    The infamous Joe, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:00am

    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?

     

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  5.  
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    Witty Nickname, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:29am

    Putting a man on the moon cost millions of dollars, nearly ten years, and several lives.

    What did we get for it? Neil Armstrong on a sound stage. (OK, I really don't believe that, but someone was going to say it)

     

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  6.  
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    charlie potatoes, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:38am

    commerce?

    have you read the commerce clauses in the constituton? you dont even want to get politicians thinking about interstate commerce... with that in mind they can take over the net. read them some time.. it is frightening how they are interpreted.

     

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  7.  
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    hoeppner, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:39am

    since one can't find a sure fire way its only logical to block everyone from that state... angry constituents for the win. the alternate website could even have his email address.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:56am

    Try enforcing that on a site not based in the US...

     

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  9.  
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    Nick D (profile), Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:58am

    You may as well say that if you can organize the efforts of a couple thousand motivated and educated people, you can alter behavior and enforce unenforceable restrictions on billions of people whose ingenuity will always outsmart anything a small group of people will come up with. This man on the moon quite is the dumbest one I have heard all year.

     

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  10.  
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    mad matt, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:58am

    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.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 1:11pm

    So the AG wants NASA to verify children's ages? Isn't that a waste of taxpayer dollars?

     

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  12.  
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    Ponder, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 1:28pm

    So lie....

    Well since most of them are lying about their age anyway (all those under 14 are!) it takes very little to lie about you age by more. Since all these predators are lying about their ages anyway, then this needs to be stopped first.
    Priorities:
    1) stop people lying about their ages and identities.
    2) protect minors.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 1:36pm

    He is just mad because Tom is his only friend.

     

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  14.  
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    Don Wood, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 2:36pm

    All you commentators

    Why do you folks hide behind all them funny names. Let me see your birth certificates. I believe some of you are being less than honest with them names. Got something to be ashamed of?

     

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  15.  
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    teknosapien, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 2:39pm

    So where are the parents?

    This is exactly what we need, more government intervention to save us from ourselves. As a parent the last thing I want is my children being raised by the state. If a child is hurt by an online profile then its the parents fault for not protecting their young

     

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  16.  
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    Bill, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 3:00pm

    Ads

    If the criteria is the viewing of ads then the simple solution is for everyone to move on over to Firefox w/Adblock. No more ads will be viewed. Problem solved.

     

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  17.  
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    Dosquatch, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 4:42pm

    Wait, I've got it!

    1. CT AG pwns all sites with teh ads

    2. Google has teh ads

    3. CT AG pwns teh Google

    4. PROFIT!!


    ZOMG! That fucking chain is finally complete!

     

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  18.  
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    NiteCloak, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 7:05pm

    MySpace

     

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  19.  
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    man on the moon, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:00pm

    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. pathetic...

     

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  20.  
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    wow, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 6:08am

    Re: So where are the parents?

    its nice to see that some parents in this world have brains!

     

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  21.  
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    bobwyzguy, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    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.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Ima Pseudonym, Mar 9th, 2007 @ 2:40pm

    Re: All you commentators

    Why do you folks hide behind all them funny names. Let me see your birth certificates. I believe some of you are being less than honest with them names. Got something to be ashamed of?

    I don't know what you're talking about.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    micheal rossiter, Mar 23rd, 2007 @ 3:05am

    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!

     

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


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