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No Space for MySpace? 272

Posted by Zonk
from the gotta-keep-connected dept.
conq writes "BusinessWeek looks at the flaws in the bill proposed by the House of Representatives that would block access to social networks and Internet chat rooms in most federally funded schools and libraries. One big problem with their bill is it is much too vague, it 'could rule out content from any number of Internet companies, including Yahoo! and Google.' What's more, DOPA would prohibit sites that enable users to create their own content and share it. That covers a wide swath of the online world, known colloquially as Web 2.0, where users actively create everything from blogs to videos to news-page collections." This is analysis of a bill we covered yesterday.
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No Space for MySpace?

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  • 1st Ammendment? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by renehollan (138013) <{ten.eriwraelc} {ta} {nallohr}> on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:26PM (#15320946) Homepage Journal
    "What's more, DOPA would prohibit sites that enable users to create their own content and share it".

    There's something "Freedom of Speechish" about that that doesn't sound quite right. What's the argument going to be? "No, we aren't preventing speech about topic X -- we're preventing all speech". Riiiiight.

    • Re:1st Ammendment? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EvilMagnus (32878) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:27PM (#15320967)
      Sounds like it'd ban email, too.

      After all, what is email but user-created content that is then shared with others?
    • Agreed, my web host has an online text editor. So given the loosest reading of the text, their hosting system would have to be trimmed down.

      -Rick
    • Re:1st Ammendment? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pete6677 (681676) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:42PM (#15321108)
      Unfortunately it is becoming all to common for politicians to pass legislation on subjects they know nothing about with disastrous consequences. Remember the DMCA, and the Communications Decency Act of 1995?
      • Unfortunately it is becoming all to common for politicians to pass legislation on subjects they know nothing about with disastrous consequences.

        Maybe it's not stupidity. How many republicans blame the internet for shining a light on what they're doing and thereby raising public awareness and undermining their popularity? Maybe those "disastrous consequences" are exactly what they're trying to achieve.

        • Re:1st Ammendment? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Cromac (610264) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:58PM (#15321716)
          How many republicans blame the internet for shining a light on what they're doing and thereby raising public awareness and undermining their popularity?

          Probably about as many as there were Democrats complaining about the same thing in the 2004 election when people were finding out all about Kerry.

          • Re:1st Ammendment? (Score:2, Insightful)

            by spun (1352)
            Finding out about Kerry? Finding out what, exactly? Lies about his past, or the fact that he's more wooden than Keanu Reaves (for which we certainly didn't need blogs.)

            Why do you conservatives DO this? Anyone says anything bad about yer boy, ya gotta pipe up with, "Yeah, well so and so did it too!" Were you brought up by wolves, man? 'Cause my parents never put up with that shit.
      • Dumb legislation is nothing new. There have always been politicians passing laws about things they know nothing about. So hearing about a new internet censorship law that is vague is no surprise.

        What I want to know is how do they plan to enforce it? If MySpace moves their servers to another country, does the U.S. government have any jurisdiction over them whatsoever? Will they block content that is illegal in the U.S. from these servers in other nations? Because if they do, how are they any different f
  • by Salty Moran (974208) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:26PM (#15320947) Journal
    The argument is that it's "federally-funded" areas that are being targetted for enforcement, but wouldn't that amount to the government selectively banning content from the public? In which case wouldn't it be easy-pickings for a lawsuit over first amendment rights?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Does the federal government have the authority to ban books from a public libraby. From what I understand of this bill, it would make the targeted sites (whatever they may be, it's beyond the scope of this comment) inaccessible at a public library. My comment/question is can the federal government ban certain books from the library, because it would seem like whatever rulings have or have not been made on this issue would apply to banning certain websites as well.
    • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp.freeshell@org> on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:41PM (#15321101) Homepage Journal
      Not at schools. The government has decided that anybody is basically allowed to do anything they like to students.

      You have no protection against search&seizure, no accused rights, and no first - and absolutely definitely no second ammendment rights.

      The logic is that until your old enough those rights really belong to your parents - which is why most of the initial punishments in school involve sending the kid home. If someone does something to you at school it is assumed that your parents sanction it because they go there and have access to the school board.

      Along the same lines, however, parents are generally allowed to say that they don't want a particular book to be in a school library (like "Heather Has Two Mommies") or do want it despite a librarian's insistence that it's inappropriate (as I've actually seen come up with "Harry Potter").

      I don't see how they're justifying general public libraries, though.
      • I don't see how they're justifying general public libraries, though.

        It's aimed soley at institutions that receive money from the "Universal Service Discount" program, y'know that "fee" or "tax" that is added onto your phone bill every month. This money is paid out to qualifying schools and libraries that apply for the program.

        COPA, the law that "requires" filtering of harmful content at libraries and schools, applies to the same group of institutions.

        Essentially, if you're an administrator and you decided t
      • by Golias (176380) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:20PM (#15321439)
        What's incredibly short-sighted about this bill is that the Internet is not, and never was, intended to be a tool for one-way information gathering. Plenty of such tools already exist. The value of the Internet is a direct result of the fact that it is a means of two-way communication.

        MySpace gets used for a lot of frivolous blogs and teen flirting, but it's silly the way it's being scapegoated. Just as with AOL chat a few years ago, the bogeyman of a Creepy Old Guy wanting to run off with your teenager keeps getting trotted out, but the vast majority of statuatory rape cases are going on in homes, with family members or close friends of the family.

        Where's the crack-down on a dad's 40-year old drinking buddy slipping upstairs to visit his daughter during a back-yard BBQ? That's the *real* teen abuse problem.

        For the most part, there are no "strangers in the bushes" to worry about, and the way to guard against such rare cases is to teach your teen some sense.

        Look, princess: The grown-up who wants to hook up with you at a motel is not "cool". If he was "cool" he could find women his own age to sleep with. He's a LOSER, and you should stay away from him. Now, have fun chatting with your pals on MySpace, but remember that I have a profile on your Friends list, and will check in from time to time. There will be consequences for misbehavior.

        This bill would do absolutely nothing to protect children. Irresponsible kids and their adult predators will simply move to a different medium to hook up, such as text messaging on cell phone networks. I'd like to think that those behind this bill are simply ignorant of that fact. If you live in Michael Fitzpatrick's Congressional district, please write to him and explain that fact.
        • Where's the crack-down on a dad's 40-year old drinking buddy slipping upstairs to visit his daughter during a back-yard BBQ?

          You described a situation that I'm familiar with. Only it was the mom's 40-year-old priest who slipped upstairs to visit his daughter during a back-yard BBQ. His son walked in on them after hearing noises coming from his sister's bedroom and thinking that everyone was in the backyard.

          That was *years* ago. The daughter is still pretty messed up over it. No "stranger in the bushes"
        • For the most part, there are no "strangers in the bushes" to worry about

          Well... What about Brian Peppers?
        • MySpace gets used for a lot of frivolous blogs and teen flirting, but it's silly the way it's being scapegoated. Just as with AOL chat a few years ago, the bogeyman of a Creepy Old Guy wanting to run off with your teenager keeps getting trotted out, but the vast majority of statuatory rape cases are going on in homes, with family members or close friends of the family.

          Where's the crack-down on a dad's 40-year old drinking buddy slipping upstairs to visit his daughter during a back-yard BBQ? That's the *real

        • The value of the Internet is a direct result of the fact that it is a means of two-way communication.

          That's its value to us. It is exactly the opposite of what politicians and media corporations want. How dare we voice our opinions about politicians? How dare we steal from the media corporations by providing free content? I think this bill is more about limiting the radical opportunites presented by the Internet than it is about protecting anything other than the status quo.

          The rest of your post is right on
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:26PM (#15320948) Homepage Journal
    "DOPA would prohibit sites that enable users to create their own content and share it."

    Wouldn't this cover any web-hosting service?
    • "DOPA would prohibit sites that enable users to create their own content and share it."
      Wouldn't this cover any web-hosting service?

      Hell, isn't a school a site [answers.com] that enables users to create their own content and share it?

      -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • Nearly all websites create cookies on the student's network drive and share them with the site on each visit. Someone didn't think this through.
    • "DOPA would prohibit sites that enable users to create their own content and share it."

      Wouldn't this cover any web-hosting service?

      Or e-mail? Ha ha.

      Mike.

      • Um, e-mail, Adelphia, and Comcast are all blocked at my work (I work at a K-12 private school. I don't have control over the main filters, but I do have the override password (being one of the sysadmins) so that I can access my own personal e-mail and some blocked forums.)
  • DOPA? (Score:5, Funny)

    by windex (92715) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:26PM (#15320951) Homepage
    Why not just call it DOPY, so we get a better picture of what the politicians are thinking.
  • China (Score:5, Funny)

    by McGiraf (196030) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:27PM (#15320954) Homepage
    That's it! I'm moving to China.
  • by Moqui (940533) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:27PM (#15320956)
    Oh crap, my constituents are upset again about something. Let's knee-jerk a bill together that is ill-defined and problematic. God knows it won't ever pass, but it looks like we did something!
    • but the trouble is that it is becoming worringly likely that it will pass...
    • If only I hadn't spent all my mod points, this one would have got an underrated. Legislatures habitually throw out wild, vague bills then spend absolutely no time lobbying them, so they can come up with dramatic statements for elections to attack opponents. Bills that direct hundreds of millions in funding, but don't specify where the funding will come from is a prime example. Rep. Dunghill voted against building ten new schools in inner cities. Senator Douchebag proposed a bill that would stop geezers from
  • Neat! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:27PM (#15320959)
    So Congress gets to bask in the glow of the "protect the children" big lie, AND deal a significant blow to that pesky "blogger" problem. This bill is like a politicians' wet dream.
  • by abscissa (136568) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:27PM (#15320960)
    So it is perfectly legal to view porn in the public library, and they will even give you a special screen to do it... but not myspace?
    • Is the screen special because it is easy to wipe clean?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Is the screen special because it is easy to wipe clean?"

        No, it has one of those anti-glare filters. If I had a nickel for every time I've lost an erection as a result of glare on the screen blocking my view of teh pr0n, I could rent me some high class hookers.
        • If I had a nickel for every time I've lost an erection as a result of glare on the screen blocking my view of teh pr0n, I could rent me some high class hookers.

          Man, I'd be broke. You should go talk to your doctor if it's that fleeting.
    • So it is perfectly legal to view porn in the public library, and they will even give you a special screen to do it... but not myspace?

      Since when does the peepshow loan out books?
    • ... when many years ago I convinced the old biddy at the reference desk to get the book on nudist resorts out of the cage for me.

      You young whippersnapers! Git offa mah lawn!
  • The school I went to blocked certain sites via "custom block" on websense etc...

    Someone I knew found out the admin password by watching him type it because he lost the password to his account. He used it to change the school's homepage to a websense looking page saying category block "school/education" because at his school, the blocks were VERY restrictive and blocked legit sites. IMO best prank ever (and he got 3 days of detention for it :p).
  • by Burlap (615181) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:30PM (#15320991)
    how about insted of going after the law abiding we go after those who are breaking the law?

    oh rihgt, cause those that follow the rules are much easier to controll, and if they cant vote, all the better
    • oh rihgt, cause those that follow the rules are much easier to controll, and if they cant vote, all the better

      Being a criminal, I personally take it on myself to know the rules, and "follow" them so that I can continue being a criminal.

      I forget how the quote/saying goes, but its something like, "In a system where everybody is criminal, the only crime is stupidity."

  • by eln (21727)
    That covers a wide swath of the online world, known colloquially as Web 2.0, where users actively create everything from blogs to videos to news-page collections."

    I thought "Web 2.0" was supposed to mean the new "Ajax powered" web, where people use Javascript just like they always have, except now it (sometimes) uses XML too. Now "Web 2.0" means, basically, the Internet?

    People have been "actively creating" online content, including blogs (formerly known as "home pages") since the beginning of the Web. I d
  • by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:31PM (#15320999)
    OK, I can see why a public library might need a little more room to wiggle, I will definitely concede that point - but public schools and those oh so great government jobs? They don't need access to MySpace.

    I also have a hard time believing that it isn't vague for specific reasons. Police might need to be able to access these sites for research reasons, as would some Gov't employees tasked with research. You don't want those people restricted in their web access.

    You do however want to restrict that moron at the DMV from checking out the American Idol blogs.

    This seems to be a common way for legislators to write law that can be selectively enforced.

    Ahhh, its moot anyway. These people don't understand what it is they're writing laws for anyway - they just know they have to do something or lose votes.
    • You do however want to restrict that moron at the DMV from checking out the American Idol blogs.

      Why? If his manager feels the need to blog that, that's his manager's decision. But if he's going to slack off all day doing crap like that, chances are if you take that site away from him he'll just find some other way to slack off.

      The federal government has no place legislating morality, and it has no place legislating the behavior of state and local institutions. They are doing an end-around on the Constitu
    • but public schools and those oh so great government jobs? They don't need access to MySpace.

      Because, going to a business- and IT-oriented highschool, nobody would ever do a research project on social networking sites or any other Web 2.0 stuff.

      • Before I say anything, is this a public school that only focuses on Business and IT? If so, what school is it?
        • It is a magnet school in New Haven, Connecticut. You know, New England.
          • Yeah, I know New England. Hell I can even find Connecticut on a map. I lived in Simsbury. And your condecending reply is typical of the population there.

            Now, how about reading the bill before you go and cry "I won't be able to learn!"

            (d) DISABLING DURING ADULT OR EDUCATIONAL
            USE.--Section 254(h)(5)(D) of such Act is amended--
            (1) by inserting ''OR EDUCATIONAL'' after
            ''DURING ADULT'' in the heading; and
            (2) by inserting before the period at the end the
            following: ''or duri

    • The part that concerns me, as an incoming college freshman, is that it says "any gov't funded school", which could mean universities. That'd be a pain in the ass.
  • by sous_rature (969750) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:35PM (#15321038)
    The vast majority of high schools and elementary schools in the US (i.e. those with funding to hire someone who knows how to use the internet) already do extensive blocking of this sort of material. The problem is that with proxy sites and other work-arounds this legislation will be no more effective than the policies which are already in place. The flip side is that those teachers who have found innovative ways to use blogging, wiki-ing, and other interactive web media in their teaching won't just be able to go to local officials to clear ideas.
  • by davek (18465) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:39PM (#15321077) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone think that there exists sufficient language to regulate ANY activity on the internet? Governments use platforms like child porn and copyright infringement to attemnt to push legislation into the mostly lawless arena of the internet. If any sweeping legislation does get through, who's going to enforce it? Internet police? The logical conclusion is what government does with all other regulation: licence and tax. To optain an IP address, you would need a government supplied license, one which requires signing off on a legally binding agreement, paying a fee for the beurocracy, and a tax for the usage.

    I don't see how else you can even think about drafting laws in a lawless arena. The first step for everything is that which China has already made: all ISPs are now 0wned by the government.

    -dave
    • The internet doesnt need specialized laws, it just needs the already existing laws to be applied. Fraud is fraud whether it is on the internet (in spam) or in person. The Internet is not some magical place where laws dont work, they just need to stop being specialized for the internet. The internet is the mall, laws work there too. Stop making STUPID laws like this bullshit and it wont be a problem.
    • Child pornography is a kind of lame excuse to invoke censorship. Most interest in such stuff is generated by illegality of it: quite a lot of the people like using/having illegal stuff just for the thrill of doing something illegal.
      But actually, child porn is very boring in comparison to the contemporary adult porn. If legalized, it will quickly disappear, or become fringe activity, but will be no more stupid excuse.

      You have to think about children? No, you don't have. You have to think about your fr
    • If any sweeping legislation does get through, who's going to enforce it? Internet police? The logical conclusion is what government does with all other regulation: licence and tax.

      Well... We could just outsource our ISPs to China. We'll save time and money!
  • What to know why Rupert Murdoch is hosting fundraisers [newsmax.com] for Hillary Clinton?

    Murdoch owns MySpace.

    Hmmmmm....
  • and pass a law that sends all children to boarding school at an early age and denies them all contact with the outside world until they are 21.
  • by Afrosheen (42464) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:46PM (#15321152)
    You'd think with the amount of computer literacy children are growing up with these days, they'd have an inkling of paranoia about meeting people from MySpace and other sources. I imagine AOL deals with stuff like this on a daily basis.

      I guess Devo was right, society really is devolving and people are getting dumber overall rather than smarter. Just because a monkey can use a stick to fish ants out of an anthill we think the monkey is smart. But this is the same monkey you can trap by putting food in a glass jar. Therefore, children may appear smarter because they're typing LOL on their computers, but they're still morons at the end of the day.
    • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:16PM (#15321403) Journal
      I don't think people are devolving. I think kids -- and, let's face it, society at large -- are poor at causality. As Bruce Schneier said in "Beyond Fear", we underestimate the danger of things we know, and overestimate the danger of things we don't know. So, the clueless parents and congresscreatures are scared of MySpace, and the kids who are used to it don't treat it carefully enough. If you're a homely 13-year-old and post pictures of your jammie parties for your friends, and then suddenly you hit puberty and aren't so homely anymore, are you likely to change your behavior? Why would you? Are you likely to have a clue about why people suddenly start treating you differently? This has been happening forEVER. My grandmother remembers working at a restaurant 2 miles from her house, when she was 12 (yeah, a while ago, and she lied about her age because her family was living in a hole in the ground, basically) so she'd just walk through the railyards to get to work. Then she went, rather rapidly, from 'girl' to 'woman' and suddenly she was getting chased by hobos and hassled by railroad cops, and it was probably ten years later that she finally figured out why she'd had to start riding the bus, why suddenly everyone had gotten weird.

      Here's an analogy. Think of the people who sit at the x-ray machines looking for bombs in luggage. If they go 10,000 bags without seeing a bomb, they're quite likely to not notice a bomb in the 10,001th bag. Same thing with kids online, only with them it's probably more like 100 before their attention to hinky behavior has completely disappeared.

    • by JimBobJoe (2758) <swiftheartNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:32PM (#15321510)
      You'd think with the amount of computer literacy children are growing up with these days, they'd have an inkling of paranoia about meeting people from MySpace and other sources.

      And actually, I believe they do. The problem is media/politician spin.

      A 50 year old who harrasses a 14 year old at a mall is a dirty old man, but in the same event happening via Myspace and AIM the 50 year old is a "sexual predator." The reality of course is that the online event is much safer (after all, the 14 year old is behind a monitor at an unknown location and is in complete control over the situation) but is newer and easier to misunderstand.

      I contend that meeting people online first then meeting them in real life is far safer than meeting them in real life first--profiles and conversation (both online and on the phone) will give clues to the nature and personality of the person you're meeting--all of which you don't have the luxury of if you just meet them in real life first.
      • >I contend that meeting people online first then meeting them in real life is far safer than meeting them in real life first--profiles and conversation (both online and on the phone) will give clues to the nature and personality of the person you're meeting--all of which you don't have the luxury of if you just meet them in real life first.

        And I respectfully but strongly disagree. I can recognize someone with Down's Syndrome from 500 feet away. I can recognize a crazy homeless guy from 200 feet. I c

        • But, because I didn't get the 'different' vibe at first, by the time I could/should have I wasn't paying attention to it anymore.

          I don't consider your post as disagreeing with me. I never said that all indications of issues with an individual would manifest online, just that some will. I generally agree that online conversations can be lacking in certain regards, and that lack won't be filled until you meet the person in real life.

          My contention only was that more indicators indicating a safety issue will be
          • You may be right, and I agree with most of what you're saying. I suspect part of it might be that I have a highly-developed sensitivity for creepyvibe in person, and not so much online, but it's completely possible that other people might be better at detecting problem behavior or even just borderline behavior online. Default is to assume other people act like I do, and that's often not true. Maybe this is one of those times. I wish other people would reply, to give a broader experience base.
  • Our county office of education is the ISP for most of the school districts in the county. Filtering is already required by law. Our filters block MySpace and other similar sites, because the computers are there to be used for school work. Social networking is to be done on your own time, not when you are supposed to be researching a history paper during class time.
  • US Evil plan to control the world

    1: Have a guy invent windows to spy on everyone
    2: Keep everyone's phone records
    3: Prevent the young in school to create there own sites and ideas on the net
    4: Control the entire internet
    5: Give out the new uniforms
  • by underpope (952425) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:53PM (#15321206) Homepage

    I think this is a fantastic idea. Like most of the current Administration's plans regarding public schools, any such project regarding control of Internet access should NOT be funded by the federal government. Eventually, the schools will be spending so much money and dedicating so many resources to federally-required Internet restrictions and such that they won't be able to spend any money on any actual education. Et voilá! All those students grow up to become Republican neocon Bush supporters!

    It's absolutely brilliant!

    (And a quick note to those who will inevitably mark this as "Flamebait" or "Troll" -- I've already run this past my many Republican friends, and they all found it funny. Of course, they're all college educated and they all hate Bush, too. And reality, as we all know, has a well-known liberal bias.)

  • Wikipedia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by darkain (749283) on Friday May 12, 2006 @04:59PM (#15321247) Homepage
    I'm suprised that nobody has mentioned Wikipedia yet. This site is nothing BUT user created content, AND the best possible resource for students at ANY education level.
    • ANY education level? Sorry, but they have to be above age 7 or so (for the average student). I wouldn't quite feel comfortable recommending it for elementary school students. Through apprximately age 7, your mind has trouble distinguishing between fact and opinion, history and story, programming and commercials, etc. If they see such a well-written resource as Wikipedia with a couple of vandalized pages, I don't think they'll quite understand that the vandalism is inaccurate (especially the trollish vandali
    • I think this clause might protect Wikipedia.

      (d) DISABLING DURING ADULT OR EDUCATIONAL
      USE.--Section 254(h)(5)(D) of such Act is amended--
      (1) by inserting ''OR EDUCATIONAL'' after
      ''DURING ADULT'' in the heading; and
      (2) by inserting before the period at the end the
      following: ''or during use by an adult or by minors
      with adult supervision to enable access for educational purposes'' .

  • by suv4x4 (956391)
    There's only so much pressure a system can handle before it cracks and all the mess pours out.

    If they severely limit or cripple Internet access, people will either start setting up proxies from home to tunnel traffic through, or use other proxies, or do something else unthinkable or just not use that access at all and go for something alternate.

    RIAA and MPAA are learning this the hard way, but apparently others do not learn from their mistakes.
  • by i am kman (972584) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:02PM (#15321274)
    Jeez - the furor over MySpace.com is disgusting. It's a GREAT site and both my kids (and me, sometimes) use it all the time - along with instant messaging and online games and many other online things kids are into these days. It's easy to monitor their homepage and linked friends and such and most of the favorite bands have a site. It also gives the kids a place to express themselves.

    It's also quite safe if parents take some VERY basic precautions - turn off public viewing of the homepage (so only friends see it) and don't post very personal information (like schools or real names). And, of course, teach your kid not to be a moron.

    I'm sick of congress trying to pass legislation to overcome terrible parenting. Parents need to teach their kids better so they won't talk to 30+ year olds or arrange to meet folks they only met online. It's common sense and the parents responsibility.

    With VERY basic precautions and common sense, 99.9% of kids are perfectly safe and, when they're not, there are generally alot more serious problems at home than whether or not a kid has a myspace account.
  • Ignorance Run Amok (Score:4, Insightful)

    by panda (10044) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:09PM (#15321331) Homepage Journal
    Please, mod most of the Insightful posts above as "overrated." The posters simply don't know what they are talking about, though I can't blame them because TFA never mentions this part of it.

    If you read the bill, the requirement IS NOT that all schools and libraries block access to the websites, but only those that receive funding under the Universal Service Discount program. If a school or library does not receive that money, and IIRC the majority do not, then they are not required to block access to any sites, nor filter any content that is deemed "harmful to minors."

    This isn't a case of rampant government censorship, but of Congress placing conditions on the money that it doles out. If you run an affected institution and don't like the consequences, then don't accept the money.
    • by kindbud (90044)
      This isn't a case of rampant government censorship...

      You're right. It's a case of selective government censorship, which is arguably worse and less constitutionally sound than the rampant kind that applies to everyone.

  • by Tweekster (949766) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:13PM (#15321369)
    week. I have a crazy idea. why dont they ban pedophiles from MySpace and leave everyone else the hell alone.

    It would be *gasp* legal even.
  • In reality, this is just more of the same nonsense from the dolts on the hill. The problem has never been the content available to students. It has always been an issue of enforcing faculty responsibility. Students are given the opportunity to use systems unattended in the school environment without focus or direction.

    Granted, computers are a wonderful way to excite students towards learning methods. The internet provides a platform for research and collaboration unsurpassed by what any previous school
  • One of two things are going on here.
    Either the sponsors of this bill think it will work, or the sponsors of this bill know this is completely ridiculous, unenforcable and ultimately will probably be overturned. I'm not sure which frightens me more. The idea that our government is completely inept or the idea that our goverment is completely wasteful and corrupt.
  • Federal funding (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday May 12, 2006 @05:37PM (#15321543) Homepage
    We need a constitutional ammendment to fix this. The founding fathers forbade the federal government from regulating free speech. But the government found a loophole:

    1) Offer federal funding to sources of media (schools, libraries).
    2) Get them hooked on it.
    3) Threaten to cut it off if they don't comply with a freedom of speech limitation.

    Really, they could pass any law at all using this technique. Ex: "The president is now above all laws. Any state that does not agree to enforce this loses all state funding."

    The federal legislature would never pass a limitation on their own power, but it is possible for the states to propose and pass an amendment without federal support according to Article V [usconstitution.net] of the US constitution. (Note 2 explains this [usconstitution.net])

    I suppose that is silly though - the states could just start refusing federal funding. But that isn't likely unless all of them do because no state wants to be at a disadvantage.
    • We need a constitutional ammendment to fix this.

      What is wrong with this one?

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

      Emphasis added by me, but the original language is left in tact from the 1st amendment.

  • When I was growing up, Web 1.0 was all there was and I turned out fine! These darned kids are so spoiled! Get a Geocities account and a few "under construction" animated GIFs, and shut your traps!
  • "thier rights were striped away before thier very eyes"

    -exerpt from "History, 2000-2500"

    dont ask how i got it

  • Yippee! Like any serious geeks on /. really give a damn about that abomination of a site.
  • I think its high time to see the (I) next to a politician's name on the ballot as a clear indication they have been in office for far too long. Yeah we might lose a few good ones but it has become apparent the bad ones outnumber the good and it only is getting worse. They have essentially trapped us into voting for them over and over by using the courts to limit our choices and now they will further attempt to keep a good portion of the population in the dark.

  • congresscritters fear teh intarweb, as a haven for child pornographers

    slashcritters fear congresscritters, as trying to create orwell's 1984

    myspace fears slashcritters, because we all know why slashcritters post here and not somewhere where actual pictures are involved

    hey, i have a wacky idea:

    how about slashcritters have a point: government shouldn't intrude on people's civil life on the web

    and howabout congresscritters have a point: we need to catch pedophiles, and they do exist, and they are hurting child
  • Reading TFB... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by malibucreek (253318) on Friday May 12, 2006 @06:08PM (#15321782) Homepage
    I was all riled up to post a rant, and went to go read the bill first [politechbot.com] to gather ammunition.

    And what I found... wasn't as bad as the news reports made it out to be. Granted, it's still silly and won't stop kids from accessing sites they want to see. But it wouldn't, as now written, ban library access to all of Web 2.0.

    The bill would require federally-funded libraries to ban access to Web 2.0 sites through which students:

    (aa) may easily access or be presented with obscene or in decent material;
    (bb) may easily be subject to unlawful sexual advances, unlawful requests for sexual favors, or repeated offensive comments of a sexual nature from adults; or
    (cc) may easily access other material that is harmful to minors;

    So if your Web 2.0 sites don't allow readers to "easily access" the bad stuff, you are clear.

    *Of course* the devil be in dem der details. Which still makes this bill a lousy idea. But it wouldn't force librarians to shut down access to every discussion board and group blog on the Web.

  • Danah Boyd points out the real flaw in this bill: it only hurts the poor kids [alphajunkies.com]. Rich kids can get online through a cell, home, etc etc etc, where as econimically disadvantaged kids surf only at the library and are shut out yet again from their "cultural artifacts".
  • I'm sick all of our politicians being in the pockets of the Web-1.0-inistas. Our children are already behind in Math and Science and now you want them to be unfamiliar with the Web 2.0 and 2.1 revolutions?

    I refuse to let our politicians control us by keeping us ignorant (of Web 2.0 uberinnovation).

  • How many readers here have actually followed up and read the text of the bill involved?

    First, the bill only addresses access to the Internet from schools. Of course, if the law were applied at the HS or University level, I think it would be over the top. At the Elementary level, I'd have to think about it. But it can be taken as an example of the dumbing down of America.

    Second point, the solution must be able be disabled when there is adult supervision, or if its an educational situation. This almost me
  • My high school's ISP blocks most e-mail and social networking sites already. Facebook, MySpace, Gmail (curiously not googlepages yet... only a matter of time, I suppose), Yahoo, Hotmail, all Geocities sites (may actually be a benefit) and the usual pr0n/militia/omg ponies. I was shocked to find that any article on Games @ /. is also blocked.

    My biggest complaint, however, is when I have to use Tor on a flash drive just to get some sudoku action.
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday May 12, 2006 @10:35PM (#15323150) Homepage Journal
    It would normally be totally illegal for the feds to try to limit speech like this. It goes against the very intent of the First Amendment. But if you have feds fund schools, then they essentially get around this intended limit to their power, by being able to withhold funds from schools that don't play ball.

    This same sort of abuse happens in all sorts of ways. Look at how federally-funded scientists don't get to work on certain problems in biotech, or how states containing federally-funded roads (i.e. all of them) have to have a certain drinking age -- whether the people who live and vote there want it or not.

    If we make the feds stop taxing us, so we can afford to send the money to our state governments to fund our schools instead, then this kind of abuse will not be possible. So the next time some politician running for a federal office says, "I want to be the 'education president'" ask him if he's willing to prove it by cutting education funding.

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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