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Censorship Caldera Your Rights Online

SCO Chair's Anti-Porn Act Advances In Utah 421

Posted by kdawson
from the set-the-evil-bit dept.
iptables -A FORWARD writes "Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah reportedly plans to sign a resolution urging Congress to enact the Internet Community Ports Act. The ICPA proposes that online content be divided by port, rather like TVs have channels with adult and family content, so that certain internet ports will be 'clean' — so-called Community Ports — and others will be 'dirty.' Thus, they hope to remove objectionable content from port 80 and require that it be moved elsewhere (port 666 was already taken by Doom, sorry), so that people could more easily block objectionable content, or have their ISPs do the blocking for them. This concept is being pushed by the CP80 group, which is chaired by Ralph Yarro, who also chairs the SCO Group. That probably explains why they didn't choose to adopt RFC 3514, instead."
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SCO Chair's Anti-Porn Act Advances In Utah

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:53AM (#18360551)
    .. when I say, You have got to be FREAKING KIDDING ME.
    • by jimstapleton (999106) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:56AM (#18360573) Journal
      No, Only SCO would think that the state government of Utah controls the world.

      Anybody else would laugh - how the hell do they think that they can make this work, when most of the people in that industry AREN'T IN UTAH!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by SCPRedMage (838040)
      I know, my mind is still boggling over the sheer idiocy of RFC 3514. I mean, honestly, do you REALLY believe hackers are going to mark their packets as malicious?
      • by Drantin (569921) * on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:24AM (#18360879)
        It was an April Fool's joke a few years back... look at the date on it...
      • by db32 (862117) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:26AM (#18360897) Journal
        I honestly hope you don't think that is a real RFC. I really really hope that this is just a misunderstood attempt at sarcasm. Just in case it's not. Please check the date on that RFC, and then search through all RFCs for that same date...you might get the joke. Or you may just be very angry about the CHIMP protocol...
      • by Splab (574204)
        Uhm, I hope you are joking, but if not take a look at the date for the RFC.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by timster (32400)
        If they don't, then they are out of compliance with the spec. Besides, one of these days someone is going to use it as a legal defense. "Your Honor, the prosecution alleges that my client's DoS attack was intended to bring their systems down, but as you can see in this packet trace, he had the evil bit set. As RFC 3514 requires that firewalls drop all packets with the evil bit set, my client could not have possibly meant for these packets to actually get through."
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:32AM (#18360975)
        Umm...what? Where the hell do "hackers" and "malicious packets" come into this?

        We're talking about content. And, to be honest, a voluntary system for identifying "adult material" would probably be adhered to. Because it's in the porn industry's best interest.

        The porn sites are in business to make money. Period. And they're well aware of negative image that they give the rest of the industry, and that there's a lot of heat on them. Frankly, it helps them a lot to be able to say "look, we provide technical means to allow parents to filter this out for their children." Now they can do business in peace, without the hue and cry of "Think of the Children! We must protect them from teh interwebs!"

        Is it possible to circumvent this system? Absolutely. Will some people fail to adhere to it? Without doubt. But most of the "legit" porn industry would probably be relieved to have a system that lets them say they're acting in good faith as responsible citizens.

        The problem here is the implementation, not the concept. Segregating content by internet port is just silly. And the underlying concept is somewhat disturbing--I think the notion here is like broadcast and basic TV, and FCC decency standards could be enforced on port 80. Frankly, that has a LOT of negative implications that have nothing to do with porn.

        Simpler to implement solutions that would achieve the same effect: Add a new TLD for porn (though IMO the proliferation of TLD's in also flawed, but that's a different rant), adding a specific meta-tag (just as we do today for robots), adding a new attribute to the tag to classify certain images as adult-only, etc. I'm sure there are better ideas than mine out there.

        At some point, people who are ACTUALLY concerned about children are going to stop trying to figure out how to somehow outlaw porn and work with the industry to put voluntary controls in place.
    • by IdleTime (561841)
      Kids, repeat after me: "We love proxies!"
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:56AM (#18360579) Homepage Journal
    This is about as enforceable as the .xxx TLD. No matter what you do, you're not going to be able segregate the pr0n from other content. Unless you're SCO, I guess, then maybe you could sue those who don't comply by claiming that your intellectual property is on port 80, therefore you own all of the content on port 80 -- millions of lines of HTML!
  • dotXXX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash DOT eighty ... AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @07:58AM (#18360597)
    What makes this approach that much different from using the .XXX top-level? That's just as easily blocked, and easily passable (ssh or proxy)
    • The XXX tld isn't a wholly bad idea, because it relys on the voluntary cooperation of porn sites, something that is far more likely to be obtained than the ability to route types of content on the same protocol to different ports based on content.
      • by alcourt (198386)
        The .XXX domain is an awful idea. If people want kid friendly content, then make a .kids or similar domain. There, membership can't be pushed on organizations that might be slightly on the shady side depending on which administration is in power, but sites that demonstrate a clear "kid friendly" content can opt in and it is easier to handle and with less potential for censorship of material available to adults.

        • by farnz (625056)
          .xxx as a compulsory place for porn is a bad idea. .xxx providing a safe haven for porn is a good idea. The difficult bit is that we can't trust our politicians to go for .xxx as a safe haven over .xxx as a compulsory place for porn.

          What do I mean by a safe haven? Things like:

          • A site in .xxx can safely assume that anyone visiting is over the appropriate age limit in their locale, whether that be 18, 21 or 80.
          • A site in .xxx is protected from obscenity laws, as it's expected to be obscene. There may be har
    • Re:dotXXX (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:21AM (#18360853) Homepage
      If they must have something (not that I agree), a .kids would make more sense. Then parents can configure their home proxy to only allow traffic to *that* domain. But, based on crap I see like religious shows on tv having a 'G' rating (WHAT? If anything requires parental guidance...), this would not work either. Maybe require a license to have and keep a .kids TLD or something.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by operagost (62405)

        But, based on crap I see like religious shows on tv having a 'G' rating (WHAT? If anything requires parental guidance
        What about shows with political content? PG for them, too? Need to protect the children from dangerous opinions!
    • Well, with DNS, you can just get someone else registering a non-xxx domain and pointing it at your IP address.

      With this one, someone has to actually set up a box to tunnel the traffic to the alternate port.

      However, in both cases, we have legistatures who think that the know what's best for the entire world, and that there's a universal definition of 'offensive' or 'pornography' that works for all societies connected to the internet -- if we were to implement a ban on websites with offensive content, would w
      • The proxies will just adapt. Instead of just fetching web pages from an outside source, they'll get it from an outside source and push it back through port 80.
        Unless they get more insane and mandate that the pr0nmasters can't use HTML and come up with some sort of evil language that can't be handled by Internet Explorer... ...like HTML :)
  • "There is this assumption that you can't control it (the Internet)," Yarro said. "It's a toaster, we made it, we can fix it. ... We can solve the Internet pornography problem tomorrow if we decided to."

    Stupid legislators. It's not a fricking toaster, that's rediculous.

    It's a series of tubes.

    I thought we got that straight a few months ago!
    • by heroofhyr (777687) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:02AM (#18360649)
      Now all we need is to figure out a way to get Yarro to open Firefox in the bathtub.
    • by tb3 (313150)
      What makes me think the next piece of legislation this idiot will write will mandate that pi be defined as exactly 3, since 3.14159... is too difficult?
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        this idiot will write will mandate that pi be defined as exactly 3, since 3.14159... is too difficult?

        All that means is that his circles will be smaller? :-P
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      The only question is: "Is Yarro a liar or just a fool?"

      My guess is both.

      -Eric

    • It's a series of tubes.

      More importantly, it's a toaster that comprises a series of tubes... an international series of tubes.

      Even if it passes, and doesn't get smacked down by the Supreme Court, it is unenforcable anywhere but in the US. I suppose these congressbastards think they OWN the whole Interweb?!?

  • I think we can all agree that the only reaction this requires is a hearty "STFU".

    Leaving alone the obvious impracticality of implementation and enforcement (ask Australia about that), this moron thinks that he can legislate morality.

    My morality doesn't agree with his. I resent having moral decisions made for me, and I bet the majority of Americans feel the same way. If I want to look at porn, I should be able to look at porn. If someone else doesn't want to look at porn, they don't have to. What exactly
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stoolpigeon (454276) *
      could you name a law that doesn't legislate morality?
      • Most laws actually don't legislate morality, it's just that stuff that's good for the state (no drunk drivers, no drug use, no prostitution) often has a moral component.
        • the very idea that laws should be enacted for the good of the state is one of morality. the entire point of laws is making moral decisions for a group. it is valid to argue that this law does not reflect the morality of the majority but it is senseless to argue that you can't legislate morality.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Billosaur (927319) *

        Most of them. Most laws legislate behavior; morality only falls into law where there is no set definition of a concept or the definition is vague and subject to interpretation by a person's moral/ethical self. To take the most heated example, the law states that currently it is legal for a doctor to perform an abortion; the morality of the issue is a matter for the individual. If you believe it morally wrong, you do not have to participate, i.e. have an abortion. I personally think that abortion is morally

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TheCarp (96830) *
      OF course you rmorality doesn't agree.... your not a pervert.

      These Utahians are, on the other hand, quite obviously perverts.

      Look at it this way... theres lots of ways to divide up the world. You can say "there are black people and white people"... then you broke up the world on skin color. You can say "there are good days and bad" then you have broken up days based on how you feel about them.

      These people in Utah want to sort the entire content of the internet, based on sex. I say, putting such an incredibl
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by LizardKing (5245)

      this moron thinks that he can legislate morality.

      this mormon thinks that he can legislate morality.

      There, corrected that for you.

  • by BGraves (790688) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:06AM (#18360693)
    To all legislators:
            Please leave the internet alone. It works well. People smarter than you created it. It has revolutionized our world. Parents need to take care of their kids, not you. The more changes you make, the more likely you are to break something. Here's a deal. You don't need to get in the news to get my vote. Stay out of the news for a year, and I'll vote for you.
  • by Dunbal (464142) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:07AM (#18360699)
    or have their ISPs do the blocking for them.

          ISP: So, you want to see porn on the internet? You dirty bastard, that's an extra $50 a month and we'll unblock that port for you.

          Of course this would never work since it requires the cooperation of the whole world. As far as I know most online porn sites aren't based in Utah. When will they learn...?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by d3ac0n (715594)

      Of course this would never work since it requires the cooperation of the whole world. As far as I know most online porn sites aren't based in Utah

      Of course it won't work. But that's not the point. SCO is trying to generate good press for itself, and so are the legislators. It's all about PR for the non-IT educated masses. The fact that it will and could never work is irrelevant.

      Like many laws oriented towards social issues, this is about symbolism. Substance be damned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wile_e_wonka (934864)
      This is a proposed federal law being pushed by the governor of Utah. So, although you are correct that the whole world would need to cooperate, and you are correct that Huntsman is generally in charge only of his own state, and you are correct that this whole thing probably wouldn't work, you did get one thing wrong--he's pushing a federal law, which would apply to the entire US, so the content providers would not have to be in Utah for this proposed law to reach them (but they would have to be in the US).
  • Protocol != Content (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:08AM (#18360703) Homepage Journal
    Another genius idea from people who know absolutely nothing about how computers or the internet functions. Ports are for protocols, not content. The "content" is just a paticular arrangement of data sent over that protcol.

    What these guys really want is to mandate that all IPv6 packets have a TOTC(Think of the children) bit. Defaulted to 1, for "unsafe content". They then pass legislation banning ISPs from handling anything with a TOTC bit of 1. The only way to get a TOTC bit of zero, without breaking the law, is to apply for an extremely expensive licence and audit, available to only the largest corporations.

    Entirely coincidentally, the Chinese government's UFTP(Unsafe for the People) bit will occupy exactly the same position in their altered version of the IPv6 protocol, ensuring that the new, saer net will be fully interoperable.

    Farfetched? Well, which is more likely? This or competant government that's for the people?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by will_die (586523)
      Actually it is a rather smart idea, technology wise. Companies that deal with porn could place it on another port, say 84, and then redirect from a clean page. It is easy to implement with all current web servers and since the port is already a standard part of URL so search engines would beable to find it, along will all current software would not have a problem changing over to it. Since it does not have a domain no need to worry about all of that mess of that. In additional almost all home firewall ha
  • ...respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.

    That's an Amendment to the Constitution, better known as the First Amendment. The Constitution, folks, was written to restrict government's reach -- it was not written to protect our rights or to restict people.

    Our Federal government has absolutely zero power to regulate the Internet. The Interstate Commerce Act has been stretched to give Congress power, but the Act was not intended to
    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
      Try shouting fire in a crowded theater.

      You talk of censorship. But is it censorship to regulate the purchasing of porn to adults? Should children be able to walk into Joe's Adult Superstore and buy "Anal Masters 6"?

      Your post is completely irrelevant to the article because speech is not being regulated. What is being regulated is a technical issue. Specifically, what kind of data is available on what ports of TCP/IP.

      Let's remember that the Constitution was written to prevent Federal government from going bon

    • by westlake (615356)
      The Interstate Commerce Act has been stretched to give Congress power, but the Act was not intended to actually allow the government to regulate commerce but to prevent the Individual States from perverting commerce between them.

      "The founders' understanding of the word "commerce" is unclear. Although commerce means economic activity today, it had non-economic meanings in late eighteenth century English. For example, in 18th century writing one finds expressions such as "the free and easy commerce of social

      • by LizardKing (5245)

        Thanks for the enlightening description of the eighteenth century usage of the word "commerce". I'll just add this earlier example of usage from the diaries of Samuel Pepys [wikipedia.org]:

        Friday 12th: Attended to affairs in the heart of the city, thence to commerce with the free and easy Miss MacTavish, a charming wench I may add.

  • Censorship? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:25AM (#18360887) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to know why this is flagged as censorship. Is it considered censorship that adult movies can't be rated G? Is it censorship that pornography is not allowed in the .gov TLD? Just because it has to be segregated does't mean it is censored.

    Regardless of that, I don't see how this can be enforced, since only a fraction of .com domains are owned by entities in the USA.

    Dan East
    • Re:Censorship? (Score:4, Informative)

      by SQL Error (16383) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:54AM (#18361201)

      Is it considered censorship that adult movies can't be rated G?
      If the US government were to do it, then yes, it would be considered censorship, and a breach of the First Amendment.

      Is it censorship that pornography is not allowed in the .gov TLD?
      No. The government is not required to host pornography. They are simply not allowed to prevent private individuals from doing so.

      Just because it has to be segregated does't mean it is censored.
      Any abridgement of the freedom of speech is unconstitutional. That includes legislated categorization, which is why movie ratings are created by the film industry, and not by the government.

      This resolution avoids the problem by not actually trying to do anything, but the legislation it calls for would be clearly unconstitutional.

      Then again, so is McCain-Feingold.
    • Wow, you really don't understand, do you?

      Is it considered censorship that adult movies can't be rated G?

      No, because the rating system is done by private entities. If you want to make an unrated movie... go ahead. The MPAA is private, and can give you their 'seal of approval' if they like, or not... same thing like consumer reports. The point is, they aren't the government, and it isn't required

      Is it censorship that pornography is not allowed in the .gov TLD?

      I'm going to plead ignorance on t
  • I'm sorry, but I've never in all of my years browsing websites and newsgroups simply 'stumbled' across online porn.

    And as far as seeking it out, at least google and such have 'family filters' which actually seem to work pretty well, along with there being personal proxying products that you can use as well. Not that that is a perfect solution, but there *are* already solutions out there for parents/etc who feel the need to block things they don't want their children or themselves to see.
    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)
      Actually, I have. It has happened by two different mechanisms. One is typo-squatting, the other was loaded search results.

      Something to remember is that many home users will type something in the URL and hit enter. That can have all kinds of fun effects.
  • This is almost as funny as the joke.

    Life imitates comedy which imitates life or something like that. Where is my evil bit anyway? I know I have it stored around here somewere.

    dp

  • META or whatever - maybe for directories, include some simple unique character prefix (like ac_directoryname), that would make it able to restrict specific sensitive pages/directories instead of whole servers and such.

    It is something that could be implemented readily in content creation, be very open as a standard and filtered with much simpler methods then many of the other ones. I think sometimes we are putting too much though into it, maybe the MPAA with nthier broadcast flag/copy bit has us all messed
  • Instead of a black line across the guy's face it should be one of those balls in the mouth with elastic straps around his head...
  • and In Absurdium (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boyfaceddog (788041) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @08:52AM (#18361169) Journal
    1) Pass legislation to block evil pr0n from innocent kiddies by assigning it to a special port
    2) Make it acceptable for an ISP to block an entire port,
    3) Pass more legislation forcing some services onto certain ports (and allowing ownership of other ports (just like tv))
    4) Buy up ports and force ISPs to pay to use those.
    5) Both profit AND control of file sharing.

    STOP THIS LAW!!!
  • I for one (Score:2, Funny)

    by Grashnak (1003791)
    I for one welcome our content categorizing overlords. I look forward to getting a cushy government job in the new Ministry of Internet Content Categorization, where I will be paid big bucks to consider content before it is put online so that I can ensure that it is assigned its appropriate port number. For example, this idea could be assigned to Port 0, Dumbass Suggestions.
  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @09:21AM (#18361509)
    "There is this assumption that you can't control it (the Internet)," Yarro said. "It's a toaster, we made it, we can fix it. ... We can solve the Internet pornography problem tomorrow if we decided to."

    What Internet Porn problem? [straightdope.com] Nevermind the silly thought of the 'Net being a toaster.
  • by erik_norgaard (692400) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @09:35AM (#18361679) Homepage
    it is very unlikely that any site would adopt such ideas as moving to a specific port or top level domain on a global scale, basically saying "Don't enter here".

    Instead, it is more likely that businesses will adopt the reverse: Invent a means for sites to advertise that they are safe. A ".kids" top level domain would be much more effective than ".xxx", toy stores and other businesses targeting children would make sure to get their site up in that domain to reach their audience.

    For the same reason, a technical mean for sites to optionally advertise the content rating should be considered. The current http header lets the client specify a string of preferred languages, this lets servers redirect a request to the best matching language, or accepted formats.

    Similarly, one could add a header in the request accepted content classes. The response header should contain the actual classification returned. Servers not returning a classification should be treated as not-rated and may default to block or pass.

    The neat thing about this is that search engines will also get the classification header and a search query can restrict to matching classification. This way children won't find undesired results. Also, it provides more granularity, individual URL's can be classified differently.

    Of course, there are two problems:

    - It can be spoofed - but question is if there is a business incentive to do so.

    - Standardizing classification is very difficult, but at national level should be possible. The class codes could be prefixed by the national codes.

    Many sites might just remain non-classified, but if schools and institutions say that they only allow classified content, organizations will adopt this to reach their audience. If laws are passed to hold organizations liable for spoofed classification (but not lack of classification) then this might actually work: Those who have a business incentive will get reliable classification and the rest will simply remain unclassified. And no one have to move their domain and reestablish their name.

  • by Excelcia (906188) <kfitzner@excelcia.ca> on Thursday March 15, 2007 @10:14AM (#18362269) Homepage Journal
    You have to understand, this is not a bid to clean up the internet, this is a bid to clean up Yarro's reputation. Yarro is a mormon, and his reputation in the church has taken a huge beating with his falling out with the Noorda's and the whole SCO debacle. In Utah, members of the church who are businessmen can expect to have other memebers of the church who are businessmen not want to do business with them if they have a tarnished reputation. So... he is engaging in some very high profile activities to try and look as if he is championing moral behavior. He doesn't give a crap whether this actually passes or not, the whole point is just to make noise. In fact, he doesn't even have to have anyone even believe him. Just as long as there is enough "morality" noise that a person who would prospectively do business with him can point to to say "see... I'm not selling out in doing business with him", then he can still access his business network.

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