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Censorship Government The Courts United States News

COPA Suffers Yet Another Court Defeat 322

Posted by kdawson
from the let-it-die-already dept.
A US federal appeals court today struck down COPA, the Child Online Protection Act, a Clinton-era censorship law that the Justice Department has been struggling to get implemented for a decade. (The ACLU filed suit as soon as COPA was signed in 1998 and won an immediate injunction.) The battle has made it to the Supreme Court twice, and the DoJ has essentially never gotten any satisfaction out of the courts. This was the case for which the DoJ famously went trolling for search histories. In the ruling issued today, the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that COPA violates the First Amendment because it is not the most effective way to keep children from visiting adult Web sites. The law would require sites to check visitors' ages, e.g. by taking a credit card, if the site contained any material that is "harmful to minors," whatever that means.
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COPA Suffers Yet Another Court Defeat

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  • What! (Score:4, Funny)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:42PM (#24295755) Journal

    But it's for the children!!!!

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smackheid (1217632) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:43PM (#24295757) Homepage Journal
    Parents, it's your job to watch your kids, not anybody else's.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by negRo_slim (636783)
      True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Funny)

        by Smackheid (1217632) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:46PM (#24295811) Homepage Journal
        Careful son, that's commie talk.
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:48PM (#24295843) Journal

        By idiotic, unenforceable laws that anyone but a mental retard knows is a violation of the Constitution and is going to get kicked out (after, of course, costing all the parties involved a shitload of attorney's fees)?

        This had absolutely nothing to do with protecting children or any other vulnerable group. It's called pandering. The politicians that enact it do indeed hope that their constituents are mental retards.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by strelitsa (724743) *
          If a child is receiving pressure to have sex too early, is that a sexual harassment pander?
          • If a child is receiving pressure to have sex too early, is that a sexual harassment pander?

            Was there a sensible question buried in the bit of word salad?

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hijacked Public (999535) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:00PM (#24296009)

        You assume that preventing children from seeing 'things that will harm them' online is a means of protecting them. It isn't, of course, not that this law would do that anyway.

        What would protect children more than anything else would be stiff penalties for lawmakers who pass laws later found to be unconstitutional. Something on the order of losing your pension. They know what they are doing, and it is time we held them responsible somewhere other than on the campaign trail.

        • The problem with this though, it would discourage any laws that might be needed. For example, the Patriot Act one could say violated the constitution, but in the few months after 9/11 it might have been needed (now, if it needed renewing is up for debate...) but to penalize the making of bad laws is just stupidity. Think of it this way, if another attack on the scale of 9/11 to happen, would you want the government not passing any laws to catch the culprits or for them to be too scared of losing $$$ to do a
          • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

            by digitrev (989335) <digitrev@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:56PM (#24296619) Homepage
            Damn straight I want politicians afraid to pass laws. They should debate it, talk to judges, talk to lawyers, and for god's sake think about these laws before they pass them.
            • But in a true emergency situation, you need politicians to think more about safety then their own paychecks. For example, if a hurricane came and leveled a town, would you want them to think about the funding and decide to authorize it 2 weeks later or just authorize it fast? Same thing with terrorist attacks or nuclear explosions.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by LordNimon (85072)
                I've never believed that an "emergency law" is ever necessary. The law should be able to handle situations in advance. If we need to have certain changes in the law to thwart terrorism, then it should be possible to know in advance what those changes are. I reject the notion that our legislatures need to "act quickly" after a terrorist attack in order to quickly modify the law to catch the terrorists or prevent another attack.
                • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:20PM (#24296881)

                  I've never believed that an "emergency law" is ever necessary. The law should be able to handle situations in advance.

                  But that is what the Patriot act is made to do. And surely you don't believe that wiretapping Americans is necessary today do you? Emergency laws allow for the suspension of freedom temporarily, and the only solution is to create permanent laws killing freedom permanently if you choose not to use them.

                  Your idea is that we would allow all freedom 24/7 if we choose not to use these emergency laws, the fact is it won't happen and rather than freedom being stopped for a few months to a year, it becomes permanent. And I myself am willing to sacrifice a bit of freedom for a year to prevent a terrorist attack, I am not willing to sacrifice a lot of freedom for my lifetime to prevent a terrorist attack.

                  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by snowgirl (978879) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:38PM (#24297059) Journal

                    And I myself am willing to sacrifice a bit of freedom for a year to prevent a terrorist attack, I am not willing to sacrifice a lot of freedom for my lifetime to prevent a terrorist attack.

                    I believe a quote is in order here...

                    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

                  • by Hyppy (74366) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:43PM (#24297113)
                    We already had policies and procedures in place to wiretap. In fact, a court ordered warrant wasn't required until 3 days after the wiretap began, just in case an emergency arose that required immediate action.

                    Now, what is this freedom you speak of that you will lose in the case of a terrorist attack? The only freedoms I've seen taken away have been by the terrorists in the White House and on Capitol Hill.
                  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by Grave (8234) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {88treblawa}> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:55PM (#24297215)

                    Emergency law?? No such thing. If it has time to clear Congress, it is not an emergency.

                    What you're thinking of is an Executive Order, which is designed for situations like this. I can think of only a handful of REAL emergencies where violation of the constitution is legitimately the best response. A wide-scale biological warfare attack being one (all interstate travel would have to be completely shut down and blocked by the military to stop the spread, even if it meant killing anyone who attempted to leave town), or perhaps a military invasion by China or some other power. Those are emergencies that I could accept such violations for, so long as once the immediate situation was corrected, the Executive Order expired. The 9/11 attacks represented, at best, a one week emergency. Air travel was completely shut down, the stock markets were closed, and quite frankly, everybody was a bit scared - was it the precursor to something bigger? Was it just a bunch of suicidal terrorists who got really lucky? We didn't know at first. Within a week, it became clear that it wasn't the start of World War III, and although there was still tremendous uncertainty about our future, we knew that any further attacks were going to be really really tough to pull off. Everyone was more vigilant (paranoid, really), and it was universally agreed amongst Americans that if a terrorist tried to hijack another plane, we'd not even hesitate to fight back. So, the markets reopened and air travel resumed on 9/17 (if memory serves). During that week, I'd have understood, and perhaps even begrudgingly accepted if massive wiretapping had occurred (though I'd have fully expected a very thorough and public Senate inquiry into such an Executive Order afterwords). The Patriot Act was not signed into law until 10/26, more than six weeks after the attacks. The "emergency" period was over. Hell, by that time, US special forces were in Afghanistan, coordinating with the rebels and preparing for the domino collapse of the Taliban.

                    As for your assertion that a few months or a year would have been needed, I beg you to more carefully consider that view. Why would you sacrifice a year of your freedom to prevent a terrorist attack? If by some magic, giving up one year of freedom would prevent any and all future terrorist attacks, I'd be fine with that. But it's a delusion of grandeur to believe that the world works that way. Taking away the freedoms of a people is a wonderful way to inspire terrorism. The laws in place allowed for more than enough protection from 9/11 - the problem wasn't with the laws, it was with the poor budget and management of our intelligence organizations, combined with a bit of luck on the part of the perpetrators and the shear audacity of the plan.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by smellotron (1039250)

            if another attack on the scale of 9/11 to happen...

            ...and it will happen eventually. It's not a matter of "if".

            ...would you want the government not passing any laws to catch the culprits or for them to be too scared of losing $$$ to do anything?

            I don't want "the government" to have to pass any more laws to catch the culprits. It's not like new laws need to exist in order to deal with a mass homicide perpetrated against anonymous individuals. I want the executive branch and the military to mobilize a

        • by nomadic (141991)
          What would protect children more than anything else would be stiff penalties for lawmakers who pass laws later found to be unconstitutional.

          In other words, violate the Constitution to protect the Constitution? That doesn't make sense to me.
      • Right: if the parents are incompetent, well, that's what DFCS is for.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Hyppy (74366)
          DCF (It may use a different abbreviation in your state) is the most vile pit of scum I have ever seen. A child who in DCF custody is far more likely to be abused, raped, and/or commit suicide.
      • by revlayle (964221)
        politicians?
      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tm2b (42473) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:29PM (#24296301) Journal
        The way to protect children is to world-proof them, not by trying to child-proof the world.
      • by asackett (161377)

        True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

        There are readily available, affordable and even free technical means by which any concerned parent can prevent his or her child from being accidentally exposed to pornography. Should a parent fail to do so, the failure is on the part of the parent, not the society.

        It's not the presence of a law that kept my children and so far has kept my grandchildren from being accidentally exposed to pornography (online, on television, wherever) but the presence of parents who care.

        • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by snowgirl (978879) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:43PM (#24297119) Journal

          True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

          There are readily available, affordable and even free technical means by which any concerned parent can prevent his or her child from being accidentally exposed to pornography. Should a parent fail to do so, the failure is on the part of the parent, not the society.

          It's not the presence of a law that kept my children and so far has kept my grandchildren from being accidentally exposed to pornography (online, on television, wherever) but the presence of parents who care.

          ... but seriously, how damaging is it? I was "accidentally" exposed to porn as a child... hundreds thousands MILLIONS of children are exposed to porn as children. And honestly, at age 12 for girls, and 14 for boys there is no good reason to forcefully protect them from pornography at all... they're sexually mature at that time.

          This whole "think of the children" crap is a bunch of hog-wash from puritanical idiots... our ancestors lived for a long time with just as health of psychologies as we have now (perhaps more, if you're living in America).

          There are a number of cultures that when contact with Europeans began, they were in one-room huts where the parents made love while their children slept.

          Demonizing and vilifying sex is just bogus mojo... Romeo and Juliet were 14! Get off your high horse... Young children don't even UNDERSTAND sexual content... and once they can, hey, they're sexually mature!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Eli Gottlieb (917758)

            I think people are a bit more worried about "Backdoor Sluts 9" than "Parents Making Love".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            And honestly, at age 12 for girls, and 14 for boys there is no good reason to forcefully protect them from pornography at all... they're sexually mature at that time.

            Physically mature, which has nothing to do with mental maturity, which is what matters. Probably the right age would be whenever they can recognize that fantasy != reality, and Santa Claus doesn't actually exist. That should be strong enough higher thinking skills to separate "some people do this" from "I should do this".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Renraku (518261)

            Sexually aware? Pre-puberty.

            Sexually capable? Puberty.

            Sexually mature? Really depends.

            Sexually responsible? Quite a few ADULTS never reach this stage. Its actually easier to teach children and teenagers why safe sex is important and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Normally I'd say when they're informed enough to make a decision, they should go for it, but the United States absolutely HATES personal responsibility.

      • Who is society? There is no such thing!

        [credit for this goes to Baroness Thatcher]

      • I like the quote on wiki from Judge Reed with the ruling that the government was appealing here:

        "perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection."

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by john_anderson_ii (786633) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:00PM (#24296667)
        True but a society must also take care to protect it's most vulnerable members.

        That's a laugh. The reason why 'society' can't take care of anything, much less it's most vulnerable members is because 'society' is incapable of shouldering responsibility. How do you punish 'society' for every kid that joins a gang or drowns in a pool? If 'society' is charged with a portion of the responsibility of raising a child, what are the consequences of shirking that responsibility? There are none, therefore the responsibility of society is a myth, and so is the idea that society 'takes care of' anything.
        For each child there are a select few people who have an actual responsibility to rear that child. Family, teachers, coaches, etc. These people aren't 'society', they are part of a local community, not America as a whole. These people have real world consequences to face when they don't live up to their responsibilities.
        Logically, "It takes a village to raise a child." is a ridiculous farce when that "village" is the whole United States & it's Federal Government. The only thing the "village to raise a child" philosophy has done to child rearing is to lessen the consequences when those who should be responsible aren't.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:27PM (#24296281) Homepage Journal

      Most parents would agree with you. Unfortunately, there are some very vocal and influential people who don't just want to "protect" their own kids, they want to protect everybody's.

      Also, this is not entirely about "protecting the children". People wouldn't be so noisy about keeping something away from the kids if they weren't actually offended by it themselves. But just being offensive is no longer enough, by itself, to justify censorship, either legally or in the minds of most people. So it has to be about The Children.

      Personally, I would like to see children protected — but not from porn. The fact is, I just don't see the harm in kids seeing graphic sex. It's not like it's not something they won't need to learn about eventually. On the other hand, it bothers the hell out of me that children are exposed to so much violence in their entertainment. And not just violence, but violence separated from any kind of emotional context. That cannot be a good thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PakProtector (115173)

        It's too bad there's no longer a land where a like-minded group of people could flee to escape the persecution of the short-sighted and the weak-willed who will trade their essential liberty for temporary and false security.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by snowgirl (978879) *

        Most parents would agree with you. Unfortunately, there are some very vocal and influential people who don't just want to "protect" their own kids, they want to protect everybody's.

        Also, this is not entirely about "protecting the children". People wouldn't be so noisy about keeping something away from the kids if they weren't actually offended by it themselves. But just being offensive is no longer enough, by itself, to justify censorship, either legally or in the minds of most people. So it has to be about The Children.

        Personally, I would like to see children protected — but not from porn. The fact is, I just don't see the harm in kids seeing graphic sex. It's not like it's not something they won't need to learn about eventually. On the other hand, it bothers the hell out of me that children are exposed to so much violence in their entertainment. And not just violence, but violence separated from any kind of emotional context. That cannot be a good thing.

        *applause* I agree :)

        I believe in protecting the children too... from Lawn Darts! Not from pornography...

        And prostitution is only a dangerous profession where they cannot turn to the protection of the law, and illegal immigrants are only exploited by businesses because they can't go to any authority to complain about work conditions, or pay.

        Making something illegal makes criminals, but it doesn't make the illegal something wrong. Didn't we learn that with prohibition? OH THAT'S RIGHT, we still have tempe

      • Personally, I would like to see children protected -- but not from porn.

        I take your statement to infer that you'd rather that children be psychologically damaged to the extent that they can't enjoy sex by the time they're old enough to engage in it? Hopefully not, but I've noticed that there seems to be some misunderstandings about the reasons legislators pass laws against porn. It isn't about forcing some Puritan morality on the public at large. It really is about protecting the children - not your

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:44PM (#24295783)

    Another stunning blow to the Bush administration and their complete disregard for our civil liber...

    a Clinton-era censorship law

    Oh. Never mind. I'll just go back to my job at the New York Times now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Plutonite (999141)

      It is in most governments' interest to infringe on your basic rights, and they are all guilty of it. Having said this, Bush's administration is definitely responsible for more evil things than any president in recent history, so why not bash him for it? It's only fair. If we don't do that, all evilness would be made equal, and any president would do as he wishes, because the other bastard also did so-and-so.

      The question is: why does a man get in the news - and be forced to lie to a nation - for a blowjob, w

  • by andre3001 (976515) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:47PM (#24295825) Homepage
    There are so many good options for parental control software today that this kind of stuff is totally unnecessary. Then again, I guess that means that parents will actually have to buy it, and pay attention to what their kids are doing online.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:50PM (#24295873)

      Fuck parental controls. If you believe that your children are not old enough to "surf" on their own, then just put the computer next to you while your children use it.

      "Parenting" - it doesn't end at birth.

      • by smussman (1160103) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:55PM (#24295947)

        "Parenting" - it doesn't end at birth.

        Parenting is an exponentially decaying function. Kids require a lot when they're young, and then less as they age, to the point where they don't really need it any more. But it's still barely there.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Fuck parental controls. If you believe that your children are not old enough to "surf" on their own, then just put the computer next to you while your children use it.

        Hey, isn't that a neat binary choice. Let's try applying it to say going anywhere unsupervised, I mean either the kid's not ready for going anywhere alone or he's ready to go everywhere at any hour right? Or maybe there's a small difference between walking one block down to a friend in a low-traffic street during daytime and hanging out with junkies and hookers downtown at 3AM in the morning. In the real world you got some control over what, when and where even if you're not hand-holding them so that you're

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          "And at what age would that be??"

          That right their indicates a complete lack of understanding concerning good child rearing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by snowgirl (978879) *

          Wow... you don't really understand the point do you?

          There is a difference between walking down a low-traffic street during daytime and hanging out with junkies and hookers downtown at 3AM in the morning... the first one is that my child is really unlikely to go hang out with junkies and hookers at 3AM in the morning. And if I lived where junkies and hookers hung out at 3AM in the morning, you're darn sure my child isn't ready to walk that street alone, daytime OR NOT.

          I'm not concerned about my children bei

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:48PM (#24295847)
    Finally. Now my children don't have to keep bugging me for my credit card when they want to visit adult sites.
  • COPA Suffers Yet Another Court Defeat

    Better it than us. I'm tired of everything moving towards a nanny state.

  • Next stop: Cuomo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Relic of the Future (118669) <dalesNO@SPAMdigitalfreaks.org> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:50PM (#24295871)
    Great, now maybe they can get New York's attorney general from implmenting the same law through the back door.

    http://techdirt.com/articles/20080721/1545501748.shtml [slashdot.org]">Techdirt's latest on the topic

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Just wait until they decide that political speech could destroy the innocence of youth. Great Firewall of China, here we come.

  • Harm to children (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Black Art (3335) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:51PM (#24295883)

    What causes more harm to Children? Porn or Religion?

    I see reports of kids dying because their parents were too superstitious to take them to a doctor because of their religion. i have never heard of a kid dying because he watched a porno movie or read a dirty book.

    Oh wait... These are Metaphorical Children. They don't obey natural laws, only metaphorical ones.

    • Re:Harm to children (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dan667 (564390) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @04:55PM (#24295951)
      If they really wanted to protect children, they would ban things like stoves, weights, cars etc, because they can and do hurt children or enable the hurting of children. And they are not even just dirty pictures, real actual objects that in the right hands can hurt a child. To be safe a list should be made and all of these things banned no matter what the cost. Think of the children!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dgatwood (11270)

        While we're at it, let's ban any books that teach dangerous ideas. We'll start with the most vile of books, e.g. hate speech, terrorism aids, anything about manufacturing weapons like The Anarchist Cookbook or nuclear physics texts, etc. Then we'll move our way up the chain to progressively more subtle subversive threats like 1984 and anything by Ayn Rand.

        Helpful tip: after collecting the books, for easier disposal, heat them to 451 degrees Fahrenheit....

        Yeah, these laws are absurd. It doesn't take a vil

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      What causes more harm to Children? Porn or Religion?

      And thus, in companion to this response [slashdot.org]:

      God Addy [godaddy.com]

  • Somewhere in here is a Barry Manilow joke.
  • Old Hack (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:05PM (#24296069)

    COPA is just an artifact from the days when no one knew how to apply constitutional law to the Internet. Unfortunately, we are now in for years of quasi-successful bills that will only serve to screw up the structure and nature of cyberspace. I wish these politicians would at least try to learn about the Internet before they pass ridiculously unconstitutional bills.

  • by geminidomino (614729) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:18PM (#24296201) Journal

    Is/Was this the same law that required me to essentially ban anyone under 13 from my (kid friendly) forum website because I don't have the resources necessary to manage all those permission forms?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by story645 (1278106) *

      Not a lawyer, but yeah. I was in Potter fandom for a while and remember COPPA coming up in the weirdest instances, and kids coming on the forums and bragging about being 12 (and wondering how they got out of instant ban.) End result was that most of the big sites that allowed kids under 13 already had a legal staff. Here's the actual bill: link [ftc.gov]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by story645 (1278106) *

      Oops, never mind, but yeah the law that affected you was COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protecion Act), not COPA (Child Online Protection Act).

      wiki [wikipedia.org] has a good write up.

  • Hey! (Score:5, Funny)

    by realmolo (574068) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:32PM (#24296347)

    My children ARE porn stars, you insensitive clod!

    Love,
    Chris Matthews

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:36PM (#24296395) Homepage
    The problem is the unparented children that grow up. Would it be nice if "unparenting" was a criminal offence punishable by life in prison? Sure. But that doesn't help all the people that have to live with the "unparented child". I guess we could just put them on an island and hope for the best.

    See, let's start with little Johnny that watches lots of porn. Hard-core stuff. Ends up getting out of high school thinking that (a) wimmen like surprises, like rape, and (b) wimmen don't like him. Yes, (b) is a logical corallary to (a) but we won't go there. How did little Johnny get so twisted? Simple: nobody ever paid any attention to him and let him go off and figure stuff out for himself, like relating to other people. In today's world this is pretty easy to imagine.

    Whose problem is it exactly when little Johnny acts out his hard-core rape fantasies? His parents? His teachers? Nope. It is your problem and mine because we have to live in the society that little Johnny is living in.

    Is little Johnny fit for society? Who exactly is going to take care of little Johnny if he doesn't fit in society and can't be left alone with anything female? Couldn't we just give him back to his parents? Sadly, we can't lock him up until he accumulates enough rapes with witnesses to actually get a conviction. And just locking him up for a while isn't going to "fix" him - we have to deal with little Johnny for life and thousands more like him. How did it get this way? Because as a society we were content to assume his parents were responsible adults and could foresee what would happen if they were not effective parents. We all assumed that "the village" would help raise Johhny right even if his parents were incapable. What we got was a disaster and a human hardly worth the name.

    What is the answer? I don't know. But for parents using a TV or computer as a babysitter and ignoring the kid results in damage. Damage to the kid and damage to society. We are currently dealing with that damage today, mostly in the inner cities but believe me, it isn't confined there by any means. Would COPA be a solution? Not really, but it couldn't hurt in this sort of case. Where would we go for a real solution? I think we need to think about some points:

    1. Licenses and education required for breeding.
    2. Real penalties for not getting help when you can't parent your offspring properly. Providing parenting help and education, even when there is a kid in the picture already, is vastly cheaper than dealing with the results later.
    3. End absent-parent child support - no amount of money paid to the mother makes up for lack of a responsible two-parent family. If you can't be bothered with birth control you get to live with the results of your inattentiveness.
    4. Holding parents responsible for the actions of their children, really. This means that when the 10-year-old kills a neighbor child the parents and the child are responsible. Today often as not the child gets some slap on the wrist punishment because of their age and the parents get nothing. How could you be an effective parent and not know your kid is seriously screwed up when a 10-year-old kills someone?
    5. Undoubtably this means more "community resources" and "social workers" to help failing parents. But we are either going to spend the money on the front end or the back end. Right now you can check the prisons for the results of dealing with the problem on the back end.

    Face it, today in the US a good deal of our troubles are parents that dump their children on "the system" and hope for the best because they haven't a clue. Or haven't the motivation. How exactly do we fix this problem? It isn't by hoping parents will do a better job. We have been hoping they would since the 1960s or even before that and it hasn't happened.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:47PM (#24296509) Journal

      It's so encouraging to see someone who has thought things through, and has come up with a solution that's more tyrannical, more inhumane, more destructive to liberty and basic decency than the problem it purports to solve. Bravo, I say, Bravo!

    • by taustin (171655) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:24PM (#24296915) Homepage Journal

      Licenses and education required for breeding.

      Sure. As long as I, and only I, get to decide who gets the license and who doesn't. Remember, the country is currently run by jeezmoid fantatics who believe - literally - in forced breeding.

      Real penalties for not getting help when you can't parent your offspring properly.

      Sure. With a very precise definition of what constitutes "getting help," which will involve getting it from some government office (who else could we trust?). Said office will be open 24 hours a day in affluent, mostly white neighborhoods, and one hour a month in poor, mostly non-white neighborhoods. Of course.

      End absent-parent child support - no amount of money paid to the mother makes up for lack of a responsible two-parent family. If you can't be bothered with birth control you get to live with the results of your inattentiveness.

      Unless, of course, you are a man, in which case you obviously should have no responsibility whatsoever for where you dip your wick. (Yes, that is exactly what you just said - live with the results, but only if you are a woman.)

      Oh, and, BTW, get ready for the tax increases, since all those women will be on welfare. Except, of course, you'd rather let them literally starve. I mean, really, it's not like women are people or anything, right?

      Holding parents responsible for the actions of their children, really. This means that when the 10-year-old kills a neighbor child the parents and the child are responsible. Today often as not the child gets some slap on the wrist punishment because of their age and the parents get nothing. How could you be an effective parent and not know your kid is seriously screwed up when a 10-year-old kills someone?

      Hold the parents responsible in exactly what way? Put them in prison? More tax increases. Plus, more tax increases to take care of their other kids.

      Undoubtably this means more "community resources" and "social workers" to help failing parents.

      Which is to say, more taxes. Lots more taxes. And, if so many parents aren't capable of raising their kids properly, where are you going to find social workers who can? If we can train social workers to raise other people's kids, why can't we use the same money to train parents to raise their own, and then no pay them middle class wages for the rest of their working lives?

      But we are either going to spend the money on the front end or the back end. Right now you can check the prisons for the results of dealing with the problem on the back end.

      You appaerently want to put more people in prison. Then, you turn around and decry how many people are in prison.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by edisrafeht (1199347)
      Your root cause analysis is pretty spot-on. Parental guidance is crucial from everything social to academic. Your proposed solutions, like others have pointed out, aren't so great though. Until there's a good solution (i.e., not COPPA and not totalitarian), the best policy is to live and let live. Most of the time, laws don't work the way they intend, simply because you can't fix (or ever finish fixing) problems just with laws.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The only problem I see with this argument is that you assume hard-core porn results in rape. Quite the opposite actually. You should watch Penn & Teller's Bullshit! episode on the subject for facts & figures.
      Basically, there isn't even correlation, much less a causation between porn watching activities and violence. Porn watching, even the hardcore stuff, does not lead to an increase in rape & violence. A child, by child I mean pubescent or post-pubescent, who has watched porn is not more
  • Yeah because going to an unsavory website and requiring access by giving them my credit card information without actually buying anything is a GREAT idea. I can't think of anyone I trust more with my credit information than a pr0n site... Not to mention a child would never be able to get access to a credit card, or the pr0n stashed in their parents' sock drawer, or saved on the hard drive, or on the recent documents list, or...

  • ID (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @05:42PM (#24296473)

    The law would require sites to check visitors' ages, e.g. by taking a credit card, if the site contained any material that is "harmful to minors," whatever that means.

    Stupid laws like this is the reason we have so much Identity theft here in the US. The moment that people think that giving out your credit card number to some site just to say, register for a blog, or view some porn, is normal, is the moment that even more scam sites will emerge.

    It was an absolutely stupid idea to check anything with a credit card when you don't know even *who* that is going to half the time. And what the card is being used for.

  • Harmful to Minors (Score:3, Insightful)

    by srobert (4099) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:04PM (#24296729)

    If you ask me, any site that extols the virtues of Milton Friedman as an economists is "harmful to minors".

  • This law has been getting beaten down for years!

  • A modest proposal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by philspear (1142299) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @06:08PM (#24296759)

    A quote from Justice department spokesperson Charles miller: "We are disappointed that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Congressional statute designed to protect our children from exposure to sexually explicit material on the internet."

    See, all they're trying to do is keep kids from seeing sex on the internet, they're not trying to limit your freedoms.

    Here's a solution that will make both camps happy: pass a law that all children must be executed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by taustin (171655)

      "We are disappointed that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Congressional statute designed to protect our children from exposure to sexually explicit material on the internet."

      And we, the public, are disappointed that our public servants are to goddamn stupid that they think COPA had any chance of accomplishing that.

  • by Rastl (955935) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:23PM (#24298405) Journal

    Is it just me that remembers that the idea of "childhood" is at most a century old? Prior to that they were adults-in-training.

    So this entire "Think of the children" crap is more about protecting an idea that these small humans should be shielded from the realities of life instead of educated so they actually do become adults.

    I think the new definition of childhood actually extends into the mid-20s because of more societal pressure. They're in college, they really aren't responsible yet, etc.

    Screw that. It's the parents job to get those little monsters properly trained to be responsible adults. Heck, overseas 'kids' are in professional training schools by they time they're sixteen. Here they're still considered helpless babes who can't do anything without mommy and daddy there to make sure they don't get 'damaged'.

    Don't even get me started on that whole self-esteem vs actual value stuff that the schools are promoting.

    I realize I'm starting to sound like an old fogey but I guess that's what I am. I'm tired of seeing these poor young adults with absolutely no idea of what is expected of them or how to achieve it. And all because of some misguided idea that they should be protected while they're young instead of taught.

    I despair.

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