Senator Proposes Mandatory "Obscenity" Reporting for Blogs, Mailing Lists, and Beyond
If you liked 2257, you'll LOVE This!
This is SERIOUS , people. It could affect things like Yahoo Groups, among other things. And I personally am sick of seeing all "sex offenders" lumped into one category. A prostitute, two age peer teen lovers, gays, strippers who give lap dances where it's illegal, people busted for oral sex where it's illegal, people busted for SM activity -- all of these are being put into the same hamper as child molestors and rapists. I personally think that's wrong. There's a lot wrong with these proposed laws, actually -- and none of them kept Republican Rep. Mark Foley from hot chatting underage pages right in the middle of Congress...
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Senator Proposes Mandatory "Obscenity" Reporting for Blogs, Mailing Lists, and Beyond
WASHINGTON, DC -- Webmasters and web denizens who thought things got confusing and paranoid after the government strengthened and began enforcing its 2257 regulations may look back on those days with fondness if Sen. John McCain (AZ-R) gets his way. Legislation drafted and presented by McCain would require that commercial websites, as well as personal blogs, mailing lists, and more, conform to federal obscenity reporting guidelines or face fines of up to $300,000.
Fear of such a possible development was likely behind the massive policy changes that community building websites such as Tribe.net underwent earlier in 2006 and, given some of the bill's requirements, such fear may not have been misplaced. McCain's proposal, emotionally named the "Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act," affects, among other things, any internet presence that offers user profiles by forcing them to delete pages belonging to sex offenders, apparently with no consideration given to what their offense was or whether they have served their time. According to McCain during a speech on the Senate floor, these changes are necessary because "technology has contributed to the greater distribution and availability, and, some believe, desire for child pornography. "
No mention was made about those offenders whose crimes involved adults or mutually consensual, but illegal, activity. Additionally, the proposed law mandates that any form of suspected "obscenity" or child pornography be reported to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, with that information being forwarded to the appropriate legal authorities. Webmasters would be required to retain any "information relating to the facts or circumstances" for a minimum of six months. Those who report suspected criminal activity would be immune from civil or criminal liability under the proposed law, so long as they followed the specified procedures precisely. Internet Service Providers are already required by law to report suspected child porn or obscenity, but McCain increases penalties and expands regulation to not only commercial web presences but to individual bloggers or those who provide bulletin board discussion areas and user forums on their websites.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation was quick to condemn the proposal, with attorney Kevin Bankston stating that he was "concerned that there is a slipper slope here," according to News.com. "Once you start creating categories of industries that must report suspicious or criminal behavior, when does it stop?" he asked. While the answer to Bankston's question is unknown, what is known is that McCain's proposal would mandate reports from any content hosting service, any website with a message board, any social-networking site, any email service, any instant-messaging service, any chat room, any domain name registration service, any internet search service, any electronic communication service, and any image or video-sharing service.
An anonymous McCain aid stated that any site or service that "you'd have to join up or become a member of to use" regardless of free or pay status would fall under the proposed law's jurisdiction. This includes, but certainly is not restricted to, so-called "social-networking" sites such as MySpace, LiveJournal, Friendster, as well as other membership sites including Amazon.com, Slashdot.com, Gamespot.com, CNET.com, MP3.com, and any other site that allows public profiles.
Although some, including Kate Dean of the U.S. Internet Service Provider Association says that the organizations membership appreciates McCain's work to make reporting procedures more clear, others believe that the involvement of private individuals will make things more complex, in part because what constitutes child pornography is not entirely certain. The recent indictment of Alabaman photographer Jeff Pierson on child pornography charges, for instance, indicates that nudity is not required for an image of a minor to be deemed pornographic. Pierson's work features clothed underage models deemed "provocative" by prosecutors -- but taken with parental consent. The bill would also create a federal registry containing "any email address, instant-message address, or other similar internet identifier" possessed by anyone convicted of a sex crime. Those who refuse to provide the government with this information would face penalties of up to a decade in prison. The information would then be used, presumably, by membership sites forced to purge themselves of anything "associated" with that person.
Regardless of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' recent political grandstanding on the topic, studies have shown that the online solicitation of minors has dropped during the past five years, even while social-networking sites have increased. Because of this, Bankston insists that "This constitutionally dubious proposal is being made apparently mostly based on fear or political considerations, rather than on the facts." Such concerns do not appear to be of interest to Congress, however, given that the Deleting Online Predators Act, another fuzzily worded bill that appears to target social-networking sites without actually defining its terms, was approved this past summer by the U.S. House of Representatives in a 410 - 15 vote.
McCain, who scored 31 points out of a 100 point total in a News.com election guide concerning technologically friendly legislation, will be in good company during the coming year. Gonzales and the FBI intent to continue to push for mandatory ISP data retention and Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY-D) plans to join McCain by jointly introducing anti-sex offender and social-networking legislation in January.
Now, my turn. remember on 360 when I said that I had a forboding of doom? Well, this is it, guys. The aim of this is NOT to trap sexual predators, but to kill sexual discussion on the web. This will target sites like this one that do allow sexuall frankness in some way, shape or form. This is an attempt to kill the budding Third Sexual Revolution. And they may well succeed.
This is being talked about under stealth. If it was not for the eagle eye of DarkLady, no one would have known about this. Talk radio will not talk about it. Liberal talk radio is too busy with Iraq. And considering the fact that Chuck Schumer, paper liberal from NY, is joining this, unless we act now, it will be a done deal.
As I have always said, at the words "Child Protection" to anything, and you can pass the most draconian legislation possible, instead of actually dealing with the real issue.
Did you hear about Paul Barnes, the megachurch pastor who quit because he was about to be outed as gay? In his mea culpa to his congregation, he said he has been dealing with homosexual feeling since age 5. AGE FIVE, GUYS! And if this one person was dealing with sexual feelings at that age, how many other were....or are? Instead of throwing it under the rug, is it possible to deal honestly with this openly?
And for adults who are sexually free, sexually liberal. For those who are naturists. How many closets can they build for you.
Add to the fact that a malicious worm is attacking MySpace thru Quicktime, and a compelling case can be made that a concerted attack on those outside of the norms of society may have begun, with the Iraq War as a cover.
Unless we do something now, the freedoms we have enjoyed, already limited, may dissapear. If you have not written or called your congressperson, do so today. Also contact Mr. McCain, and let him know that your attack on free speech will be noted if you run for President.-polybi
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