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John McCain Wants To Regulate Blogs
December 14, 2006 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Senator John McCain (R. - AZ) has introduced legislation [PDF] that would hold blogs responsible for all activity in their comments sections and user profiles. Provisions of the proposed bill include: (1) commercial websites and personal blogs "would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000," (2) bloggers with comment sections may face "even stiffer penalties" than ISPs, and (3) any social-networking site must take "effective measures" to remove any Web page that's "associated" with a sex offender. "Because 'social-networking site' isn't defined, it could encompass far more than just MySpace.com, Friendster and similar sites." The list could include any site that allows comments, authot and personal profiles. Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that this proposal may be based more "on fear or political considerations rather than on the facts." "McCain’s legislation could deal a serious blow to the blogosphere. Lacking resources to police their sites, many individual blogs may have to shut down open discussion."*
posted by ericb (141 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Proof yet again that McCain is a stupid fuck.
posted by nofundy at 7:44 AM on December 14, 2006


When he introduced his legislation to the Senate, McCain offered no evidence that children are being victimized by people who post comments on blogs.
posted by ericb at 7:45 AM on December 14, 2006


Matt, I hope you like spending a lot more time moderating...

Man, what a crap-ass bill that is.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:48 AM on December 14, 2006


blogosphere
posted by fixedgear at 7:49 AM on December 14, 2006


"I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."
posted by Kwantsar at 7:51 AM on December 14, 2006


John McCain doesn't care about blog people.
posted by anomie at 7:54 AM on December 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


John McCain has made it clear in the past that he doesn’t like blogs.
posted by ericb at 7:54 AM on December 14, 2006


Won't somebody rid us of this meddlesome MySpace?
posted by peeedro at 7:55 AM on December 14, 2006


Every time this guy opens his mouth I lose more respect for him. I have lost so much respect for this guy that I now have anti-respect. And yet a recent poll showed him handily beating Mrs. Clinton in a presidential race. The good news is that neither of these spineless opportunistic knuckleheads will win their party's nomination in 2008.
posted by Mister_A at 7:58 AM on December 14, 2006


Of course, this bill won't go anywhere since the 109th Congress has ended. But the linked article indicates that McCain intends to re-introduce the bill in the 110th Congress.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2006


Flag burning.
The French.
Gay Marriage.

Child sex offenders = the 'new' gay boogeyman.

How do you possibly 'defend' child pr0n?

How many more useless/strawman/ boogeyman things can Republicans beat up on to avoid talking about real issues?
posted by underdog at 8:00 AM on December 14, 2006


It's just modern-day book-burning. No one had better produce a description of a transgressive act, because certain politicians have decided to equate such descriptions with the performance of the transgressive act. I wish someone would hit John McCain in the face with a pan.

*checks for gummint spooks*
posted by Mister_A at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2006


Predator Panic.
posted by OmieWise at 8:05 AM on December 14, 2006


Endless, because some audience loves a convenient target of outrage so that they are distracted from their own misery and are suggested they can feel slightly superior.

But when is child defending TOO MUCH ? Exactly when it becomes a burden to the target audience : for instance need to spend more time with childrens, need to go get them at school, etc.

So I propose a new law that outlaws the driving of cars or any other motorized vehicles , except licensed schoolbuses and emergency vehicles, in a radius of one...let's make two miles from any school during school hours. Cars kill innocent childrens.
posted by elpapacito at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


But the reporting rules could prove problematic for individuals and smaller Web sites because the definitions of child pornography have become relatively broad.

The U.S. Justice Department, for instance, indicted an Alabama man named Jeff Pierson last week on child pornography charges because he took modeling photographs of clothed minors with their parents' consent. The images were overly "provocative," a prosecutor claimed.

Deleting sex offenders' posts
The other section of McCain's legislation targets convicted sex offenders. It would create a federal registry of "any e-mail address, instant-message address, or other similar Internet identifier" they use, and punish sex offenders with up to 10 years in prison if they don't supply it.

Then, any social-networking site must take "effective measures" to remove any Web page that's "associated" with a sex offender.
So now anyone with a blog would have to check every profile against an ever-changing list of e-mail addresses, etc. This is brilliant. I should also point out that this apparently makes it a criminal offense to create a blog if you are a convicted sex offender. Wowee. I think this bill is DOA, and so is McCain's presidential candidacy.
posted by Mister_A at 8:11 AM on December 14, 2006


Note that the Electronic Frontier Foundation helps fight this type of thing, and membership makes a wonderful holiday gift.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:12 AM on December 14, 2006


John McCain is an amoral, corporate-owned, candy-ass piece of shit.
posted by interrobang at 8:13 AM on December 14, 2006 [3 favorites]


Addenda to my coomment above:

1. The blockquote is from the second link in the FPP

2. I should not have said "any blog"; just those that permit comments - ie, most of them.
posted by Mister_A at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2006


Dear Mister_A

In the above comment you mispelled "comment" with "coomment" which is a clear violation of the the rules of grammar. This immoral behavior can't be condoned, as children may be inspired by your decadent behavior. Therefore Matt shall be fined 300K for allowing you to be the trainwreck you are.

Sincerely,
McCain
posted by elpapacito at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


The free-speech issues aside, this bill seems stupid because it'll be impossible to enforce uniformly. There are plenty of blogging services available outside the U.S... I suppose appropriate firewalling could help there, though. I hear the PRC has a lot of experience with that.
posted by Coventry at 8:22 AM on December 14, 2006


Well, I guess I'll just be a criminal then.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:22 AM on December 14, 2006


I <3 elpapacito small> in a non-sexual non-threatening non-stalkerish way
posted by Mister_A at 8:23 AM on December 14, 2006


Why does John McCain hate freedom?
posted by nickmark at 8:23 AM on December 14, 2006


Yea I screwed that up too dammit! Come get me McCain! Cuz you see, the < in the little heart was read as the tag... even tho it looked ok in preview. small>Just arrest me I don't deserve freedom.
posted by Mister_A at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2006


mmmwhahahahahahahaha....
posted by Sijeka at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2006


where is the batshitinsane tag when you need it?

mccain's apparent popularity and moderate image so well disguise that this guy is way more neocon than bush. the fact that karl rove beat him up so badly in primaries seems to elicit some kind of reaction of sympathy, much like his supposed war hero status, which comes more from having survived as a p.o.w. than anything else. the guy is just really good at biding his time. and he will challenge his party's leaders at choice moments when he can't do any real damage in order to promote a centrist/futurist/maverick image of himself. but make no mistake, mccain is on the far arc of the wingnuts. you'd get gw times two if mccain were in the white house.

and, of course, anybody who doesn't vote for this bill can expect to be labeled as a friend of nambla.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2006


I was actually going to post this with the headline:

"McCain to Internet: Drop Dead"

(of course, it would be more accurate to say he's asking the WWW to drop dead, I doubt he understands the difference)

Someone should propose a law banning idiotic fear mongering laws. Call it the PANDER act: Protecting American National Debate from Egregious Rhetoric
posted by delmoi at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


We will eventually get to the point where politicians will load children into circus cannons and fire them at your house so they can arrest you for not having child safe walls.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:27 AM on December 14, 2006 [10 favorites]


This comment is rife with hidden child pornography. Ban me!
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 8:32 AM on December 14, 2006


The good news is that neither of these spineless opportunistic knuckleheads will win their party's nomination in 2008.

Don't underestimate the Democrats, Mister_A. Nominating spineless, opportunistic, knuckleheads without any hope of winning a national election is what they do best.

McCain wants to be president so bad it's pathetic. This is a stupid proposal especially when one considers the more pressing matters of government where McCain might be casting his pearls of wisdom.
posted by three blind mice at 8:32 AM on December 14, 2006


I just got off the phone with someone from McCain's DC office.

241 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2235

CALL and press 2 to speak to a live human, and let them know how you feel about this issue. I told the fellow who answered - and was willing to speak to me - that in the last 5 years, I had personally reported no less than 4 email SPAMS promoting child porn, to the FBI. In ALL four cases, they told me that they didn't handle these types of complaints, that I should contact my local child welfare organization.

Complaining on MeFi is preaching to the choir, let your opinion be known with the office representing the actual person promoting this distractive bullshit.
posted by dbiedny at 8:40 AM on December 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


Christ almighty, why do elected officials have such a fucking problem understanding how basic things work in the world?
posted by chrismear at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2006


Can Democrats stop talking about how wonderful and moderate he is now?

On the other hand, this is exactly the kind of dumbassery I can see Hilary Clinton getting behind.
posted by Artw at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


3.2.3 writes "this guy is way more neocon than bush"

I don't think that word means what you think it means. These types of things matter when you're interested in presenting your opinion as informed.

There's nothing about this proposed legislation which is particularly "neocon," conservative, in the sense of reactionary, yes, but not neocon. What I think you mean to suggest is that McCain is more conservative than the moderate image that he likes to promote, and about that you're correct. He's not really so very far out on the right wing, though, especially not in this current GOP. He was one of the Senators who worked to eliminate "the nuclear option" with regards to preventing filibusters in the Senate, for instance.

It might also help your credibility if you used a shift key, but you might consider such a suggestion too neocon for you.
posted by OmieWise at 8:51 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


...and so is McCain's presidential candidacy
Are you kidding? This is exactly the sort of knob-polishing that will put him in solid with the "family values" base. McCain may be an asshat, but he knows when, and how, to dirty his knees.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:51 AM on December 14, 2006


Artw writes "Can Democrats stop talking about how wonderful and moderate he is now?

"On the other hand, this is exactly the kind of dumbassery I can see Hilary Clinton getting behind."


Look, this kind of bullshit pretty much crosses party lines: remember the PMRC?
posted by OmieWise at 8:52 AM on December 14, 2006


Christ almighty, why do elected officials have such a fucking problem understanding how basic things work in the world?

Such perception is a function of agenda.
posted by Mikey-San at 8:53 AM on December 14, 2006


I'm shocked by what a stupid political move this on McCain's part. I wonder if the major networks will cover this proposal.
posted by phaedon at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2006


Flag burning.
The French.
Gay Marriage.

Child sex offenders = the 'new' gay boogeyman.


Dude, you totally left out animal-human hybrids.
posted by dreamsign at 9:00 AM on December 14, 2006


On the other hand, this is exactly the kind of dumbassery I can see Hilary Clinton getting behind.

And not just Hillary Clinton. It's great for the senatorial image to be seen pounding on perverts. As a result, expect to see support for this legislation from many Democrat stalwarts. Including, I would predict, Barack Obama.
posted by blucevalo at 9:00 AM on December 14, 2006


Complaining on MeFi is preaching to the choir

Not entirely: a number of posters/lurkers are tied to the EFF and ACLU, as well as a number of lobbies and grassroots efforts. Those who are sysadmins should be able to explain to execs and company personnel potential reach of the bill.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:01 AM on December 14, 2006


Oh yeah, and senators despise teh blogosphere as well, so if you're a senator and you support McCain's bill, in one fell swoop, you get to pound perverts, you get to give a swift kick to the blogosphere -- it's almost a trifecta of egregious power display and peacockery.
posted by blucevalo at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2006


BTW, the Straight Talk Express had one of his College Republican Aides post the following on his website:
"The Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act, which I introduced earlier this month, aims to clarify and strengthen a child pornography reporting requirement that has been a federal law for almost a decade. The legislation sends one very simple and very important message: If you’re aware of child pornography online, you should be obligated to report it to the appropriate authorities.

"Contrary to what has been reported by some news outlets, the reporting requirements in the legislation would apply only to child pornography. In addition, the bill is in no way targeted at the free speech rights of bloggers or anyone else communicating their views on the Internet.

"For example, the speech rights of bloggers and others online would not be impacted because the legislation does not require the monitoring of users or the content of any communication. Nor does it require online service providers to seek out child pornography on their sites. Rather, it requires online service providers to report child pornography when they become aware of it, either through a report from a subscriber or user, or through a discovery of the material by an employee. As a result, the reporting requirement would protect children while not imposing a financial or administrative burden on online service providers.

"I cherish the rights of individuals to speak freely on the Internet. That right and the ability to exercise it is what makes the Internet the critical innovation that it is. This bill doesn’t interfere with that, but is intended only to ensure that online service providers that find child pornography on their networks report those images to the appropriate authorities."
posted by rzklkng at 9:07 AM on December 14, 2006


John McCain has a blog.
posted by the Real Dan at 9:08 AM on December 14, 2006


It will pass because fear-mongering works, and because legislators don't know much more about the internet than what a first-time AOL user knows.
posted by treepour at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2006


I'm surprised this isn't covered under "the patriot act"
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:13 AM on December 14, 2006


"I cherish the rights of individuals to speak freely on the Internet. That right and the ability to exercise it is what makes the Internet the critical innovation that it is. This bill doesn’t interfere with that, but is intended only to ensure that online service providers that find child pornography on their networks report those images to the appropriate authorities."

"This bill doesn't interfere with that. It is intended only to ensure that I'm able to preen and spout self-important rhetoric and look like I'm whacking perverts and, well, if kicking bloggers in the teeth is a by-product of that, so what? 62% of Americans don't even know (or give a shit) what a blog is."
posted by blucevalo at 9:17 AM on December 14, 2006


Easy solution. Go to Dutch or Russian webhosting. An American subpoena can't touch them, and you can continue your blog there. The Internet is a global network, not an American one.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:17 AM on December 14, 2006


I do think that McCain is damaged goods, because the religious right base of the republican party has never entirely trusted him, and never will. He does not have the proper homophobic/pro-life credentials, despite his recent reversals.

McCain's recent pandering to the religious right has also tarnished him in the eyes of traditional main line Protestant republicans; and finally, the party bosses are wary of him because they know he will gladly throw them under the bus when and if it becomes politically expedient.

The recent poll highlights the weakness of Sen. Clinton to almost any "moderate" republican. She barely bests Mitt Romney, with a large number of pollees choosing neither of the two in a head-to-head matchup.

McCain's popularity among independents will evaporate quickly if he is the party's nominee, as the DNC will have ample evidence in building a case that McCain's views are increasingly inimical to those of mainstream America, and that he has been carrying water for the Bush administration since 2000. Actions like the ridiculous bill at hand here will come back to haunt him. McCain is underestimating the resistance he will encounter in trying to pass this bill. MySpace, etc. are enormously popular, and the owners/administrators of these sites will lobby like hell to neuter or kill this bill. Young voters will not think of McCain as a straight-talking maverick war hero, but rather as the guy who tried to kill MySpace.

The Republicans will nominate someone like Rudy Giuliani, warts and all, in a ploy to win New York and other populous northeastern states. I do not think the ploy will work, but who knows?

I think the democratic nominee will be someone we are not talking about right now, or not talking about much - Bayh or Richardson, maybe even Vilsack. Obama and Clinton are too polarizing to win a national election, and Hillary could even lose NY to Rudy.

But I could be wrong.
posted by Mister_A at 9:19 AM on December 14, 2006


Isn't John McCain the one who cries a lot to make his point?
posted by Brian B. at 9:21 AM on December 14, 2006


I would love to see them enforce this.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:39 AM on December 14, 2006


which comes more from having survived as a p.o.w. than anything else

I find this statement. . . ill-informed. "Surviving" 5+ years in a NVA POW facility, being tortured weekly, if not daily, is nothing to sneer at.

I would say that parents in this country are more concerned about their kids geting preyed upon online than most anything else.

This legislation is a no-brainer, unfortunately literally.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2006


Imagine an internet with nothing but Tom Delay blogs.
posted by pepcorn at 9:53 AM on December 14, 2006


I hear the PRC has a lot of experience with that.

Totalitarian censorship, proudly enforced using custom American technology.
posted by NewBornHippy at 9:54 AM on December 14, 2006


You know I get quite a few spam comments in my Wp blog, imagine if everyone who, likewise does, diligently reported every bit of suspicious spammy comment that showed up....

McCain just seems to WANT to dig himself into a position where he won't win the presidency, and that's ok by me. I think he's trying to run to the right so he'll win the primary.

I think it was freep where I was/ reading a bunch of comments post last election that went along the lines of.. ."I hope the terrorists nuke the East coast"
posted by edgeways at 9:57 AM on December 14, 2006


When said senator suggested letting walmart and Home depot rebuild new orleans on leno I got in full BC harlot garb and did a dance for my sweet prince(ss), thereafter requesting the head of that corporate cock slurping fuck on a silver platter. Yea though my liege has yet to grant my request, after this i shall don the dance again. I have relatives who underwent tortures by the soviets and nazis and yet, no moral high ground exists for them to push imperial edicts restricting dialog in the name of fear... because no such ground exists at all.
posted by sarcasman at 9:58 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


I find this statement. . . ill-informed. "Surviving" 5+ years in a NVA POW facility, being tortured weekly, if not daily, is nothing to sneer at.

Actually, his recent caving to George Bush over torture makes it very easy to sneer at. It's surprising that he's so stupid that 5+ years of torture didn't teach him that torture is bad.
posted by interrobang at 9:58 AM on December 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


Lacking resources to police their sites, many individual blogs may have to shut down open discussion.

Or just go strictly anonymous-commenting-only -- meaning all the policing and reporting in the world would be for naught, and having exactly the opposite of the intended effect of the bill.

I'm not that worried about it, though. This is so completely unconstitutional that even if passed, it wouldn't hold up for a second.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:01 AM on December 14, 2006


I thought Republicans despised the "nanny state". I mean, God forbid you should actually find out what your kids are doing online, and where they're going in real life...

This legislation has only come into being because of the popularity of that "To Catch a Predator" show. This is a bill created to soothe fears stoked by a fucking TV show. You are much more likely to be abused, sexually or otherwise, by someone in your own home than by some random stranger from the internet; perhaps we should require parents to pre-register as "potential sex offenders", and bar us from [redacted].
posted by Mister_A at 10:02 AM on December 14, 2006


OmieWise:

You're not right on McCain, either.

McCain is very right wing, even in the current crop of extreme-right Republicans. Look at where he stands on issues: he's solid right. Is he a neo-con? Sort of, but who cares, neocons were a flash in the pan: that movement is dead.

Now, once in awhile McCain is willing to go against Republican leadership, and once in a while he will work with Democrats.

That most certainly does not make him any less right wing, or more "centrist."

Centrist implies political views that lie in the center of the American political spectrum. McCain is nothing of the sort -- he's very far to the right.

Don't fall prey to the current trend of defining right/left to mean "partisan." Sometimes McCain is willing to be non-partisan. He's still very right wing (another example: Kos of Daily Kos fame is never willing to be non-partisan; but he is not extremely left in his political views; he's more moderate left to centrist. But current paralance is to label him "extreme left wing." The reality is that he is "extremely partisan left." There is a difference).

We are getting to the point where "centrist" and "right" and "left" are becoming completely meaningless, and it hurts the debate.

McCain is an extreme rightist (see, abortion, as an example. He's considerably to the right of the constituents of North Dakota on that issue, for crying out loud -- he would have signed that anti-abortion bill into law, with N.Dakotans soundly defeated). He's also very hawkish, much more so than even George Bush. His occasional bipartisanship episodes do nothing to change that.
posted by teece at 10:02 AM on December 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


My website is in Canada. Phew.

Hey! I could probably make a mint selling blog space to my beleaguered neighbours to the south that want to post Illegal-in-the-US-Stuff. No Freepers though. Freepers want to invade Canada.
posted by illiad at 10:05 AM on December 14, 2006


teece, good points, especially as they relate to the distinction between being partisan and being right wing. I overstated my case, although I never meant to suggest that McCain could ever correctly be called a moderate or centrist.
posted by OmieWise at 10:10 AM on December 14, 2006


YYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHH!!!
posted by quonsar at 10:11 AM on December 14, 2006


Once again, "child molesting" is being used as an excuse to squelch ANY speech of behavior they might not like. If they have trouble passing this they'll find a way to link "pedophiles" with "the drug menace" and "Al Qaida", just watch.

("We have to stop pedophiles from selling crack to Bin Laden on this Slashdot thing!")
posted by davy at 10:17 AM on December 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


OmieWise: Wrong on McCain. Wrong on the distinction between partisan and right-wing. Wrong for America.
posted by Mister_A at 10:19 AM on December 14, 2006


Any comment on here, such as this one, with the words 'McCain' and 'moderate' in the same sentence should automatically be deleted.
posted by notreally at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2006


I'm Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC. What are you all doing in this thread?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 10:20 AM on December 14, 2006


All those years in a cage did some seriously messed-up stuff to McCain's mind...
posted by AJaffe at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2006


am i wrong that this will only screw american bloggers, but bloggers everywhere else in the world will be able to continue as they have been?
posted by mano at 10:25 AM on December 14, 2006


First, the obligatory disclaimer: Childporn is very bad, and the people who produce, traffic, and consume it are sick boardering on evil.

I spent lunch going through the bill. Problems?

It ammends 2257, which I'm sure has been discussed before. It broadens the scope of the "online services" obligated to report to include individual blogs, social sites, email providers, hosting services, domain registrars, search engines, forums and message boards, instant messaging services, and chatrooms, including all wireless (cellular) providers.

My second concern is that it requires images and information to be retained for 180-days after the report is transmitted to NCME. So basically, all of the above services need to keep records and logs for 180-days.

Thirdly, someone harrassed or falsely accussed of child pornography has no remediation in the Federal or State Court System - the bill expressly limits liability of any reporting party.

Fourthly, we talked about the ridiculousness of compelling offenders to register their online identities previously, and someone above mentioned how sex offender status has been broadened to ridiculous levels, and accusations can certainly be made falsely and maliciously. What's bad here is that it mandates actively using a registration list to cull registered users, which means you run into the same problems as the No-Fly List.

Just like how 2257 was intended to create a chilling effect on porn (forcing actors to be positively identified in a database, forcing site owners to maintain records for every image or video they own and display, enabling random enforcement) so is this meant to have a chilling effect. What provider want to be bothered with image, forum, or blog hosting with that nightmare. What blogger would allow commenting knowing some jackass could do something in your archives from years ago to get you in hot water? And things like this are going to force services to require more positive identification, which is certainly making the "speech" less "free".
posted by rzklkng at 10:26 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


No children were harmed in the writing of this comment. Well, maybe one - but he wasn't white.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


just like BCRA, more limits on speech
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:32 AM on December 14, 2006


But was he clean, Florence?
posted by NationalKato at 10:33 AM on December 14, 2006


As Markos loves to point out, left wing blogs usually have comments; right wing ones more often don't. Am I the only one who's cynical about this?
posted by sachinag at 10:36 AM on December 14, 2006


First, this is a stupid bill, for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the utter inability to practically enforce it.

But given the questionable ability to enforce and what the bill actually says, it does not appear to be a bill created to prosecute websites. That is, I don't think this is a proactive bill intended to ensure compliance by monitoring and busting every blog that exists and misses something.

Rather, this appears to be a bill which requires operators to do something when they know its wrong and then gives them and the government the legal cover to do something about it.

(Note: when discussing proposed legislation it is always imperative to look at and focus only on what the proposed bill actually says instead of relying on someone's report/interpretation of it.)

Here are the two key sections, as I see them in my first read:

First,
(b) Duty To Report-

`(1) IN GENERAL- Whoever, while engaged in providing an online service to the public through a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, obtains actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances described in paragraph (2) shall, as soon as reasonably possible, make a report of such facts or circumstances to the CyberTipline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or any successor to the CyberTipline operated by such center.
`(2) FACTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES- The facts or circumstances described in this paragraph are any facts or circumstances that appear to indicate a violation of--
`(A) section 2251, 2251A, 2252, 2252A, 2252B, or 2260 that involves child pornography or;
`(B) section 1466A.
The important part of that section is the "actual knowledge" requirement. A constant theme throughout the law is "actual knowledge" vs "constructive knowledge" vs the negligence standard of "should have known." Here, the statute requires actual knowledge of facts which indicate a violation of (various provisions having to do with child pornography, solicitation, exploitation, selling). The actual knowledge requirement creates a significant hurdle with respect to enforcement as it requires proof of that actual knowledge. But the bill says you have to know completely that this is occurring before the duty to report is triggered. (And to answer the point that is always made about 'actual knowledge' requirements: yes, it encourages blinders.)

This is re-inforced by this subsequent provision:
`(g) Protection of Privacy- Nothing in this section shall be construed to require an online service provider to--
`(1) monitor any user, subscriber, or customer of that provider;
`(2) the content of any communication of any person described in paragraph (1); or
`(3) affirmatively seek facts or circumstances described in subsection (b)(2).
This is a safe harbor provision of sorts. (g)(3) states that you have no duty to monitor your comments or whatever. This reinforces the fact that the obligation exists only if you know about it. That is, if you know that someone is dealing in kiddie porn, solicitation, etc., then you must report it. But you have no duty to go find out if that is what is occurring.

Again, due to the near impossibility of enforcing this in a practical manner, this bill appears to be much more of a bill which tries to impose an obligation on people to report this kind of stuff (although I doubt ever punishing someone for not doing so) while also---and I suspect more importantly--giving the federal government the ability to do something about it when they receive reports.
posted by dios at 10:37 AM on December 14, 2006


Fuck John McCain.

I won't be matching my users up to a government list of "bad people" compiled by the same federal goons who are doing the warrantless wiretaps. Ever.
posted by Bael'Gar at 10:39 AM on December 14, 2006


dbiedny: "I had personally reported no less than 4 email SPAMS promoting child porn,"

So you admit to four counts of possession of child pornography? Up against the wall you kiddy diddler - admin delete all his posts!
posted by Tenuki at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2006


Someone should swat McCain with a newspaper, rub his nose in it and say "No! Bad Senator! Not on the carptet!".
posted by The Power Nap at 10:48 AM on December 14, 2006


Why does John McCain hate freedom?

Because freedom is antithetical to John McCain's model society.
posted by moonbiter at 10:56 AM on December 14, 2006


Metafilter: because some audience loves a convenient target of outrage so that they are distracted from their own misery and are suggested they can feel slightly superior.

I clown, but note - “John McCain is an amoral, corporate-owned, candy-ass piece of shit” (and other such comments) gets marked as a favorite (not that it’s not epigrammatic) and the link to the EFF - nada favorites (I’m already in).
+ what dbieny sed

And I’m with sarcasman - someone high up pulled his little talky string to get him on this issue and promised him power, wealth, plochops, etc. etc.

Part of the problem - and we can all debate what a “hero” is forever - is whatever one thinks of McCain, he has shown a great deal of fortitude, personal courage and endurance in surviving as a POW in the manner that he did.
What makes that a problem is when you get an individual with that kind of determination who is ignorant of certain realities. He considers opposition to be based not on higher confidence information, but on political expediancy, so, being the hard charger he is, he pushes harder. (More on that in a bit) Makes him a good tool I s’pose. It’s certainly made him semi-immune to abuse such that he shrugs it off when it’s from people he considers on his side.

I’m very much against child exploitation. And indeed, it doesn’t have to be child pornography. One can talk a older kids - 14, 15, 16 year olds into producing revealing photographs and turn around and post them elsewhere on the web. I’ve seen this myself and most of you are probably far more web savvy than I so I can only assume some of you have as well. Yes, it’s parents yadda yadda, but if we’re going to recognize society has some duty to the ignorant, and I think one is bestowed with brains, strength and/or talent in order to share it with the slow, weak or helpless, then we have to do something to stop it.

The problem is that some folks have an unfortuante tendancy to equate “conservative” with anything bad or that they don’t agree with and so shortcut thinking deeply. (This is so obvious - and indeed lauded - among knee jerk Republicans it barely merits mention).
The issue itself - protecting children from various kinds of exploitation - is I concede one of those moral things modern social conservatives love.
But I don’t see how anyone can argue against it.
In this case thought there is opposition to how such a thing should be executed. And rightly so, this is a stupid damn bill and the stupider something is, the more important that something probably is (to paraphrase the prophet).
So, indeed, it’s likely that some information Tzar higher up said “Hey, those blogs are getting too far out of our control” as they did with books, radio, comic books, t.v. and every other new media form in history before major controls for those mediums were laid down - and told an otherwise ignorant McCain that child predators were running wild on the web to get him to charge this issue like the Minotaur he is.

Bottom line - kids need protection, ignorant folks need to be educated. Calling McCain an idiot and opposing him is only going to build up his resolve and - manifestly - if he can survive as a POW he’s not going to back off because some folks on the web don’t like him. And he’s going to be rewarded by whomever higher up is waving the red flag. So money and straight power ain’t gonna do it. And petitioning might have an impact, but...the best way to beat someone is to make their methods obsolete. (You may quote me)

Because at some point the methods being espoused now will become tradition and ingrained, much like the methods for pro-life on sex education. There’s no question prevention and condom use as well as information are more efficient at producing the desired goal = less abortion (because of less unwanted babies), but morality got bound into the method and it’s going to take far longer to extricate ourselves from that mess. This particular thing is still in it’s formative stages, but it’s spreading roots.

Wish I could help beyond general strategy, but I’m not a lawyer, lobbyist or computer expert. But many of the folks at the EFF *coughblatentplugcough* are.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:58 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Remember, a blog is not something you just dump comments on, it's a series of...

wait.
posted by Target Practice at 11:04 AM on December 14, 2006


Okay, what I want to know is, how much of danger are children really in on-line? To hear some people, there must be a legion of pedophiles lurking out there ready to fondle the virtual nethers of ten-year-olds the very moment they touch a keyboard.

Setting aside for the moment the question of whether kids should be allowed on the internet unsupervised, is the internet pedophile problem so particularly bad, or is this a manufactured crisis? What numbers are floating around to support this tiresome ruckus?
posted by JHarris at 11:04 AM on December 14, 2006


Proof yet again that McCain is a stupid fuck.

Actually, he's quite smart:

A. He doesn't want to get Swift-Boat'ed the way Kerry was

B. He remembers the smear tactics used by the Bush campaign in the 2000 election, during the North Carolina primary

At this point, he'll do anything he can to improve his chances at winning the 2008 Presidency — even if it might mean cutting away at the Constitution.

The Constitution is just a "piece of paper", to quote Bush, and most of middle America associates "blog" with "left-wing" anyway, so any dissent will be swept under the carpet as the media so often does.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:05 AM on December 14, 2006


(Ack, wish I could write better, but hopefully my gist is clear)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:05 AM on December 14, 2006


JHarris

I'd think it'd be impossible to determine. That said, any risk they'd be under has to be greatly diminished on any site that isn't limited to local users. Unless Mr. McCain thinks a pedo from Nu Yawk is going to fly in to Phoenix to pick up a six-year-old.
posted by Target Practice at 11:08 AM on December 14, 2006


Walnuts!!!
posted by basicchannel at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Deleting sex offenders' posts
The other section of McCain's legislation targets convicted sex offenders. It would create a federal registry of "any e-mail address, instant-message address, or other similar Internet identifier" they use, and punish sex offenders with up to 10 years in prison if they don't supply it.


Well this is going to put a serious damper on Mark Foley's dating techniques.
posted by quin at 11:14 AM on December 14, 2006


The bill is of course silly and will not get passed but it is an important notice of what the guy would be like if he gets elected to the presidency.
posted by Postroad at 11:20 AM on December 14, 2006


Smedleyman, you came off quite clear and well grounded as usual. To address your concern for actual action: I am one of those quacks who fairly regularly writes his congressmen and women about issues that matter to me. As well volunteer work, attempting decency etc. I hear your call and second it. But as for this blue platform, I fear my poverty of resources and wits limits me to using that brash sardonic tone after which I am named. Just do not so hastily discount the power of seductive dances that have in the past led to the decapitation of other Johns.
Dios, thanks for the legal assessment as well.
To re-don character: this bill is sooo going to stop pedophiles. bravo political grandstanding!
posted by sarcasman at 11:23 AM on December 14, 2006


'm sorry, I think I dozed off for a minute there. Didn't there used to be an independent-minded, logical, reasonable, likable Senator named John McCain just a few years ago? I seem to recall.

This guy seems to have fallen face-first into the Radical Republican Right Kool-Aid.

I expect this shit from Ted Stevens, but John McCain? It makes me sad at the same time it makes me angry.
posted by JWright at 11:44 AM on December 14, 2006


Smedleyman:

but...the best way to beat someone is to make their methods obsolete. (You may quote me)

Smed, what do you think about initiatives like this one? Point taken about the EFF, though.
posted by pax digita at 11:45 AM on December 14, 2006


Proof yet again that McCain is a stupid fuck.

Seconded.
posted by j-urb at 11:52 AM on December 14, 2006


JWright:"Didn't there used to be an independent-minded, logical, reasonable, likable Senator named John McCain just a few years ago? I seem to recall."

That man disappeared sometime around the second Bush-Kerry Presidential Debate. I think the Orbital Mind Control Lasers got to him.
posted by Tenuki at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2006


Didn't there used to be an independent-minded, logical, reasonable, likable Senator named John McCain just a few years ago?

No.
posted by dhartung at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2006


We live in a sad world when out greatest champion of free speech is Perez Hilton.
posted by PeteNicely at 12:08 PM on December 14, 2006


These people have been after the opinionators on the internet since Usenet days and since their attempts to legislate away those boards failed they're after the blogs because they're an easier target (corralled horses). The wild of Usenet is what they're really after again and the blogs are the first step.
posted by hojoki at 12:14 PM on December 14, 2006


teece: neocons were a flash in the pan: that movement is dead.

Silly rabbi. You can't kill vampires that easily.
posted by lodurr at 12:14 PM on December 14, 2006


Just in case anybody REALLY BELIEVED that legislating against child pron is going to achieve something, remember the :

a. laws against drugs
b. laws against sexual conduct
c. generally speaking, laws punishing behaviors

haven't achieved much, at very best in few occasion will contain the frequency of some behavior by menacing consequences, but they don't extinguish the behavior nor help understanding it.

Problem with child pornography is, at best of my understanding, caused by a society lack of understanding of the drives represented in sexuality.

Some people is more outraged by the fact there is a physical act done unto a defensless children than by the sexual nature of the act , but the outrage is compunded by the notion that we are able to restrain our sexual urges and that sex, after all, is just a way to obtain pleasure.

There is more to sex than just pleasure ; the drives that bring an otherwise apparently "sane" person to seek intimate contact with childrens rather then adults are still very much framed into an idea that is a further distortion of the Freudian notion of ID, the beast within, the bestial human that will do anything to appease self.

People are not told much about their sexuality or about sexuality at all, many don't even know the mere mechanics of reproduction (penetration et all) let alone understanding themselves, their emotions, their drives.

We still are in a big taboo society, even if we claim we are so free.
posted by elpapacito at 12:18 PM on December 14, 2006


I don't understand the extreme hostility to this piece of legislation. Is it a stupid use of government resources? Sure.

But some of you y'all seem genuinely angry about and think this is a major free speech issue. The actual effect of the bill seems like something most people would agree with in principle.

Hypothetical: if you and I are sitting in a waiting room along with a little 5 year old girl, and you see me expose myself to her, my guess is that you will do something. You will probably tell the police even. My guess is that you would be so offended and angry that you would probably act then and there.

Well, that's what is going on here. This bill is not requiring that you guard vigilantly your blog, monitoring every thing. Rather this bill is saying that you need to report if you actually know of an actual incidence of someone soliciting a child, exploiting a child, or displaying kiddie porn, etc.

"Report to the authorities if you know that a child is being solicited, exploited or sold" is a command that I suspect most people would not mind. Yet because this is a blog, it somehow becomes a great thread to free speech?
posted by dios at 12:26 PM on December 14, 2006


Indeed, sarcasman I’m not saying not to of course. Every little bit helps. And I’m not one to disparage simple discussion on the matter either. I just don’t know what would work to prevail upon someone like McCain that he’s going the wrong way. My own ignorance of it doesn’t imply there isn’t an answer or course.

pax digita - I’m all for freenet. I think it’s better to err on the side of free speech. Indeed, my D.A. cybercrime folks tell me that most of the child porn is people swapping old images anyway. Not that one should ignore the issue of predators abusing children and swapping material. But the focus (and resources) should be on the act (and recovery for the victim), the images are evidence of the crime, not the crime itself. Of course the images should be criminalized to prevent redistribution and further trauma, but there are better means of enforcement. Even without anonymity it can be a chore to tie someone’s online activity to their particular acts - plus there’s intent, and a host of other issues. Whereas if you physically grab someones’ machine and there’s child porn all over it, it’s easier to tie them to that. Fishing from online is a tough way to generate leads, and is inefficient as compared to other methods. And indeed, I’d question if it is possible to eliminate any form of information (as it hasn’t worked in the past - Christianity itself is an example of that). And the thought crime element of it bothers me. I’d like to see greater emphasis on social prevention (see below). As that too would empower kids such that it’s not the man in the bushes you fear, but rather you have the right to your body and telling someone isn’t bad, etc. Tough one to drive, but since most kids are abused by someone they know, it’d be more effective.
(My confidence in that is based on the number of ‘date’ rapes being reported going up shortly after methods in dealing with them were changed. The number of rapes didn’t go up per se, but the number of women reporting them increased - which was a good thing).

JHarris, it’s the exploitation part of it. F’rinstance - you wouldn’t let aunt biddy give your kid box after box of chocolate, right? Some forms of adult-child interaction can be harmful to the child. People do interact with young people on myspace, et.al. and get them to produce photos of themselves and such. It is not that the problem is widespread, but that it leads to poor decisions and expectations in a variety of things - relationships, other kinds of interactions - in the same way that eating too much candy doesn’t only make you fat, but leads later in life to poor nutrition choices, eating habits, etc. - and those things can spread. If Joe Blow’s kid wants to go to McDonald’s all the time and my kid is friends with his, then my kid will go to McDonald’s. If Joe Blow’s kid is unsupervised and has a web cam and has been seduced into thinking it’s ok to flash your privates online, then maybe my kid will too - given of course I’m ignorant of the situation.
(thus my leaning toward education to empower parents to know what’s involved)

And of course that’s the shallow end of that particular pool. Ok, so maybe 1 in 1000 child predators has the means or will to fly cross country - or more or less, whatever. But even if it doesn’t get that far - your kid now has naked pictures of themselves all over some website after trusting someone who said they were 14 too (or even if they were 14 - trusting someone with something that personal). Not a good state of affairs. So they develop issues with trust - a whole host of other things.

Me, I have no problem with nudity. I’m sure there are plenty of pictures of me sliding bare ass down bar floors through puddles of beer. But socially, there are some issues there. Especially with girls. So it’s not so much a moral issue - the “pedophiles are scum” end of it. It’s about protecting the overall health of children.
Which is why the numbers - from that perspective - don’t really enter that much into it. Many parents are clueless what goes on with webcams. That should change. There should also be recognition that what you share on the web is capable of being spread world wide. Many people in general don’t get that.
We often do not factor in the ignorance of others in general decision making. Someone last week told me that they should not have sent me a certain set of documents by e-mail and asked if I could e-mail them back.
That’s not stupid, that’s merely lack of knowlege. And as a society we have not as of yet developed fully informed social norms to deal with exploitative situations on the internet. Kids know ‘stranger danger’ and not to accept candy from strangers so much so that it’s a cliché - but they, and parents, haven’t learned the same practices on the web. And kids still have to be protected from well-meaning but foolish aunt biddy who will give them too much candy, but typically the family all knows to remind the kids “only one” piece of candy from aunt biddy.

Which, as a conservative, is the heart of the matter for me. It irritates me that more government encroachment and more law enforcement (and as a result more tax dollars spent on an ongoing basis) seems to be the answer being pushed here.
When in fact it’s a social issue which should be resolved by society. And we, as a society, all know we don’t want perverts talking to our kids online. The government’s job should be to facilitate society’s desire and just spread the information as to how.
That could be done through information and subsidized education programs, which would take a chunk of change for a while, but eventually people would internalize it as much as the “don’t take candy from strangers” thing. It’d be “Hey, that’s as stupid as posting your naked butt on the internet” kinda thing after a generation. And anyone asking you for a nude photo that you haven’t been in personal (realspace) contact with or don’t have an honest two-way interaction with (some equity of interaction as adults have as opposed to the more dominant relationship one has with a child) would be suspect. It’d be a cliché. And the behavoir wouldn’t be seen as more adult (as sexual activity always is), but as more childish, cause you’re stupid and easily fooled like a baby. (Some kids are there already. I’ve seen some myspace profiles which say things like “if you ask me to show my tits you’ll be blocked loser” and such things. Good for them.)

And then we wouldn’t have to fight the government to trim all those law enforcement jobs, we’d just stop spending so much money on educating people ‘cause they’d know it already. And instead of trying to kick society into shape with cops, you’ve instead facilitated something people already want.

But of course, that assumes you don’t want a police state and/or to syphon more money out of people’s pockets. And of course, to get people on board with that you have to press those emotional buttons and saying you will take care of them instead of speading knowlege so people can take care of themselves.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:37 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Young voters will not think of McCain as a straight-talking maverick war hero, but rather as the guy who tried to kill MySpace.

And then proceed not to vote.
posted by oaf at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2006


I think '08 could finally be Ralph Nader's year.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Oh, yeah! *sniff* Sorry - I'm better, now.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:44 PM on December 14, 2006


"and you see me expose myself to her, my guess is that you will do something. You will probably tell the police even."

Chilling effect on action = Good.
Chilling effect on speech = Bad.
posted by Bael'Gar at 12:46 PM on December 14, 2006


Chilling effect on action = Good.
Chilling effect on speech = Bad.
posted by Bael'Gar at 2:46 PM CST on December 14


Ahhh... the action v. speech argument. And that is such a clear cut difference here?
posted by dios at 12:55 PM on December 14, 2006


dios: if you just read a bill and try to make sense of it AS IF it was , for instance, an ordinary newspaper, you or anybody else
wouldn't understand what really can happen in a court. One must analyze it in all its details and not just give it a cursory glance and say "this will end well" ....reality isn't that fun or easy.

Just to give you an example, taken from the text of the law:

Whoever[..]obtains actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances [fitting definition of child pornography] shall, as soon as reasonably possible, make a report of such facts.

You see that this law says "obtains" while exercising the blog. How does one obtain actual knowledge ? One may if somebody tells the admin about a message or when reading the messages. Yet should an admin monitor and read EVERY message ? Nope it doesn't say so..it just says "obtain"..so the law so far puts no inposition on the blog operator, practically making the law useless because the operator can just say he didn't notice.

But this is just my interpretation and I am not a skilled lawyer , actually I am not a lawyer at all , but I still have found a way to read the law so that there is no obligation for blogger. Also the law calls for a max fine of 300k for the operator that "knowingly and wifully" omits to report something , and there is a substantial fine for "negligent" failure as well.

I went only this far and the bill is already swiss cheese and useless, except it gives a lot of power of punishment. That is the same as agreeing with your boss that you will reach a budget according to what is written in this text and then have the boss fry your ass over what is written in the text : it is FOOLISH, but go ahead the ass on the frier is yours to be fried, just don't involve my ass !

On top of this the "molester" will just start using a lingo or develop their own secretive blogs et al...nothing changes or changes only minimally, but we don't even begin to understand the effects of that law. Look at FCC censoring what can be say on public frequencies, look at how restriction on hate speech can expand to include potty humor and then almost everything a commission in Washington deems not to be "appropriate" to Ms Sensitive Nancy.
posted by elpapacito at 1:05 PM on December 14, 2006


The key issue to me is the need to police your user profiles, essentially submitting all registered users to periodic background checks (I would think that they would have to be periodic). See section 7 of the legislation.

The other issue is that it opens the door to attacks by unscrupulous enemies or Russian mob types, who can attempt to cripple a site by spamming forbidden material. More ominously, axe-grinders may be able to selectively prosecute sites that are critical of powerful office-holders; and even if no wrong-doing is found, it seems that shutting down or restricting access for a number of days or weeks would effectively kill many blogs/networking sites.
posted by Mister_A at 1:09 PM on December 14, 2006


One possible side effect: I follow international gymnastics the way other people follow football. Many top female athletes are under 18. They don't wear much (leotards) and they perform and pose in ways some would call provocative. Would websites featuring photos and videos of gymnastics be targeted? Who decides what crosses the line?
posted by swerve at 1:13 PM on December 14, 2006


Pedophile Blogs - This is well crafted and clever pandering, as good as putting "on the radio" or "on MTV" into a song lyric. It will enrage free speech proponents, who will be accused of supporting child abuse if they oppose him, and send McCain onto Sunday morning TV shows and hate-talk radio where "pedophilia" will provide the necessary titillation, and his Net-negative message will serve the interests of media that are slowly loosing their monopoly control of infotainment to those dangerous, uncontrolled elements on the Web.
posted by crispynubbins at 1:26 PM on December 14, 2006


Um, dios, with all due respect, whether this is as bad a law as us radical lefties suspect it's still not a good idea.

We already have a moral obligation to save lives and protect children, and those of us who recognize that already do it regardless of whether it's codified into a law by an Authority or not; those "passersby" who do not see any obligation now will still refuse to do anything if Big Brother explicitly says they're supposed to.

But then again, since children playing with matches sometimes set their homes on fire, let's make it illegal for anyone to possess any fire-starting device within 1000 feet of any child. Furthermore let's make it obligatory to report anybody we think might be breaking this law, and for people to fail to report non-reporters. We all must join hands and souls to make America a safer place for our most vulnerable citizens!
posted by davy at 1:28 PM on December 14, 2006


smedleyman: I’m sure there are plenty of pictures of me sliding bare ass down bar floors through puddles of beer.

.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

And: No, I am not following you. Really it's just that you're saying such ... interesting ... things, lately. Like, seriously, if there were such pictures of me? I wouldn't have the stones to admit it.

posted by lodurr at 1:29 PM on December 14, 2006


Um, dios, with all due respect, whether this is as bad a law as us radical lefties suspect it's still not a good idea.

Oh really? Well, had you read what I actually wrote before you arguing with me, you would see that I said that in both of the comments I made here.

We already have a moral obligation to save lives and protect children, and those of us who recognize that already do it regardless of whether it's codified into a law by an Authority or not


I agree. But that is not a criticism of the substance of the law; just the necessity of it.

But one important thing about the law---which again, I noted in my comment if you read it---is that the law gives people and the government the ability to act upon it. The law provides the mechanism whereby the blogmaster (or whatever we want to call the person) can provide information to the government and that government can use the information it receives to investigate it.

Furthermore let's make it obligatory to report anybody we think might be breaking this law, and for people to fail to report non-reporters.

That is not an argument against *the substance* of this policy. It just goes to the reasonableness of the policy (which I already said was stupid).

_______
One possible side effect: I follow international gymnastics the way other people follow football. Would websites featuring photos and videos of gymnastics be targeted? Who decides what crosses the line?
posted by swerve at 3:13 PM CST on December 14


That is true with any law regarding pornography or exploitation. It is not unique to this law. But aside from that point, again: the reporting person has to have actual knowledge that something illegal is occurring. If I look at the picture of the gymnast and say "oh, thats just a gymnast," then I wouldn't have actual knowledge of something illegal and wouldn't have to report it. I can already hear someone asking about the person who over-reports things and reports gymnast pictures. Well, if that is the case, then this law wouldn't stop them nor would our current laws prevent them from making a federal case out of it.
_______
Lastly, elpapcito. I considered responding to you, but--and I mean no disrespect--but I haven't foggiest clue what you are arguing or if you are disagreeing with me. I'm having a hard time figuring out how your comment addresses me at all despite its first sentence.
posted by dios at 1:39 PM on December 14, 2006


McCain should just shut up until he has some basic understanding about what the fuck he's talking about. I understand holding people responsible for what they say but there's no way to control what people leave as comments. If someone posts something truly ugly on my blogs, I delete it and ban the IP but not because I fear a massive fine but because it degrades the quality of my site and gives a voice to someone who's primary mood is hatred.
posted by fenriq at 1:43 PM on December 14, 2006


But one important thing about the law---which again, I noted in my comment if you read it---is that the law gives people and the government the ability to act upon it. The law provides the mechanism whereby the blogmaster (or whatever we want to call the person) can provide information to the government and that government can use the information it receives to investigate it.

Is there no way, now, for a concerned "blogmaster" to report such activity?
posted by little miss manners at 1:59 PM on December 14, 2006


lodurr - in essence, education is better at prevention than enforcement on the web and will have less of an impact on civil liberties.

“Like, seriously, if there were such pictures of me? I wouldn't have the stones to admit it.”

Well, yeah lodurr, but no one knows “Smedleyman’s” real name is Jim Bell.

...D’oh.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:00 PM on December 14, 2006


(playing rugby you do some odd things, naked beer slides being one)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:15 PM on December 14, 2006


Hypothetical: if you and I are sitting in a waiting room along with a little 5 year old girl, and you see me expose myself to her, my guess is that you will do something. You will probably tell the police even. My guess is that you would be so offended and angry that you would probably act then and there.

Dios compares thing under discussion to completely different situation. Film at 11.
posted by delmoi at 2:15 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]




All you have to do is stamp "sex offenders" on a bill and no matter how draconian it will be almost impossible to oppose.
posted by bukharin at 2:18 PM on December 14, 2006


bukharin, or 9/11 or terrorist. We know their tricks, now we need a response that castrates the effort.
posted by fenriq at 2:23 PM on December 14, 2006


dios:
The actual effect of the bill seems like something most people would agree with in principle.

In principe people agree on a lot of things , but they rarely check what the effects of their agreement could be or how to implement their consensus in the law.

Their emotional engagement to the issue prevents them from seeing the troubles of implementing what they would like to happen, which is "to protect the children from harm". While the intention of protecting the children is sometimes laudable (you must not protect children from ANYTHING, that harms them) and the emotional involvment is likely, the implementation of the law could quickly turn into a problem that doesn't actually protect anybody, but actually put useless burdens on many achieving nothing.

It seems to me you think that the law may add something, give people that want to protect children a new instruments, but it seems to me there is no void of legislation on the issue.

The system/blog operator can most probably already denounce suspicious activities..I don't have a number handy to offer, but on top of my head I guess there ought to be some police office to call, even just 911.

So what is the need for this new law ? Bloggers already can denounce illegal activities, anybody can and maybe should.

Any blogger or system operator would just BAN any discussion concerning children in fear they may have not understood the law well, see DCMA abuses, or maybe in fear of not having a good enough lawyer (or not having enough money to pay) or a not competent judge.

That's the so called "chilling effect" ; the emotional argument is that anything must be done to protect the children, the rational one begin : is the children being _actually_ protected from anything ? Do we need more protection or more education ? Do repression of sexuality achieve the objective or just exacerbate it ?
posted by elpapacito at 2:44 PM on December 14, 2006


I don't think that word means what you think it means.

i don't think you know what i think.

These types of things matter when you're interested in presenting your opinion as informed.

riiiiiiight.

There's nothing about this proposed legislation which is particularly "neocon"

riiiiiiight.

He's not really so very far out on the right wing, though

riiiiiiight.

but you might consider such a suggestion too neocon for you.

riiiiiiight.

thanks for straightening me out.
posted by 3.2.3 at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2006


and for those of you considering voting in 2008, he is considered a 'moderate' republican. wonder how much democratic support he'll get? probably quite a bit. a nice hot button issue like this...
posted by altman at 3:42 PM on December 14, 2006


“a nice hot button issue like this.”

Well, Mrs. Clinton is pretty anti-video game.
I mean you want your left nut or your right nut crushed?
*coughthirdpartycough*
Did pretty well in my state. Your welcome.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:18 PM on December 14, 2006


While you're all arguing amonst yourselves, it bears repeating. McCain not only has a blog - you can make a comment or vote in a poll there whether this is "bull" or not.

http://www.newsbull.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=39181#comments


One possible side effect: I follow international gymnastics the way other people follow football. Many top female athletes are under 18. They don't wear much (leotards) and they perform and pose in ways some would call provocative.
Yep, I just thinking about this in relation to my favorite, figure skating.
Gonna make posting on the message boards interesting: "The world champion, whose name we can't mention and picture we can't post because she's 17, landed seven triples in her freeskate ..."
posted by NorthernLite at 4:36 PM on December 14, 2006


what I want to know is, how much of danger are children really in on-line?


There are approximately somewhere between 50,000 to 70,000 individual children worldwide being exploited with the internet being used as an assisting tool.

In a recent case in the UK - a single predator was 'grooming' (essentially preparing to meet) over 200 children...

While the above is true - I still don't agree with this legislation, it is not necessary and there are certainly other motives in-play here.
posted by jkaczor at 4:46 PM on December 14, 2006


You know after McCain's years in the Hanoi Hilton, I wonder what would happen if you called his office and said, "Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?"
posted by Pollomacho at 5:00 PM on December 14, 2006


Oh, bullshit, John McCain is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

(Pollomacho that was stellar apt)
posted by Smedleyman at 5:16 PM on December 14, 2006


Do you have any sources for those claims jkaczor?
posted by Tenuki at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2006


I'm sure you've all heard the old wives' tale that no hypnotized subject may be forced to do that which is repellent to his moral nature, whatever that may be. Nonsense of course.
posted by quin at 5:48 PM on December 14, 2006


Smedleyman, my question was not about whether an occurrence of... uh, whatever we call it, online child stalking? virtual child molestation? I don't have a good name for it. I suspect that even the people pushing the legislation really have a clear picture of it in their head.

My question was not concerning whether that was bad or not, but how prevalent it really was. One would think that this was a gigantic problem to hear people going on about it, but I strongly suspect the extent to which this happens is trifling.

You know, unless you're talking about congressmen or something, then percentages seem to go way up.
posted by JHarris at 6:51 PM on December 14, 2006


"I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."

To clarify there, in case you didn't watch the bad Imus clip, the real issue they are discussing is the First Amendment as it pertains to campaign finance reform. There are lots of people who disagree with Buckley v. Valeo, including John Rawls. In fact, I agree with McCain there, probably. But fuck him anyway.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:55 PM on December 14, 2006


It's becoming more apparent that the Viet-Cong shouldn't have tortured McCain,they should have killed that anti-American bastard!
posted by VTscapes at 9:15 PM on December 14, 2006


Wow. You tell him, 3.2.3
posted by dreamsign at 3:42 AM on December 15, 2006


3.2.3 writes "thanks for straightening me out."

Hey, no problem. You're arguments and responses are so cogent and well presented that I knew that with just a little nudge you'd really add to the conversation. It's nice to see I was right.
posted by OmieWise at 5:21 AM on December 15, 2006


So, does 3.2.3 still think McCain is a NeoCon? Which is to say, a disciple of Straussian Neo-Conservatism? As opposed to a quasi-Goldwater Republican?
posted by lodurr at 5:46 AM on December 15, 2006


Obviously McCain is a Neocon, but this bill is not exacly very 'neoconservative'.
posted by delmoi at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2006


McCain is a 'wishy-washy' Republican.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:26 PM on December 15, 2006


I'm intrigued; exactly what makes McCain a NeoCon?
posted by lodurr at 1:40 PM on December 15, 2006


A misunderstanding of the term?
posted by OmieWise at 2:57 PM on December 15, 2006


Ah, I missed jkaczor's post earlier.

Your figure is interesting, but I don't yet know if I buy it. Do you have a source?
posted by JHarris at 6:33 PM on December 15, 2006


There are lots of people who disagree with Buckley v. Valeo, including John Rawls. In fact, I agree with McCain there, probably. But fuck him anyway.

You and every other idiot. And everyone disagrees with part of Buckley v. Valeo.

I don't really think that you're an idiot, but for the love of Christ I don't understand how anyone can look at CFR and think that money is the problem
posted by Kwantsar at 7:26 PM on December 15, 2006


“One would think that this was a gigantic problem to hear people going on about it, but I strongly suspect the extent to which this happens is trifling.”

No, I got your question. I’m saying the number of occurances is somewhat irrelevent given the nature of the web.
I concede that doesn’t directly address your question, but it does highlight one componant of the issue I think you (et.al) might be overlooking.

You see, in the old days if I was a - well, ‘chickenhawk’ means something else now, so let’s go with ‘short-eyes’ - if I was short-eyes, the best I could do would be to get photographs of a little girl or boy naked, in suggestive poses or in actual intercourse or something and show them to my short-eyed buddies.
I could not broadcast them for all the world to see.
So this is, in that sense, a type of child exploitation that did not exist before the internet.
And the number of people doing it is irrelevent in that sense of the matter because the method has changed. In the old days if there were 10,000 short eyes running around or 100,000 that was a major factor as it concerns how many people might see a young girls exploitation.
Now, if one guy does it to one little girl and puts it on the net the audiance is world wide.

Sorry I didn’t develop the idea a bit more.
But I thought the focus on the goal covered that.
In that - again the numbers of short eyes are irrelevent to the goal which is preventing the exploitation rather than arresting the perpetrators. So in that sense the number of perpetrators don’t matter in the prevention of allowing exploitive material to reach everyone on the net.

And indeed, it’s not a gigantic problem except when it comes to that proportion. So it’s not a huge number of kids being exploited by a huge number of short eyes and a huge number of subequent photos (I’d think for most people even if the obession overcomes general prudence in exploiting a young person, it wouldn’t overcome the common sense not to have photographic evidence of a crime - but for some it does, apparently) - what it is, is some small but effective number of these people exploiting a small number of young people - but where the number does get huge is in the amount of people who can potentially see it.
There’s one girl I’ve heard of who’s photos are all over the web - I believe she’s the one who the Canadians investigated (posted here somewhere I think).
So, that’s one girl - but millions of people are party to her exploitation.
Which is indeed a problem. Akin to winning a big lottery. It’s nothing if it doesn’t happen to you - or in this case your kid - but it changes everything if it does.

And to more directly respond to your comment - if I know about it and know where this is going on on the web (and I’m an idiot) rest assured it’s a large enough problem.

As to what the congressmen are saying, I think were both on board with the opinion they’re using it for political expediancy.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:41 PM on December 15, 2006


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