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Web sites like Amazon.com and MySpace.com may soon be inaccessible for many people using public terminals at American schools and libraries, thanks to the U.S. House of Representatives.
By a 410-15 vote on Thursday, politicians approved a bill that would effectively require that "chat rooms" and "social networking sites" be rendered inaccessible to minors, an age group that includes some of the Internet's most ardent users. Adults can ask for permission to access the sites.
Source: CNet [news.com.com]
OMG. No, it is not backwards. I suppose those adults that act like children should be treated like children. Access to those sites will be disabled by default. Permission is too strong a word. They merely need to ask for access.
Permission is too strong a word.
They merely need to ask for access.
Explain how asking for access is different from needing to ask for permission in this case, in the real world?
Forget what the law finally ends up saying, faster than this thing could be inked into law some power hungry, or just self-righteous "I know best" librarian or educator will be denying "access" to adults because a kid might walk by the monitor, or because they just don't like these types of sites.
Making non-access the default in the childrens computer center is one thing.
Denying access to adults in adult sections of libraries or schools unless the ask for permission to access a category of site is another.
If I must. 'Permission' implies that the privilege might be denied to adults. That isn't the case. If the conditions for access are met, it's not about 'permission' it's about access. In this case, the condition to be met is an age requirement.
>>Denying access to adults in adult sections of libraries or schools unless the ask for permission to access a category of site is another.
My BS meter is currently pegged. I have to ask for access to all sorts of things in libraries. Research materials, rare books, etc. Many libraries set time limits on access to their computers, in effect, denying unlimited access. If I want to look at historical documents, I need to ask for permission.
This potential tempest in a teapot will be forgotten about in a week.
[edited by: digitalghost at 4:13 am (utc) on July 29, 2006]
'Permission' implies that the privilege might be denied to adults. That isn't the case.
You apparently have far more faith in the people that would be granting "access" than I do.
[I also see access by adults as more of a right than a privilege, but that's probably better left for another thread or time.]
This law will be applied as hard as the prosecutors want to, and they will love it.
It allows them to install monitoring software now to track whomever they want.
Meanwhile the criminals always skip the obvious routes anyway, and probably would use wifi outside some unknown business or residence for whatever they want to do.
The feds demand VOIP monitoring, meanwhile the criminals are using encrypted skype or other software anyway.
USA is getting more than a little crazy. Have you tried to buy a dozen peaches lately or a grill lighter, or extra strength cold medication? Go try. You will most likely be required to not only show ID, it will be entered into the store's system for the "authorities" to use any way they desire.
If all these laws and hassles are preventing crime, I want to see the numbers before they makeup nonsense like this and get free reign. They can't just say look how many pink elephants we stopped from trampling you - there are no pink elephants!
My Jr. High school was a "pilot" school in our city, with the first fully equipped computer lab, complete with (*gasp* - imagine the computing power of...) 20 Apple II computers.
To access the lab during lunch and after school, you had to have a special pass card. To get a pass card, you had to be in one of the computer classes.
If you got caught playing video games or pirating, you got your pass card suspended for a week.
Now, no one ever got caught pirating. Mostly because our teachers had no idea what software piracy was. And those that DID know, also knew that piracy was pretty much the only way you could get ahold of software - there just weren't the distribution channels back then that there are today.
However, we DID get busted for playing video games all the time (anyone remember Karatika for the Apple II?). Which was no big deal, because all the kids in the computer classes had enough savvy to break into the school's main computer and print themselves off a pile of extra pass cards, in case they had one suspended.
So what's my point? Simple. Put a barrier in front of a 13 year old, and they'll just find a way around it.
Besides, for now, this is just a bill, and it'll have to go through Senate before it goes anywhere, and I'd guess there'll be much debating and amending before that happens.
In the meantime, it might serve us all to hum a little toon by Dave Frishberg [en.wikipedia.org]:
I'm just a bill.
Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It's a long, long wait
While I'm sitting in committee,
But I know I'll be a law someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bill.
There are minors in college...
As people in my former country say (and believe me, you have a lot of professors in US colleges from my old country, so those are no drunks): "at 21 we already quit drinking". Stop calling ADULTS (i.e. people over 18) "minors", it is not helping them.
Have you tried to buy a dozen peaches lately or a grill lighter, or extra strength cold medication? Go try. You will most likely be required to not only show ID, it will be entered into the store's system for the "authorities" to use any way they desire.
I agree with pretty much everything you said, except for this. I don't know where in the US you live, but here in Arizona, nothing of this sort occurs. I can walk into a store, buy any of those things that you mentioned, present my cash, and leave. I imagine it's like that in most places around this country.
That is a complete exageration.
There are all kinds of legit reasons to be on myspace. If you have not noticed, big corporate media are using myspace as an viril advertising vehicle to reach the youth. Its owned by Fox.
I disagree with the whole "need to go out angle." Some people need to go out to meet people to be "adjusted citizens." Some, don't.
What we as adults think is stupid crap on Myaspace is our judgment alone. We can't judge what the kids do. We all played the bottle as kids. They're just doing it another way.
And about indecent material in social networks, that's why we have parents. It's parents who should be paying a close watch on the crap their kids visit. Not the states. Parents are the best to judge what is acceptable to them and their belief. The state should be taking care of potholes in the streets...
[edited by: Harry at 5:48 pm (utc) on July 29, 2006]
I'm beginning to think this legislation will have several unexpected good consequences, such as creating a generation of proto-hackers.
If you define hacking as 'sitting in front of the computer typing away till it does what you want it to'.
A lot of us here will have had the "you just can't get the 'elp" problem. Where, no matter how simple the computer task you need an employee to do - they sit there looking at the mouse like it might bite them. A computer is something my generation are largely afraid of because you have to be 'clever' to use one. Deep down inside they all know if they press the wrong button they will start a nuclear war.
The kiddies are different. And if you make enjoyable net access Verboten, they are going to take even greater delight in accessing it in ways they aren't supposed to, and to them, a fear of computers will seem like a very strange thing indeed.
You consider what we are all up against - a ruling class (and I'm including Google in this) who assume they can simply take control of any information flow like in the Old Media days, I'm all for banning access to MySpace. Its excellent training.
When it comes to 'wasting time on computers' I expect 90% of us here have been accused of that. And I have to ask myself "do I need an employee who can recite the names of all the presidents, or do I need someone who can sit at a computer and do as I ask without being crippled with terror?"
[edited by: Alex_Miles at 5:14 am (utc) on July 30, 2006]
The bill is probably supported by 75% of the parents for the same ole reason - "It's not my fault my kid is a dumb *ss - it's website/peer-pressure/weed/teacher/what-not fault - everybody else, but me shoud be blamed"
It's the "christian" way of rasing children (or should I say amish).
The problem is that the parents dont want to put an effort in educating themselves in the basics of their kids' world. Talk to your kid for God sake. The electrical outlets could kill a kid, but you dont see us banning them...
Internet is a series of tubes, you know...
While we are at it - let's just bring back the inquisition and go hunt some witches ;)
My point is that we shouldn't demonize those people who might go to the public library seeking online entertainment - they're no different. I say let public libraries regulate themselves. If they regularly have customers with educational/work needs waiting for computers, let them institute their own policy about time limits and priorities. Instead of becoming an increasingly legalized society, let's try to teach kids, teens and adults common courtesy.
a) The brats should be studying and not playing in the school or the library, period.
b) The little curtain crawlers already use the random CGI/PHP proxy sites of the day to get around all those so-called blocking measures
c) My tax dollars don't need to be used for people acessing MySpace or any other crap site.
I wonder how many teens will soon no longer be able to access WebmasterWorld.
So everyone's picking on MySpace. Fine. If I had kids, I wouldn't want them viewing such a site because, well, they might ask "Daddy, is it true that if I have awful coding skills and a horrid design aesthetic, I can own a bazillion dollar company someday?" What kind of example is this for our children? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
But seriously, as a couple of others have pointed out, there are a TON of thoughtful online communities in which young people can share ideas on the arts, on learning, on traveling, and much more.
It makes me sad that poor kids -- whose only Internet access may be at the public library -- are going to be shut out from networking with and learning from others online, while well-off kids (as usual) will be wholly unaffected by the government's intervention in this context. And sometimes, IMHO, it's the at-risk not-well-off kids who most need to reach out to others online.
Also, without meaning to exacerbate this controvery, there are also "different" kids (read: gay, hispanic, etc.) who might be living in small rural communities who have no one like themselves they can safely talk to in person.
As a society, we broadly cut off communications channels -- even mixed ones -- at our collective peril. And yes, kids are -- or should be -- part of our society.
Less than $10, so if Mama can give up 2 packs of smokes or Daddy can do without a couple of 6-packs the kid can have internet access.
Or the kid could do what kids did when I was a kid, sell bottles with deposits and recycle cans for spare change.
Or, here's a concept, mow a lawn, rake a yard, clean a garage to pay for the 'net...
If they want it, it's cheap, and 2nd hand computers are piling up.
Don't need my tax dollars for it and I knew how to get money when I was a kid.
Personally, I'm getting sick of all the coddling mentality, life is hard, you get whatever you want if you work for it, if you don't you get the short end of the stick.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 8:19 am (utc) on July 31, 2006]
School is school.. you go there to learn something, not to play with myspace or amazon. We give the kids too many space nowadays on the internet at schools.
You can give them that in Libraries when the school is over.. In their own time.
My tax dollars are wasted on a magnitude of things already. A lot of stuff I don't approve of. Whether I vote or not, it won't change much. But going after kids is always good to get some cheap votes as if they were all bad and needed to be contained/protected from themselves.
Part of a good democracy is letting kids learn stuff by themselves and giving them some breathing room. I think this new legislation will hurt more than it will do any good on a long term basis. The state is supposed to fix sidewalks, deliver the mail, prevent epidemics, and so on. It's not supposed to tell kids what to do with their free time or at recess, and where to surf. There are bad online neighbourhoods and preventing access to them should be done at the local level and with parents.
Parents should have the ultimate say in what they kids can see or not. I trust them more than any well meaning bureaucrat or politician.
I'm amazed by how people are willing to surrender their freedom for so little gains.
As much as I hate Myspace, I understand why kids need it. And if they don't go to Myspace or other online social networking site, they'll just go elsewhere. Nothing is fixed - as there was no problems before. Just parents who did not do their job and blamed everyone else but themselves.
And if the state thinks that Myspace is bad and influences kids babdly, why don't they just ban them and stop circling the problem?