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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]
Do they intend to do this with a whitelist of approved sites, or some sort of blacklist? Either way, a lot will slip through the net and it will be a huge task to maintain any sort of order.
The other problem with this is the idea that user-contributed content is more timewasting than websites that provide content created by webmasters and/or edited content from groups of paid or volunteer writers. This is obviously nonsense.
if it's that broad then we need not worry. Either ACLU or myspace lawyer will overturn this as unconstitutional.
Just think of the benefits:
1. The first time the G-Men come to haul off a school principle who refused to filter his school's Net access, all of a sudden he'll become "cool" to millions of teens around the US. Can you imagine it? A swarm of news cameras catchting Mr. Grabinski, principle of P.S. 451, being hauled away by faceless men in blue suits, his fist held high in defiance. His students, arms linked, swaying back and forth singing "We will overcome."
2. Students across America will come to realize just how much of a special-interest corrupted crock of (*expletive*) the Upper and Lower legislative bodies have become. When they become old enough to vote, they might actually do something about it.
3. Libraries will become cool again. At least, they will "after hours" when rogue librarians allow kids to sneak in for all night MySpace and chatroom sessions. It'll be such a "secret" and so "exclusive" that the library won't have enough computers to go around. As a result, in order to keep the kiddies from milling around outside waiting for their turn and looking suspiscious, the rogue librarians will allow them in, on the condition that they keep quiet and read a book while waiting their turn.
4, A massive resurgence in the popularity of Lynx and other text only browsers, so kids can keep on the social networks without the telltale graphics of those sites tipping off any teacher within a 50 foot radius. Opera, with it's ability to easily switch between a regular browser and text only mode, will finally win the browser wars.
Yes, I can see it all. Such a brave new world.
Kids in school need to remain focused on their larger issues:
1. How to get good results
2. How to get laid.
The Internet interferes with these natural activities to the point where getting laid can become seriously difficult ;)
Who in their right mind wants to chat with a stranger when there are dozens of perfectly good members of the opposite sex just waiting for you to talk to them in your classroom/year group?
Real flesh and blood will always be better than the net, a law encouraging some mischief behind the bike sheds is a good thing IMHO!
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[edited by: tedster at 3:01 pm (utc) on Aug. 9, 2006]