Saw this over at TechCrunch and I can’t believe this is legal:
US House: Schools must block MySpace, many other sites
US House Resolution 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), was passed by a 410 to 15 vote tonight. If the Resolution becomes law social networking sites and chat rooms must be blocked by schools and libraries or those institutions will lose their federal internet subsidies. According to the resolution’s top line summary it will “amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms.”Adults will be able to ask for the library’s permission to use such sites. The Resolution will now go to the US Senate for a vote before being offered to the President for signature into law.
The rhetoric from advocates was all about MySpace. For example, Texas Republican Ted Poe says, “social networking sites such as MySpace and chat rooms have allowed sexual predators to sneak into homes and solicit kids."
Maybe I’m naive, but this seems like banning the sale of tires to cut down on automobile accidents. Surely there has to be a better way for kids to be protected from online predators than banning the most visited Web site in the world from U.S. kids.
I can’t see how this would ever stand up in the Supreme Court. The good side of Social Networking allows people to make friends all over the world. Plus, since kids are dumb when they are young, it’s been an effective tool for catching kids before they do illegal stuff.
This bill is amazingly ironic since there have been nearly 50 cases in the last year of kids hooking up with their teachers. According to this logic, we need to shut down all schools to save kids from adults.
Anyway, the point is that it’s dangerous and silly for legislators to start deciding what people are allowed to read. It sounds an awful lot ike the country on the other side of the Pacific Ocean that we all love to chastize for its oppressive behavior.
The problem with protecting kids from sexual redators is that the predators themselves need to be dealt with more effectively.