Thursday, December 28, 2006

Censorship

Just to be clear, the McCain Feingold bill, is disguised is a 'Save The Children' effort.

I thought I ought to go look this up before I said much more about it.

This is a tough one to word. The bill targets bloggers. It makes them criminally responsible for the actions of other people. Essentially, if some anonymous person, posts a link to an illegal image or video, in the comments section of a blog or forum, the site owner has committed a crime. Further if a sex offender posts anything on the internet, then the site owner has committed a crime.

What this means is that a blogger must prescreen everyone before they can be allowed to post. It will be the bloggers responsibility to do a background check on users, to make sure that they are not a sex offender, before allowing them to post.

Here's a link to Family Watchdog. Its a sex offender look up site. It found 468 offenders in my area alone.

Now keep in mind that to be registered as a sex offender, you don't have to be a hardened criminal, a rapist or a child molester. You can be a teenager caught making out. You can be a husband who's wife filed a complaint, you could've been busted taking a whiz behind a local bar, while celebrating a bachelor's party.

Now some of the folks listed are sexual predators. Some are downright evil, but in the interest of keeping our children safe, we've made it very easy for people to get added to the list.

Now how are bloggers going to enforce this bill? Heck if I know. We could ask for a copy of photo ID I suppose. But a sex offender could simply borrow someone else's ID. How would we know?

The only safe way to do this is to only allow people to post, if you've met them in person and can be certain of their identity. But then, you need to check up on them on occasion in case their identity is stolen online or they end up on the registry at a later date.

Who will this effect? It will effect all of the newsgroups, newspaper comments sections, political campaign sites, Amazon.com, gaming sites, pages devoted to tutorials and learning, etc... Essentially all sites that allow users to post content, will be at risk.

I suppose the purpose of this bill is to get the public to do the work of the FBI. A side effect may simply be to get the United States of America out of the internet communications business. If successful, then the FBI won't have to work so hard to monitor what US Citizens are doing on the internet.

The effect of this bill, if passed, will likely shut down blogs and newsgroups of US origin, but won't effect bloggers in other countries. We can all flock to Australian blogs to share commentary on US events if we have to. Google and Giganews can simply move their operations out of the US, to avoid unnecessary risk.

This bill will stop US Citizens from hosting blogs and community driven websites, but unless it becomes part of the greater war on terrorism, it won't effect our ability to share opinions on sites in other countries.

8 Comments:

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous mort said...

Is this law on the books now? This seems an invitation to flagrant gvt. abuse. They could have thugs drop illegal content upon innocent bloggers. This is the kind of crap that makes me want to not blog. I suppose that is the real intent of this bill. Free speech is dead.

 
At 9:47 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

I'm not aware that it has been passed.

I think this will be a good test for the new House and Senate.

 
At 10:25 AM, Anonymous mort said...

$100k per family fine is enough to scare away the poor and middle class bloggers. That leaves the rich to rule the blogs. That is the way they want it, IMO.

 
At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Donna said...

So all the NetVocate trolls will have to do is post a link to an illegal image or video, and bye-bye blog? Stinks! Maybe McCain's on the take from whoever backs NetVocates.

Please keep us posted about this!

 
At 1:31 PM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

NetVocates has attracted the attention of other bloggers.

http://tinyurl.com/yg6a6t

Chip Griffin owns the company, and he's Republican hack that has taken trolling to the next level.

 
At 6:08 PM, Anonymous mort said...

donna, they are all on the take. If every politico in D.C. dropped dead tommorrow it wouldn't slow me down to breakfast.

 
At 4:42 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Weas-

Let me do my part right now, so you can properly monitor and censor my comments after the bill passes.

While I'm not on the Registered Sex Offender list, (I was way too uncool as a teenager to have done anything that might have gotten me on the list), I am, however, on the following lists:

1. Registered Obnoxious Blogger
2. Registered Asshole
3. Registered Wiseass.

I'll keep you posted if I register for any others.

("Posted," get it? Never mind.)

 
At 5:10 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

Oh, you're on a list all right! :)

 

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