This is really FREEKY – DOPA “Deleating Online Predators Act” passed the house!!!! I blogged about this before Congress Targets Social Network sites – to be blocked from Schools and Libraries I then had a blog exchange with a parent about where the line was to protect children but I never thought it would actually become law. This whole thing highlights again the need to organize ‘technical’ people…Silona Bonewald is beginning the League of Technical Voters.
Fitzpatrick’s the sponsor highlights these elemetns of the bill in his press release:
- H.R. 5319 requires schools that receive Federal Universal Service Funding to prevent the access of children to a chat room or social networking website. Schools may disable protection measures in order to allow use by students with adult supervision for educational purposes, or by adults;
- H.R. 5319 requires libraries that receive Federal Universal Service Funding to prevent the access of children without parental authorization to a chat room or social networking website;
- H.R. 5319 requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create a website and issue consumer alerts to inform parents, teachers and school officials about the potential dangers on the Internet, specifically online sexual predators and their ability to contact children through social networking sites and chat rooms.
When i expressed my concern over DOPA, everyone told me i was being paranoid, that it would never pass, that it was too absurd. DOPA passed. By a 410-15 vote. Dear god.
and this one…
Anti Social Networking legislation
Earlier, i spoke about how the MySpace panic was likely to cause legislation proposals. Today, Congressperson Fitzpatrick proposed legislation to 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.” This legislation broadly defines social network sites as anything that includes a Profile plus an ability to communicate with strangers. It covers social networking sites, chatrooms, bulletin boards. Obviously, the target is MySpace but most of our industry would be affected. Blogger, Flickr, Odeo, LiveJournal, Xanga, Neopets, MySpace, Facebook, AIM, Yahoo! Groups, MSN Spaces, YouTube, eBaumsworld, Slashdot. It would affect Wikipedia if there wasn’t a special clause for non-commercial sites. Because many news sites (NYTimes, CNN, the Post) allow people to login and create profiles and comment, it might affect them too.
Because it affects both libraries and schools, it will dramatically increase the digital divide. Poor youth only gain access to these sites through libraries and schools(1). With this ban, poor youth will have no access to the cultural artifacts of their day. Furthermore, because libraries won’t be able to maintain separate 18+ and minor computers, this legislation will affect everyone who uses libraries, including adults (2).
This legislation is horrifying and culturally damaging. Please, all of you invested in social technologies, do something to make this stop.
This was one woman’s thoughts while at BloGher:
And so while I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people showed up for the edublogging session, and how they really wanted to talk about all kinds of Web 2.0 and learning topics (and how challenging so many of them felt sifting through the Web to find helpful sites on pedagogy and technology integration, on places for teachers to gather) I was dismayed by the lack of substantive talk about what’s going on with the Internet and kids. And in fact there were very very very few teens in attendance. And teens of color?
Maybe I just felt uneasy in a crowd of women who were basically having a ball blogging and meeting other women who blog and whose lives have changed through finding this means of expression. Maybe I’m too wrapped up in the future, on trying to reform education. Maybe I should have sat down with a couple of Yahootinis and stopped thinking about DOPA. But I can’t…it’s too big…
(Found Congressman Inslee’s remaks from 7/26/06 via http://thomas.loc.gov)
Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, I hate to spoil this garden party, but this is not, in truth, suburban legislation, it is substandard legislation. And the reason for that is that it is, in effect, a good press release, but it is not effective legislation addressing a huge problem threatening our children.
The reason I say that is, after sitting through many hearings in the Commerce Committee about this enormous problem, I reached one conclusion. After listening to those thousands of children who are being abused on these horrendous occasions across this country, I concluded that this legislation would not save one single child one single time.
What we learned is that the problem is not in our schools. These kids are not hanging in the library with these sexual predators. They are hanging around in their dens, in their basements, in their living rooms, and in their upstairs bedrooms. That is where we have to get to the problem.
If you look at the problem here on this chart, only 10 percent of the abused kids are online and hardly any of them from schools. A tiny, tiny, infinitesimal portion. This will not solve the problem.
Now, there are things we can do, but, unfortunately, this legislation doesn’t do a single one of them. I used to prosecute cases, so I know a little bit about law enforcement. I raised three kids, so I know a little bit about the terror of worrying about your children. But what this legislation does not do is the three things we need to do.
Number one, we have to give resources to law enforcement to prosecute these horrendous monsters. We had detective after detective come to our hearings and say, give us some money; we can prosecute these people. This doesn’t give them a penny.
Number two, we need to protect the data. What the detectives told us is that this data, once it disappears, they can’t find the culprits. Now we could require the data to be maintained for a year or two, like we are trying to do. This bill doesn’t do that.
Third, what this bill could do is provide some real meaningful tools for our schools to educate our children on how to avoid these monsters on the Internet. This doesn’t do that.
The three effective things that we could do to really save our kids is not done in this legislation.
Now, why is this such a pathetic wave at trying to do something? Why has Congress failed so miserably here? There is a reason for that. The reason is we want press releases, without having to do the hard work to do legislation. That is why we didn’t go through the Commerce Committee to have a markup on this bill so they could rush this thing to the floor and have their suburban agenda.
Well, speaking as a parent who represents 650,000 people, and probably 200,000 parents in suburbia, I think suburban parents, urban parents, rural parents, big-city parents and little-city parents deserve real legislation to stomp out the monstrosity that is going on on the Internet and not these little press releases. We can’t go home and just say that we are heroes without having really done something.
When I go home, I am going to tell my constituents that, yes, maybe there are some headlines, but there wasn’t real relief. And I look forward to the day when this Congress gets down to the nitty-gritty and really does something about this terrible problem.