The anti-free speech zealots lose again

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by MisterMark, Jun 29, 2004.

  1. MisterMark

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    Another 5-4 decision. And another reason to make sure that Bush loses in November.

    http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...tus_online_porn

    WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a law meant to punish pornographers who peddle dirty pictures to Web-surfing kids is probably an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech.

    The high court divided 5-to-4 over a law passed in 1998, signed by then-President Clinton (news - web sites) and now backed by the Bush administration. The majority said a lower court was correct to block the law from taking effect because it likely violates the First Amendment.

    The court did not end the long fight over the law, however. The majority sent the case back to a lower court for a trial that could give the government a chance to prove the law does not go too far.

    The majority, led by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, said there may have been important technological advances in the five years since a federal judge blocked the law.

    Holding a new trial will allow discussion of what technology, if any, might allow adults to see and buy material that is legal for them while keeping that material out of the hands of children.

    Justices John Paul Stevens (news - web sites), David H. Souter, Clarence Thomas (news - web sites) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (news - web sites) agreed with Kennedy.

    The American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) and other critics of the antipornography law said that it would restrict far too much material that adults may legally see and buy, the court said.

    The law, which never took effect, would have authorized fines up to $50,000 for the crime of placing material that is "harmful to minors" within the easy reach of children on the Internet (news - web sites).

    The law also would have required adults to use access codes and or other ways of registering before they could see objectionable material online.

    For now, the law, known as the Child Online Protection Act, would sweep with too broad a brush, Kennedy wrote.

    "There is a potential for extraordinary harm and a serious chill upon protected speech" if the law took effect, he wrote.

    Kennedy said that filtering software "is not a perfect solution to the problem of children gaining access to harmful-to-minors materials."

    He said that so far, the government has failed to prove that other technologies would work better.
     
  2. Imported

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    BRMSTN69: while the people who run "adult" sites should make some efforts to prevent children from visiting thier sites, the bulk of the responsibility belongs to the parents who should be involved in thier childs lives enough to know what thier kids are doing on the net, and while not every parent is able to get that involved there are plenty of programs available to prevent access to undesired materials.
     
  3. MisterMark

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    One of the major problems with that law was that it would prohibit access to websites that contain material that is "harmful to minors". Obviously, that's hard to define. I know that most people believe that sexually explicit images are "harmful to minors" (I don't), but it could also include information about STDs, gay chat rooms for teens, etc. Some would consider the LPSG to be "harmful to minors" as well, even without the photo gallery.
     
  4. Imported

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    BRMSTN69: yeah, and then it trickles down to planed parenthood, giving condoms to teens, sex ed, yada, yada, yada. When are people going to learn that if we don't teach these kids ourselves, there going to learn from the wrong people. We are so uptight about sex we wind up hurting our young ones by not telling them the facts.
     
  5. Synergistic

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    I completely agree with this decision.

    If parents don't care enough to learn to use the technology to prevent thier kids from seeing pornography on the internet, then they don't have a right to complain. It is not the government's job to babysit thier citizens.
     
  6. jonb

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    Ultimately, though I don't agree with pornography, I can go through the different types of sites:

    HTTP: These are the easiest to block. Usually the easiest way to block HTTP porn is to block the various codes for pop-ups. Also watch out for pages which are laden with images and links to video files. (This includes both HTML and Java links.)
    FTP: A good rule of thumb is to block all FTP sites if you don't want your kids getting into trouble. Most FTP sites are pirates anyway.
    Mail and news: Killfiles are pretty easy to set up. Learn how to set up one on your mailer/newsreader. This'll also cut down on spam.
    IM: This is probably the hardest to watch. My best advice is to just not have an instant messager; I only know how to killfile by name on instant messagers, and I don't think there's another way. Anyway, IM addicts would get around killfiles by words; that whole l33tsp33k thing.
     
  7. Imported

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    Javierdude22:
    The law has defined that already, and is thus not very hard to define. Any sexually explicit pictures on a website that minors can access (much like the avatars at LPSG) are against the law. Mark, why do you think pornography is not harmfull to minors? I think there are about 5,000 psychological laws and real life cases which might say different.

    I find all of this bull and then some. I could care less if pornographers can earn a buck or two more over the protection of children. BRMSTN, you say they are gonna learn it from the wrong people if parents don't. That is exactly the purpose of this law in question. Protecting children who don't have very strict parents, or parents that simply cannot check up on their kids every minute of the day. The 'wrong' people are exactly the ones that roam pornographic websites. I am not saying that people visiting or watching porn are by definition wrong as I've done it myself just as well, but I'm pretty sure the density of 'freaky' people with bad intentions are more prevalent on adult chat rooms and websites, than anywhere else. The internet is the perfect place to fake a personality and get kids confused.

    I am also pretty sure kids who want information, as in letters forming a comprehensive sentence on a particular topic, can find that on a lot, a lot of websites without pornographic material.

    They should install the technology to protect kids, and if they can't...pass the law and change it back when the technology is there.
     
  8. MisterMark

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    I just don't agree with you, Javier. I challenge to you explain why a photo of a penis is going to "harm" someone under 18 years old.

    At this time, there is no way to prove that anyone on the internet is under 18 or over 18. Some have suggested that credit card authorizations be required for access to any "explicit" website. But as was argued in the Supreme Court's case, "explicit" is a relative term. Also, credit cards are not proof that an individual is an adult.

    I certainly saw sexually-graphic magazines when I was a kid. Millions of other kids have as well. Was I harmed by that? No, if anything, it was an introduction to the fascinating world of sexuality. I have no regrets about seeing those pictures when I was 10 or 11 years old. I would imagine that the majority of kids who see a picture of a penis or of two adult having sex are not harmed by it.

    Javier, were you harmed by sexually-graphic photos when you were under 18 years old? If so, I hope you found a good therapist to help you sort it all out.
     
  9. jonb

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    Well, the funny thing about the penis one is: It's only a photo of a white penis or breast which will harm a kid. Anything darker's just fine. Just look at National Geographic.

    Well, at least that's what I thought the rules were, then Janet's tit got shown. Maybe it includes if you have any white relatives in your immediate family . . .
     
  10. MisterMark

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    :lol: So true. Good point, jonb.
     
  11. Imported

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    Javierdude22: Kids minds should be thinking about if they wanna play cops-and-robbers or hide and seek, not ask mommy why someone is sticking a gaping anus in the air on a particular picture. Thats really all I can say in defense of these kids. Im not a psychologist, if I was I am sure I could point out many harmfull things which are expressed in puberty.

    I do know a few cases where 13 year old kids saw some highly x-rated stuff and decided to try that on a particular girl. They forgot to ask the girls opinion though and figured 'no' really meant 'yes'. This is in part the same discussion if seeing violence on t.v. induces violence in kids. I think it does and I thin k psychology does as well. Sex however isnt by definition wrong as would be voilence, but kids do have trouble understanding different contexts, hints, and simple words during a particular act. That is why we call them adolescent, they cannot be held accountable for not distinguishing completely right and wrong, and thus should be protected by law so it will be distinguished fór them.

    I was not particularly harmed by seeing hardcore porn, or pornographic pictures when I was in my teens. Note: when in my teens. Who is to say a 9 year old won't acces the sites, chatrooms etc. I am pretty sure they would be 'learning' way ahead of their time.

    About the authorization: Never can sites be protected perfectly and thus also not by creditcards. Your house can never be made burgle proof 100% either. Does that mean that because you can never be certain you won't be burgled anyways with all the locks, that you leave your door wide open? No. So I do think that creditcards are the best possible way right now to protect the kids, and I say lets do it.
     
  12. MisterMark

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    Thank you for your concern, Javier, however, I'm happy with the format as it is now. I've tried restricting access in the past, and it just didn't feel right to me. For now, I have to trust my gut on this.

    Oh, and if you see any "gaping anuses" here, let me know. This is the Large Penis Support Group, not the Large Anus Support Group. (hmm...now there's an idea for a new site!) ;)
     
  13. Imported

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    Javierdude22: I wasnt talking especially about LPSG, since in my very personal opinion on this topic it is on the border. I'll PM you the name.
     
  14. jonb

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    Gaping anuses? That reminds me of this one guy on a newsgroup I subscribe to who for some reason posted about his 13" asshole. And yet he claims to be straight.
     
  15. MisterMark

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    I just read that the law would have restricted words as well as images. Again, I'm happy that it was struck down. :)
     
  16. mindseye

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    I take exception to this. The overwhelming majority of FTP traffic is legitimate; "most FTP sites" are not open to the public and are dedicated to a specific purpose.

    Pirate sites -- though widely advertised -- don't constitute "most" of what's out there on FTP. They just attract more attention and scrutiny.
     
  17. jonb

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    Yanno, one of the guys from Monty Python wrote a song about restricting certain words:

    Fuck you very much, the FCC
    Fuck you very much for fining me
    Five hundred bucks a fuck
    So I guess I'm out of luck
    That's more than Heidi Fleiss was charging me

    It goes on like that. He also says Cheney's pacemaker's a fake, he hasn't got a heart. And Condileeza's just an intellectual tart.
     
  18. jonb

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    I take exception to this. The overwhelming majority of FTP traffic is legitimate; "most FTP sites" are not open to the public and are dedicated to a specific purpose.

    Pirate sites -- though widely advertised -- don't constitute "most" of what's out there on FTP. They just attract more attention and scrutiny. [/b][/quote]
    Okay, then, mindseye: Most FTP sites kids will go to are pirate sites. (Personally, I want the RIAA to catch a paraplegic downloading music some time. That'll really fuck them.)
     
  19. madame_zora

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    I can't for the life of me see how a picture of nude body parts would harm anyone, regardless of age. We can't really be insinuating that nudity is foul here, can we?
    All's I know is, glad my tits are brown, can't hurt anyone!
     
  20. Imported

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    XXLHS: I have worked in Technology for a while... ISP in particular...

    I don't know why people don't do some simple things that would make everyone work well together.

    fist off, URLs work off the .com, .org, .edu, .net... etc. I suggested to several people and even to the WWW - impliment a .xxx for adult content... just like .com is supposed to be for commerical, .org was for organizations, and so on... pass regulations that say adult material has to be placed under the .xxx suffix - filters could then filter all .xxx from minors without issue... it would work and work well... so has anyone at the WWW or anywhere else done it... NO.

    The real issue is not about access or flitering... its about the elimination of material and the groups that want to control what people access. If it were about minors v. adults it would be easy to do, but really what the issue is - is using the issue to shut off the access by making it illegal and punished under law... not about allowing it to be in an appropriate area, and not in others.

    HS
     
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