...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Anti-Internet Commerce Committee Nonsense: This Time it's the House

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick's (R-PA 8, Bucks County) "MySpace Bill," or the "Deleting Online Predators Act," was, according to MyDD, "smacked down" in the House Commerce Committee yesterday. The bill seeks to block access to "Commercial Social Networking Websites" (CNSWs) such as MySpace and Facebook on public computers, issue an FTC consumer alert and establish a site warning parents of the dangers of CNSWs, and form a new, independent FCC advisory panel on CNSWs. Though the intent of the bill is good, the bill is vague to the point "where it could block all content on the internet," and according to Fitzpatrick's Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, "doesn't go far enough" to safeguard kids against internet predators.

The bill (HR 5319 IH) defines a CNSW to be "a commercially operated internet website that 1) allows users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users; and 2) offers a mechanism for communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room (which is also defined in the bill), e-mail, or instant messenger." Sites like Yahoo, MSN, Google, Wikipedia, blogs, and other critical websites for internet communication and even scholarly research, would be lumped into the category of CNSW and blocked on all public computers.

A committee of internet experts "smacked down" the legislation in committee:

Ted Davis, IT director of Fairfax County public schools in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia, said the bill would "not protect students and would place an added burden on schools."

Beth Yoke of the American Library Association likened the legislation to "trying to curb teenage car accidents by banning teens from the road," according to the Bucks County Courier Times.

Patty Aftab of WiredSafety.org said, "We would be turning off, effectively, the entire internet with this."

4 other committee members, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, had similar observations of the bill.

The reaction of Democrats on the committee was similar. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA 1, Kirkland, Bothell; King, South Snohomish, Kitsap Counties), who represents the district that houses software and internet giant Microsoft, said, "We do have prank calls, but we haven't outlawed the phone system."

Chris Bowers of MyDD commented, "I like our [chances] to stop this bill after the hearing." Here's hoping. Unfortunately, Daily Kos reports that the race for PA-08 is "leaning GOP."

More Information:

Fitzpatrick's MySpace Bill Stirs Debate - Bucks County Courier Times
PA-8: Anti-MySpace Bill Gets Smacked Down in Committee - MyDD

Update: "The Murphy Plan for Online Protection," courtesy of MyDD.


Blogger progressyouth said...

Hyperlink deleted to MySpace, Reason: Owned by Murdoch. I encourage all of you who use MySpace to close your account and switch to Facebook.

6:27 PM


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