Saturday, April 22, 2006

Gonzales calls for mandatory Web labeling law

CNET News reported Web site operators posting sexually explicit information must place official government warning labels on their pages or risk being imprisoned for up to five years, the Bush administration proposed Thursday.

I hope the label is in the form of a meta tag, rather than just a banner display, so that browsers can be set to not display any of the page.
A mandatory rating system will "prevent people from inadvertently stumbling across pornographic images on the Internet," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at an event in Alexandria, Va. The Bush administration's proposal would require commercial Web sites to place "marks and notices" to be devised by the Federal Trade Commission on each sexually explicit page.
Fine, just put them in the metatag area.
The definition of sexually explicit broadly covers depictions of everything from sexual intercourse and masturbation to "sadistic abuse" and close-ups of fully clothed genital regions.
I would be satisfied if the coding for that content clearly indicated what was on the page. Browsers could be set to not display it for minors, and yet speciality search engines could spider the net and provide links directly to those pages for adults interested in that sort of thing.
"I hope that Congress will take up this legislation promptly," said Gonzales, who gave a speech about child exploitation and the Internet to the federally funded National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The proposed law is called the Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006.

A second new crime would threaten with imprisonment Web site operators who mislead visitors about sex with deceptive "words or digital images" in their source code--for instance, a site that might pop up in searches for Barbie dolls or Teletubbies but actually features sexually explicit photographs.
I hope the term of imprisonment is very long.
A third new crime appears to require that commercial Web sites not post sexually explicit material on their home page if it can be seen "absent any further actions by the viewer."
Not sure exactly what that means, so I dont know whether I support that or not.
A critic of the proposal said that its requirements amount to an unreasonable imposition on Americans' rights to free expression.
Not at all. The first amendment is supposed to make sure that things like political speech cannot be restricted so that adults can hear all sides. It does not say that you have a right to let children see everything that an adult can see.
In particular, a mandatory rating system backed by criminal penalties is "antithetical to the First Amendment," said Marv Johnson, legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union.

No comments: