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Bill Would Extend Online Obscenity Laws to Blogs, Mailing Lists 443

Erris writes "Senator John McCain has proposed a bill to extend federal obscenity reporting guidelines to all forms of internet communications. Those who fail to report according to guidelines could face fines of up to $300,000 for unreported posts to a blog or mailing list. The EFF was quick to slam the proposal, saying that this was the very definition of 'slippery slope', and citing the idea of 'personal common carrier'." From the article: "These types of individuals or businesses would be required to file reports: any Web site with a message board; any chat room; any social-networking site; any e-mail service; any instant-messaging service; any Internet content hosting service; any domain name registration service; any Internet search service; any electronic communication service; and any image or video-sharing service."
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Bill Would Extend Online Obscenity Laws to Blogs, Mailing Lists

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  • by TheGreek ( 2403 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:16AM (#17207140)
    Why, I think you're right! It's the 2008 Panderfest beginning!
    • by kaufmanmoore ( 930593 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:23AM (#17207242)
      Yep, he realized from 2000 that he's gotta move to the right in order to win the nomination. Its sad that more centrist politicians have to move to the left or the right to get the nomination and big money for their respective party's nomination
      • hahaha (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:01AM (#17207826)
        Lincoln Chafee was on The Daily Show last night claiming that primaries encouraged both parties towards the extremes, but I have yet to see any evidence that this is true for the Democrats. Okay, there was Ned Lamont. That was an extreme case, and he still lost, and Lamont never ran as more liberal than Joe. Clinton was a centrist. Gore ran as a centrist. In one of the most liberal states in the country, Hillary Clinton is a social conservative who doesn't even support withdrawal from Iraq. Could someone name some of Kerry's liberal positions in 2004?

        The GOP panders to their base, and fulfills many of their promises. The Democrats, much to the chagrin of lefties like me, do no such thing. If you don't even support gay marriage, you can go fuck yourself as far as liberal street cred goes. Eliot Spitzer is one of the few notable politicians that does. Only now is universal health care finally taking hold as a mainstream Democratic idea.

        So again, I'd ask for any examples of politicians that have moved to the left to get a nomination. Oh, and in case you didn't notice, John McCain was never a centrist except for a few pet issues -- he just played one on TV.
        • As a fellow liberal has the situation you just presented ever made you wonder if perhaps far left liberal ideas just have next to no appeal among the majority of Americans? Far right ideas seem to but far left ideas don't. I'm sure if Democrats thought far left positions could win them elections you'd see them stumping for gay marriage and drive thru abortions but they don't seem to be because the public doesn't seem to want it.

          What do you think?
          • I'd say the US is about 20% far right, about 40% center right, about 10% centrist, 30-35% center left, and about 5% far left. So when Democrats hit their extreme it's probably only to a center left extreme (probably to the right of both of you). However, don't think that the right really gets more of their primary campaign promises done much more than the left (they typically get a few but most of them are symbolic more than anything).
          • Re:hahaha (Score:5, Informative)

            by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:21AM (#17208122)
            Browse through PollingReport [pollingreport.com] some time.
            • 53-39 pro-choice
            • about 60% for universal health care (and years ago)
            • 50-37 for stem cell research
            • 57-35 favor the environment over economic growth
            • 54% favor stricter gun control laws
            • 49-43 favor affirmative action
            • 56-39 are against privatization of Social Security (various questions, same overall picture)
            • 60% favor withdrawal from Iraq in six months

            Tell me again how the public loves far-right ideas? On issues without broad public support, it's our responsibility to lead social change. The Dems don't pander to the base. They're to the right of the fucking majority of Americans on many issues!
            • Re:hahaha (Score:4, Informative)

              by syphax ( 189065 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:47AM (#17208614) Journal
              To their credit, Polling Report [pollingreport.com] actually shows the full text of the polls. Because the reality is that I could conduct a poll that turned any of the numbers you cited upside down. It's all in the wording and the details ("Do you think it's OK for people to savagely club furry baby seals?" vs. "Should the government interfere with indigenous peoples' traditional family-oriented hunter-gatherer lifestyle?"). That's a lame one but you get the idea.

              That's not to say that polls and surveys are useless, just that our media's interpretation and reporting of them usually is. Proper interpretation requires precision, and our MSM is not equipped to deal with that. And that pisses me off. The MSM may or may not be biased left or right, but what's far worse is that they tend to be biased toward vapidity and bad logic.
            • by Marnhinn ( 310256 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:14PM (#17210152) Homepage Journal
              ...what the elected officials believe.

              Most elected officials already have a set philosphy in place when they are elected. Unless something drastic happens, their views won't change.

              However, it's more of the public's fault since we elect these people to represent us in the first place. So if your poll is true... American's are some of the worst voters out there.
            • Re:hahaha (Score:4, Interesting)

              by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @02:42PM (#17211474) Homepage Journal
              Well, the problem the Democrats have had for years is that the public agrees with their ideas, but doesn't like them. Ever wonder why Republican politics is so personal, why they can't just say they disagree with an opponent's proposals, but have to paint him as evil (Clinton) or what is more effective, ridiculous (Gore) or unpatriotic (Kerry)?

              Simple. It works.

              If the other guy wants a background check when somebody buys a gun you don't want people to think about how or whether this might be done to minimize the impact on gun owners' rights. You want them to feel that your opponent is a stupid evil, stupid traitor wants to take your guns away.

              Obsencity is a topic in which this kind of Manichean "thinking" is on both sides. Everybody is getting worked up, preparing to battle Evil. In reality, it's a tempest in a teapot no matter which way things go. According to the Miller test, and obscene work must depict sexual acts in a way that is both patently offensive AND has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific merit. The vast majority of blogs have nothing to do with obscenity, and those that do could be argued as engaging in reasonably serious critique, even if the works in question have titles like Backdoor Teenage Cheerleader Virgins IX.

              Now, personally I think there is a ninth amendment right to enjoy offensively obscene material that has no redeeming value other than the pleasure it gives you. I also think you have a right to shoot targets on your property during normal waking hours, and screw the militia. To hell with redeeming social value: private pleasures shouldn't have to be justified by serving a public purpose.

              So long as that obscene material is not delivered in a way that is intrusive, I don't think there is Constitutional authorization to restrict it. If it is possible to use your email account or web search without having to wade through a pile of obscenity, if parents have the means to regulate their dependents' use of such materials (whether they should is nobody else's business), in short if obscene materials do not intrude on those who does not seek them out, then you cannot restrict these materials because they create revulsion in some or even most people. What is left is a paternalistic state interest in the development of private character. Some believe this is a high public purpose, like protecting troop movements in a time of war, or protecting the individual's right of privacy.

              But even if a paternalistic concern for public morality is a legitimate public interest, I think prohibition has been shown sufficiently ineffective that it must be considered overbroad. Historically the weight of decency laws often fell on meritorious, but controversial works with little or no effect on the availability of obscenity. I've never heard of a place or age where obscenity was easy to produce yet hard to obtain, but you shouldn't have to patronize a shabby peddler of raunchy contraband if you want to read Huckleberry Finn.

              In any case virtue -- as those who have read St. Augustine are aware -- is about choosing the greater good over the lesser. A public interest in virtue is best served by fostering the availability of good choices, not the ineffective prohibition of bad ones, which is mere posturing. Ken Burns' Civil War has done more to elevate the public character than all the public decency laws combined ever have.

              But, having argued that obscenity laws are ineffctive and positively harmful to non-obscene expression, I don't think those who enjoy obscenity for its own sake have much to worry about. The bluenoses are not evil people who are going to take your porn away. They're misguided folks who at most will end up making you go through the motions of taking a dose of artistic merit along with your porn. You'll just learn to adjust. Possibly, that's why God created the fast forward button.

              It's people who are actually interested in sex related that have merit, particularly political merit, who should be worried.

        • Re:hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

          by operagost ( 62405 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:23AM (#17208144) Homepage Journal
          You may have more success with the gay marriage thing if you stop insisting on calling it marriage. If you want to simply cause the state to recognize this unions in the same manner as unions between heterosexuals, you will probably win over a lot more people. Marriage is a religious institution and the state has no business being involved. Marriage licenses should be abolished except for those who wish to be married in a civil ceremony. An unfortunate consequence for your cause-- if you wish to prove that you are truly interested in equality and not just an agenda-- is that any two (or more!) people who live together will be claiming social partnership benefits.

          Only now is universal health care finally taking hold as a mainstream Democratic idea.
          Maybe it's because most Americans are waiting for another country to implement a system that actually works. Government is notoriously inefficient compared to private enterprise in most endeavors, and their influence should be limited to systems that serve the common good better than free enterprise. A national highway system is far superior to private toll roads, for example.
          • Re:hahaha (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @12:26PM (#17209326) Homepage Journal
            Marriage is a religious institution and the state has no business being involved.

            Marriage was around long before any of the major religions of today (Islam, Christianity) and served as a political bond joining property and fortune well before Christ, Mohammed, or Zeus. Religion may want to co-opt marriage (and I can certainly understand why, it's a control mechanism similar to, and related to, sexual control) but history doesn't support the claim that marriage is religious.

            As for the government's interest, this is relatively natural: When you join in property, medical and fiscal responsibility, residence, and income, only a perfect government would be able to keep its hot little hands out of the pot. And hoo boy, is our government not perfect!

            Religion's no better. As soon as sexuality and joining come into it, next thing you know there is some person trying to tell you exactly how you should be managing your affairs. One wife, not two. Opposite sex partners only. This age disparity, and no more. This color, and not that. This religion, and not another. History supports a much wider set of joinings, and for very good reason -- they're perfectly natural.

            So to your idea of religion having all there is to say about marriage, I say, "take off, eh?" Marriage should be what the partners (2...n) say it is, and the rest of us should respect that. It should not be subject to Christian or Muslim or even ancient Greek sensibilities. When people want to join together and seek their fortune and lives together the rest of us have only one job: Get the heck out of the way.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nten ( 709128 )
      The question to ask is who is this man's constituency? I thought I was, but I guess I was mistaken. I think that ditching a candidate because he disagrees with you on a single issue, combined with a plurality voting system is the cause of many of our nation's ills, but freedom of speech is kind of an important one...
      • Oh come on, he just wants a giant federally collected gallery of kiddie porn that he can get printed as a montage onto his pink anal dildo. Seriously folks, this is just the first step. It just opens up a door to legitimize even more spying on us. It should be blatantly obvious to all that our government has quit serving us and is now in the process of enslaving us.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bymiller ( 978335 ) *
      Yes, let's be sure to tell him what we think of that: http://mccain.senate.gov//contact/index.cfm?ID=64/ [senate.gov]
      • by TheGreek ( 2403 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:49AM (#17207664)
        Yes, let's be sure to tell him what we think of that: http://mccain.senate.gov//contact/index.cfm?ID=64/ [senate.gov]
        Sending feedback to his Senate Office is less than worthless unless you're a resident of Arizona. If you're not, his staff will likely follow the custom of forwarding your correspondence to your state's Senators.

        You're really better off writing your senators about the measure yourself.
      • More to the point:

        Sen. John McCain
        United States Senate
        241 Russell Senate Ofc. Bldg.
        Washington, DC 20510

        1 SnailMail letter == 10 phone calls == 100 emails

        Paper mail means that The Folks Back Home are REALLY upset about something. It is EASY to dash off an email. It takes a little more work to make a phone call. You actually have to WORK to type (or write longhand) a letter, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and drop it in the mailbox.
        • by TheGreek ( 2403 )
          You actually have to WORK to type (or write longhand) a letter, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and drop it in the mailbox.
          And then wait six weeks for it to get processed to make sure it doesn't have anthrax.

          Even a FedEx overnight envelope is not guaranteed to reach the office of a Member of Congress the day after it's sent.
    • I prefer Warren Ellis' name for it: Snakepit 2008 [warrenellis.com]
    • I'd have had a hard time choosing between him and Hillary before, but with him going out of his way to stick his nose up the ass of the religious right after attacking them previously I'd say he's more wishy-washy than Kerry was. Thanks John, you've shown your true colors and lost my vote.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:17AM (#17207150)
    You know, back when he was first running for President--with his candor, his willingness to take on members of his own party, his "straight talk express" relationship with the public and the press--I had a lot of repsect for this guy. I was a Democrat and even *I* would have voted for him if he had won the primary.

    But in the years since, he has squandered it all. He has sucked up to the very President who had slurred him viciously here in South Carolina. He has cow-towed to the religious right. He has supported a war that he knew damn well was a bad move, for his own political ends. And, most telling of all, he caved-in on the one issue that I would have NEVER thought that he (of all people) would have caved on--torture of detainees.

    So this move doesn't really surpsise me. He has become a political whore, nothing more. He's not even worthy of spitting on anymore, much less voting for.


    • by PingSpike ( 947548 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:23AM (#17207246)
      Exactly what I was going to say. I was really hoping he won the primaries back in 2000 because I was really excited about him as a canidate. But now he just disgusts me.

      Between this and his flag burning its clear he's just another tool without any conviction at all. And between this and the flag burning amendment he's becoming quite the opponent of freedom of speech. And thats a position that I just plain can't ever get behind.
    • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:36AM (#17207452)
      He has cow-towed to the religious right.

      I think you mean Kowtow, not cow-tow... nothing to do with towing cows at all... see here. [wsu.edu] Kowtowing is making a grand abasement to a superior officer... [wikipedia.org] prostrating yourself touching your forehead to the ground

    • Seriously, I'm even willing to vote for Hillary Clinton over this guy now, and that's saying something. Too bad the "Anyone But McCain" campaign is unlikely to do any better than the "Anyone But Bush" one did.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:48AM (#17207628)
        McCain vs. Hillary would be a true clash of the titan political whores. I think I would just commit Seppuku if I was forced to choose between them.

        I would rather vote for a dog. At least I could pet the dog.


      • did you not see the results from the election in November. The "anyone but Bush" campaign that was run was very successful even though it wasn't aimed at another presidential candidate. Here in Virginia it was insane how much campaining was done on the basis of "don't vote for Steele or Allen because they like Bush." And in both cases it worked. However, I don't think there is wide spread hatred for McCain.
      • by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:23AM (#17208158) Homepage Journal
        The "Anyone But Bush" campaign was a *huge* mistake. It led directly to Kerry's nomination when there were *far* better candidates in the running. The only reason he was nominated was because of that floating question: "who can beat Bush?" The answer was along the lines of the following: "Why, Kerry is a war hero! He must be able to beat those warmongering Bushites! They like war, Kerry was in one... it's a sure thing!"

        When will Democrats stop trying to play on the Republican's field? GET THE HOME COURT ADVANTAGE, FOLKS! Run on your issues, make them *your* issues. Stop trying to look like a Republican.
    • by griffjon ( 14945 )
      The really sad part is, had he stuck with it, the Right would have struck him down, and he would have become more powerful than they could have imagined.

      He could have been an Independent candidate, adopted by the mostly-centrist Democrats, or brought back in to the GOP fold once they finish self-destructing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wiggles ( 30088 )

      I was a Democrat and even *I* would have voted for him if he had won the primary

      Which is exactly why he lost the primary. Democrats liked him way too much for right-wing tastes.

      That, and Karl Rove...

      But, now that the center is moving leftward, I think McCain has a much better shot at winning the white house in '08. For you democrats, even if you lose in '08, you win. The centrist republicans (like me) also win with him. The only losers will be the neocons and the far right, and it's about time.

    • I dont think he was ever this golden child you describe. If you view his voting record (check out the aclu's site) you'll see he votes 100% straight GOP/social conservative almost all the time. The 'moderate' 'straight-talk' stuff is just PR. Don't feel bad, lots of people fell for it. Personally I think he's a poor politician but a great SNL/Daily Show guest.
    • To spend over 5 years at the Hanoi Hilton [wikipedia.org] is a terrible thing. Champianing corrosive values from religious hate mongers [wikinews.org] shows a certain lack of depth of our global reach; And, it is way to close minded for me. I do not know what would cause the honorable senator [wikipedia.org] to trample on the First Amendment Right [wikipedia.org] of everyone, but I resent it. A Real Republican is for LESS government, not more government. I was ready to vote for this guy in the California Presidential Primary, now I wonder.

      "Hate Is NOT A Good Family
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Pinkfud ( 781828 )
      I live in Arizona, and I've come to believe McCain is a national disaster. Can you imagine what this bill would mean to the WikiMedia Projects, with all the vandalism they get? It would break them just to file the reports! Nonsense of the highest order.
  • by EvilCabbage ( 589836 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:18AM (#17207160) Homepage
    Well, holy titty fucking christ.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by repvik ( 96666 )
      Alternatively shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits

      (Although neither George Carlin nor I understand why "tits" is there)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EvilCabbage ( 589836 )
        Fuck, wish I'd thought of that one :(

        Seriously though, this kind of thing scares the hell out of me. I think that things like the "barely legal" scene and other pornography that depicts or 'disguises' older women as teenagers is pretty fucking pathetic, but that just means I don't engage in it, doesn't mean I'm going to go out and "ruin" it for anybody else. Nobody is hurt by it and it sure as shit isn't my place to decide what consenting adults can look at or even produce.

        If anybody can explain to me
      • SCO, Novell, Microsoft! Beat dis, you sissy! ;)
    • Stone cold fuck nuts.

      Lew saw this coming.
  • I have a few lists, and one of them is quite large (3000+ subscribers) and extremely technical. It's also hosted by Yahoo, who would necessarily have an interest in keeping themselves out of trouble. All it would take is one message from one dope to fly across "unreported" to end seven years of free technical support to the planet Earth.

    Nice job, McCain. This will help, big time. and by help, I mean help me decide who else I'm voting for in 2008.


    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Which raises a new question. How long before trolls with throwaway emails spam lists or websites with illegal images (or even links to them), forcing the poor webmaster/admin to file a report every day. 5 minutes of the troll's time = 50 minutes of the admin's time. It wouldn't take more than 2-3 trolls to kill a list or site.
      • On the other hand, if a few million site owners run a program designed to flood that system with thousand bogus reports each day, it won't go anywhere.
  • by Bob Gelumph ( 715872 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:22AM (#17207226)
    There is no fucking obscenity on message boards.
    What kind of cunts out there think there's fucking obscenity on the net?
    What a bunch of donkey-raping shit-eaters!
    What the fuck is the matter with the U.S. government's retarded-puppy-raping legislators?
    Obscenity on the internet... Sometimes, I tell you... Jesus baby-fucking Christ that's preposterous...
  • Wtf (Score:3, Informative)

    by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:25AM (#17207284) Journal

    From TFA:

    The other section of McCain's legislation targets convicted sex offenders. It would create a federal registry of "any e-mail address, instant-message address, or other similar Internet identifier" they use, and punish sex offenders with up to 10 years in prison if they don't supply it.

    Then, any social-networking site must take "effective measures" to remove any Web page that's "associated" with a sex offender.

    Eh? Say what you will about sex offenders, but isn't this a little too much?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It boils down to "sex offenders can't have a myspace/facebook account. Of course, when you realize that other sites have profiles (like any forum I've seen), that could have a bit of a ripple effect.

      I'm far from pro-sex-offender, but I think we have a problem when we're putting streakers and 18-year-olds hooking up with 17-year-olds in the same category as child molesters and rapists. You can't get away with the same restrictions on minor sex offenders as you could on major ones, in my opinion. I can se
      • Re:Wtf (Score:5, Insightful)

        by danpsmith ( 922127 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:03AM (#17207852)
        I can see "If you're a rapist, then no MySpace", but I can't see "no Facebook for dumb drunks who streak in the dead of night".

        That depends, are these "rapists" free? If you committed a crime and are released from prison, it's my position that you've paid your debt to society. If you haven't, then shouldn't you still be in prison? If we are pushing this once a criminal always a criminal mantra then why even let convicts out of jail in the first place if we are just gonna let the free world become another prison cell, gradually restricting their access to resources.

        Either sentence them for longer, clean up the system, or do something that works. Don't punish them after they've already been punished. It's bad enough that they won't ever be able to vote or get a job better than grocery bagger, you have to start restricting their online rights to save "children" from "potential risks." How about _not_ scaremongering about children and saving our rights instead?

        It's a slippery slope, first, restrict rights for convicts. Then, outlaw things to make everyone a potential convict. Bang...restricted rights. With the way people talk about online piracy, it's only a matter of time before that's criminal, and then after that's criminal maybe restricting the rights of those who have been convicted upon release.

        I hate to be paranoid, but in Philadelphia they've installed security cameras on the streets. It's not long before you pick your nose and it's on the evening news.

        • by jfengel ( 409917 )
          It depends on what you mean by "free". "Under parole" is not really free, and they dramatically restrict your movements. Restricting your online access would be a kind of virtualization of that.

          Sex offenders are generally tracked for a long time out of fear of recidivism, which has a very high rate among sex offenders. Prison as punishment does a lousy job of treating them, and their crimes are more driven by personal issues than murder or theft.

          It's not necessarily useful to keep them in jail forever, not
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Dhalka226 ( 559740 )

            Sex offenders are generally tracked for a long time out of fear of recidivism, which has a very high rate among sex offenders

            Does it? From the Bureau of Justice Statistics [usdoj.gov]:

            • Sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for any offense -- 43 percent of sex offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders.
            • Sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison -- 5.3 percent of sex offender
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gessel ( 310103 ) *
          I like the premise, but I think the metaphor is wrong: there is no actual debt, and in now way does being in prison function as repayment. Aside from other philosophical issues around the meaning of justice, individuals that demonstrate that they are a danger to society must be segregated from society at least until (arguably, only until) they are no longer a danger to society. The idea that someone presents such a danger that they need to be tracked suggests they are too dangerous to be "out." The theor [findarticles.com]
    • What about support sites for sex offenders?

      No, not that! Serious sites.

      A few years ago a local city learned that somebody was planning to establish a group home for sex offenders on parole. The community freaked and demanded a law that unrelated sex offenders couldn't live together.

      The professional (and some sex offenders) said that was a Really Bad Idea since the offenders didn't encourage each other or share tips. They offered support to each other when temptation occurred, the support that only somebo
  • by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:25AM (#17207288) Homepage Journal
    Senator, with all due respect, you can kiss my (_|_).

    And if that's obscenity for you, have your eyes, sorry, your brain checked.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Senator, with all due respect, you can kiss my (_|_).
      You want him to kiss your Bracket-Underscore- Pipe -Underscore-Bracket???

      Now, I don't know about obscene, but this proposal does sound a little kinky to me...

  • by mrjb ( 547783 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:26AM (#17207310)
    ... the less tolerant people get. The less tolerant people get, the more censorship needs to be applied to protect people from 'inappropriate' material.

    Give people their free speech. If you don't like what they say, don't listen, but respect their rights.
  • by faloi ( 738831 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:30AM (#17207358)
    From TFA: "Next year, Gonzales and the FBI are expected to resume their push for mandatory data retention, which will force Internet service providers to keep records on what their customers are doing online. An aide to Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said Friday that she's planning to introduce such legislation when the new Congress convenes."

    So who do we vote for now? Democrats had their fun with censorship in the 80s and 90s, now it's Republicans turn.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:30AM (#17207360) Homepage
    Its over here on the other side of the Atlantic. Our politicians get investigated when they take cash to give a shitty honour and go to prison when they take on the media and lose.

    Remind me why you chaps had the revolution again? There was something in there about Freedom, but its all been lost in the noise.
    • by griffjon ( 14945 )
      Yeah, it's gettin' time for a new one huh?
    • Rather cheeky of a British subject (not citizen) to lecture Americans about freedom.

      Yeah, we've got our problems. That's life. We'll deal with this McCain asshole and his ridiculous proposition.

      Isn't it convienent that you have America to mock so that you can ignore your own problems and pretend your nation is better than ours?

      Do I really need to start a list of all the crap you brits put up with that wouldn't fly over here for a second?
      And if I did, would you just say that's media fear mongering and I don'
    • by aaronl ( 43811 )
      Excuse me, but you don't live in the land of the free by any means. As much as I hate what the governments in the United States have become, we still have a bit further to go until we're as bad as much of Europe. England is one of the worst first-world countries I can think of for restrictions of freedom, with France and Germany not being much better. It doesn't help that most of Europe is socialist, with all of the additional problems *that* brings. Gotta love all the freedom of choice you have when th
  • This is fucking bullshit.
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <{tms} {at} {infamous.net}> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:39AM (#17207494) Homepage

    He wants obscenity reported? Please report to him that the following message was posted:

    (The easily offended should skip the rest of this post.)

    (Last chance to look away...)

    Fuck Senator John McCain. Fuck him up the ass hard with a big thick dildo with built-in violet wand [sexuality.org] until the santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] runs down his legs. Tie him down and fuck him and give him the golden shower he wants and deserves, until he admits his wretchedness, admits what a bootlicker he is, admits that he gets off on being a slave, because he can't handle freedom.

  • This is just a way to regulate satellite radio, since it also simulcasts on the internet. All these guys need to take a break and take a page from Dick Cheney's public vocabulary: "fuck off".
  • this is the other half of the article that is already on the front page... mind you, it probably makes more sense to discuss it as two separate articles
  • by JayBlalock ( 635935 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:43AM (#17207548)
    No more public discussion on American servers on the Internet.

    Seriously, who would risk running a public forum in the face of fines like that? Even major players like Amazon would most likely be forced to take down public comment sections lest something slip through. Slashdot, Fark, Kos, Pandagon, Redstate, LGF, whatever your online bitching kink is, it's going away.

    And suddenly Americans would have to go onto foreign servers just to find a forum to exercise their free speech rights.

    See, here's what REALLY pisses me off. McCain isn't stupid. He's many things (repeating many of which, at this point, could possibly get me jailed), but stupid is not one of them. Either he's offering up this bill with no intention of seeing it passed, or he recognizes the death of free speech on the American internet as an acceptible price to pay for his rise to power.

    Every time I see a bill like this, I grow a little less convinced that there's any way we'll be able to reclaim our government from these assholes.

    • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @01:29PM (#17210394) Homepage Journal

      No more public discussion on American servers on the Internet. Seriously, who would risk running a public forum in the face of fines like that? Even major players like Amazon would most likely be forced to take down public comment sections lest something slip through. Slashdot, Fark, Kos, Pandagon, Redstate, LGF, whatever your online bitching kink is, it's going away.

      The likely scenerio is to force everone into a two or three blanket carriers with the resources to deal with the paper work. All of these bloggers like truthout have been embarrassing to governments used to controlling three or four broadcasters. It won't put a stop to kiddie porn or the other four riders of the infopocalypse but it will make it next to impossible for forums in the world of ends. It is crap like this that will turn the internet into something that resembles webTV more than a flourishing free press.

      Thanks, Zonk, for posting what I think is a very important issue, but I have a big correction to the summary. I made up the bit about "personal common carrier," and did not intentionally attribute it to the EFF. I was unable to find anything outside of the article about their stance on this and why they consider the bill unconstitutional. I'd love to hear more from them, but quoted everything I saw in the journal entry which I submitted [slashdot.org]. The part about "personal common carrier" comes from my own sense of justice, as expressed above, and views on freedom of press.

      The article seems to have been updated, so I'll quote everything from the EFF here.

      "This constitutionally dubious proposal is being made apparently mostly based on fear or political considerations rather than on the facts," said EFF's Bankston. Studies by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show the online sexual solicitation of minors has dropped in the past five years, despite the growth of social-networking services, he said. ... "I am concerned that there is a slippery slope here," said Kevin Bankston, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. "Once you start creating categories of industries that must report suspicious or criminal behavior, when does that stop?"

      Privacy is important and necessary for real free speech, but it's freedom of speech and press that is my primary concern. It's my opinion that recent obscenity laws have were made to crush porn sites through expensive reporting requirements because the authors were unable to directly outlaw what they consider objectionable material. Now that they have accomplished that goal, they are moving on to other content that bothers them. The obvious net result of this proposed law would be to run every forum off the net.

      Others have pointed to my greatest fears: abuse by trolls and extortionists [slashdot.org]. Given the new Air Force mission to dominate cyberspace, various departments of missinformation and other funny business, I can also imagine government employees themselves abusing forums they want to shut down. No slippery slope is required for sites to be shut down this way. If this bill flies, it will be virtually impossible to host a site where people can post images and movies. The bill contains a "negligent failure" clause that's ripe for abuse.

  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <instascreed.gmail@com> on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:45AM (#17207578) Homepage
    Not satisfied with his first assault on our First Amendment rights, he's doing this to undermine the blogosphere. By imposing commercial-style constraints on bloggers, he makes it likely many of them will shut down, reducing the amount of criticism he has to face.

    What a scummy little man.
    • Bingo. Whatever else might be said about his politics (I don't really know, and I don't much care), McCain has come down squarely against freedom of speech.

      Tell me, Senator, what do the words Congress shall make no law mean to you?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Alioth ( 221270 )
      I wish he'd make the word 'blogosphere' illegal. What a horrible marketing buzzword.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Peyna ( 14792 )
      he's doing this to undermine the blogosphere

      And that's a bad thing, because?
  • Actual Bill (Score:5, Informative)

    by Changer2002 ( 577488 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @10:48AM (#17207624)
    While I still think this is a bad idea, the bill is directed towards child pornography, not obscenity in general. Also, according to the bill there would be a duty to report if the administrator obtained actual knowledge that child pornography was posted online. I didn't read the bill over in great detail but I didn't see anything about an affirmative duty to monitor, just report when something is brought to your attention. Still it sets a bad precedent and I'm disappointed in McCain who I've always supported.
    • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2006 @11:56AM (#17208806) Homepage Journal
      A while back, right here on Slashdot, a porn hosting webmaster posted a relevant comment.

      Every now and then, somebody would set up a website on their system and upload kiddy porn.

      He tried being a good citizen and reporting it. Several times. The authorities didn't follow up, they simply made angry threats to arrest him.

      His company now silently deletes kiddy porn sites.

      Playing devil's advocate, though, how is this proposal different from the existing legislation that requires health care providers to report suspected child abuse?
  • ...it is that right wing politicians come up with laws concerning the 'net that are unenforceable and when they are, they hurt the US revenues from the 'net.

    Key question: How the hell do you want to enforce that? Can't post fu.. and suck my ... in an US blog? Zip goes my blog and moves to ... Iceland is fine this time of the year. Or Russia, they also have better things to worry about than fu.. and shi.. in a blog. Of course, I'll dump my money onto the carrier there instead of the one in the US, but who ca
    • Don't count on it. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kadin2048 ( 468275 )
      The 'net is big, it is great and most of all, it's international. And it doesn't matter jack whether the server I blog on is in the US or in Uzbekistan.

      Right up until they build a National Firewall. Which of course, is the only way to keep our children safe. And to keep out the terrorists. And Mexicans.

      When a law doesn't work, the politicians don't just give up and say "well, hey, that was a really dumb idea! Let's never do that again!" No, instead they find a way to make it enforceable. Which is why you al
    • The 'net is big, it is great and most of all, it's international. And it doesn't matter jack whether the server I blog on is in the US or in Uzbekistan.

      This is true, and I thank you for pointing that out. An ISP can be anywhere on the planet. However, I doubt the nice ISPs in Uzbekistan have the kinds of infrastructure required to handle a slashdotting of your blog. I think I can safely say that without looking it up.

      I think it would be fun to setup ISPs in other countries. Sysadmin for hire, inquire wi
  • It will cause a legal [codemonkeyramblings.com] battle similar to the one over whether porn in the browser cache counts as possession. I predict that within a few years of this becoming law, some prosecutor will argue that you are responsible for the content that is moderated down by your spam filters. For those that don't know, in WordPress, Movable Type and probably others, spam is not by default automatically deleted. It's stored in the database with a flag on it that keeps it from being published when a page is sent. Why do I ma
  • So, for the ignorant Europeans here that don't know how much a senator can affect: What's the chance that this thing will get through and actually become law? And would it be just a local one for a state, or for the whole country? (and by extension, the whole Europe since the US seems to like enforcing its laws on other countries as well).
    • mccain is member of US congress, the Senate, so it would effect the whole country as opposed to state congress.
      As for it passing or even getting voted on, not much of a chance, not many Republican would vote for it to far reaching and consider him to be a liberial who says he is a conservative because it is the only way he can keep being elected. Democrates are now in power, and looking for revenge, so are very unlikly to support anything where the sponseror is a Republican. The only way it has a chance
    • And would it be just a local one for a state, or for the whole country?

      Since he's a senator to the national Congress, it'll be a national law. The Federal government doesn't have the manpower to enforce every Federal law, so the level of actual enforcement will probably be up to state and local police. Obscenity has also been deemed by the Supreme Court to be defined by local social mores, so what's obscene in the South isn't necessarily so in NYC. And vice versa.


  • Politicians (and the lawyers who love them) mostly don't really get the total difference between mass media, broadcast like TV, and interactive media, returned on request. They try to regulate by brand name, like "email" or "the Web", but those apps have different kinds of media among their subtypes, with different risks.

    Spam and other unsolicited email (UCE/commercial and otherwise) looks like a good target for regulating content, but instead only its sending should be regulated to enforce consumer choice
  • by bcmm ( 768152 )
    Well, fuck you, John McCain.
  • Oh, fuck! You mean we can't be obscene on the Internet anymore? Fuck that!
  • Gee, Senator, this wouldn't have anything to do with the netroots exposing the Iraq "war" fallacies, or helping the Republican party and you towards the egress last election, would it?
  • Apparently some people want this guy as the next "President of the United States, Leader of the Free World"...


Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson