Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.”     Robert A. Heinlein

July 25, 2007

U.S. Senators To Parents: We Know Better Than You

by Doug Mataconis

Two United States Senators are advocating universal Internet filtering on the ground that parents aren’t capable of protecting their children:

US senators today made a bipartisan call for the universal implementation of filtering and monitoring technologies on the Internet in order to protect children at the end of a Senate hearing for which civil liberties groups were not invited.

Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) both argued that Internet was a dangerous place where parents alone will not be able to protect their children.

“While filtering and monitoring technologies help parents to screen out offensive content and to monitor their child’s online activities, the use of these technologies is far from universal and may not be fool-proof in keeping kids away from adult material,” Sen. Inouye said. “In that context, we must evaluate our current efforts to combat child pornography and consider what further measures may be needed to stop the spread of such illegal material over high-speed broadband connections.”

“Given the increasingly important role of the Internet in education and commerce, it differs from other media like TV and cable because parents cannot prevent their children from using the Internet altogether,” Sen. Stevens said. “The headlines continue to tell us of children who are victimized online. While the issues are difficult, I believe Congress has an important role to play to ensure that the protections available in other parts of our society find their way to the Internet.”

First, a question for Senator Ted “the Internet is a series of tubes” Stevens and Senator Inouye, what part of this little part of the Constitution of the United States don’t you understand ?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

More importantly, where in this part of the Constitution do you find Congressional authority to regulate the content of the Internet or force ISP’s to filter content to “protect the children” ?

Yea, I didn’t think so.

And, finally, I’m not a parent myself, yet, but I think I speak for parents and adults everywhere when I say, Senators, we can decide for ourselves what is appropriate for our children. Leave us alone.

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3 Comments

  1. Even if this did pass, it wouldn’t work. How many of those stupid V-Chip or “Control the Remote” ads are on TV? Almost every time I turn on the TV I am forced to sit through one. Even when I was younger, the V-Chip was the stupidest thing created because as the most electronic-literate in my family, I would have had to set the thing up if my parents used it.

    By the way, wondering if Sen. Stevens noticed the First Amendment assumes he actually has even heard of the Constitution; not likely for ol’ pork-project Stevens.

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — July 25, 2007 @ 10:50 pm
  2. It passes, but then by executive order, instead of the FCC, it becomes the purview of the Dept. of Homeland Security. international experts then report google.cn less filtered than google.com. DHS responds by blocking google.cn from US internet users.

    Freakin brilliant….

    Comment by Kaligula — July 26, 2007 @ 12:00 am
  3. The technology is certainly in place:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narus

    This of course is forced compliance; whether you have children or not. The technology in place works, even Google has settings. Of course personal monitoring and educating your children of proper use and potential dangers works too.

    I think the good Senators should spend more time fixing the “filtering” email system of the White House.

    If we could only figure out away to “fool-proof” the three branches of government!!

    Comment by Amy — July 26, 2007 @ 8:20 am

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