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Federal Porn law struck down
Posted by: McQ on Friday, March 23, 2007

I'm with the ACLU on this one:
A federal judge on Thursday dealt another blow to government efforts to control Internet pornography, striking down a 1998 U.S. law that makes it a crime for commercial Web site operators to let children access "harmful" material.

In the ruling, the judge said parents can protect their children through software filters and other less restrictive means that do not limit the rights of others to free speech.

"Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if (free speech) protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection," wrote Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr., who presided over a four-week trial last fall.

The law would have criminalized Web sites that allow children to access material deemed "harmful to minors" by "contemporary community standards." The sites would have been expected to require a credit card number or other proof of age. Penalties included a $50,000 fine and up to six months in prison.

Sexual health sites, the online magazine and other Web sites backed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law. They argued that the Child Online Protection Act was unconstitutionally vague and would have had a chilling effect on speech.
Now, I say all of this as a non-lawyer, so this obviously isn't a legal opinion. However, I find it a good thing that the court put the onus of protecting children from on-line porn and on-line predators squarely where it belongs - on the parents. It isn't the job of commercial web site purveyors to ensure your children don't have access to them.

It's the job of a parent. And the "oh, gee that's hard" or "but I can't be with them every minute" excuses don't mean that it should be left up to government to do. Instead it means parents need to find a means of doing something many don't want to do ... say "no" to their children about certain things.

Parents have total control over what they bring into their house and how it's utilized, if they'll actually exercise it. Software solutions, monitoring solutions, denial of access without the ability to monitor content. They can do something as easy is moving the computer into the TV room where the parent spends most of their time and turning the monitor screen to where it's visible while the child uses the computer. The child may not like the arrangement, but you know, tough ... you're the parent. They'll get over it or they won't use the computer. I promise you, they'll get over it.

While pornography is something to which the vast majority of parents don't want their children exposed, it isn't my job to pay the government to prevent that for you. That is in the basic job description of "parent". Parents want more control over what is taught to their child in school or whether or not she has an abortion. Fine. I agree they should have that sort of control. But I also think parents should exercise the same control over what children are allowed to view on their computer (or TV) while at home.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

agree 100% on this. I was just watching an old Southpark about this sort of issue. Its comes up quite a bit on the show. Basically the moment one of the boys is confused or doesn’t understand something, they first thing the parents do is pawn off the responsibility on someone else, namely the school or government. Its rediculous. Grow some mommy and daddy balls and tell that little fart NO you cant have a tv and computer in your room. The ask him what hes up to, show an interest in what he does online. But also know that the internet can sometimes send you places you don’t want to go. One forgotten "NSFW" and boom youve got boobies. Be aware.
Written By: josh b
They can do something as easy is moving the computer into the TV room where the parent spends most of their time and turning the monitor screen to where it’s visible while the child uses the computer.
This is exactly right - I can’t believe parents who let their kids have a computer (or even a TV) in their room, no good can come of it (hell, I didn’t even have a phone in my room growing up).
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
“We have to do it for the Children” You hear this mantra attached to everything the Mommy Patrol want to force the rest of us to do, because they think life is dangerous. Its surprising and refreshing to see a judge reject this ubiquitous reasoning. It won’t stop the use of children as pawns, using emotion to force adults to behave as the Prigs believe is the moral and correct way to live, but it’s a good start.
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
As a parent opposed to pornography, I totally agree, it is the parent’s job to not only monitor what their kids see, but teach their kids to self-monitor, precisely because you can’t be with them every minute. I am so proud of my children. They are able to say "I don’t want to watch that" and LEAVE.

BTW we don’t have phones, TVs, or computers in the kids’ rooms. They sometimes ask us why not because their friends have them, and we tell them because it’s not healthy for kids, just like it’s not healthy for them to eat nothing but candy bars.
Written By: Wacky Hermit
Another Islamophobic ruling.
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
Another Islamophobic ruling.
A Pornophobic Law
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
"oh, gee that’s hard"


Well, you were talking about porn, more or less...
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://

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