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December 13, 2006

McCain: Report Internet Kid-Porn Or Be Fined $300,000

I don't know if I have a problem with the basic idea. But anyone who has a website that gets any kind of traffic knows there are simply far too many comments/hosted pages/etc. to patrol.

The principle seems unobjectionable to me. It's just impossible to actually keep up with everything that may be connected to a website. And I actually did report kid-porn spam commets to the FBI.

But if you miss a kid-porn link or post, or don't keep proper records, you have to rely on the government's discretion in not prosecuting you:


Millions of commercial Web sites and personal blogs would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000, if a new proposal in the U.S. Senate came into law.

The legislation, drafted by Sen. John McCain and obtained by CNET News.com, would also require Web sites that offer user profiles to delete pages posted by sex offenders.

...

After child pornography or some forms of "obscenity" are found and reported, the Web site must retain any "information relating to the facts or circumstances" of the incident for at least six months. Webmasters would be immune from civil and criminal liability if they followed the specified procedures exactly.

...

Internet service providers already must follow those reporting requirements. But McCain's proposal is liable to be controversial because it levies the same regulatory scheme--and even stiffer penalties--on even individual bloggers who offer discussion areas on their Web sites.

"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?"

Instead of fines for noncompliance, why not offer bounties of $1000 or even $5000 for tips that lead to the shut-downs of kid-porn sites?


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posted by Ace at 11:27 AM

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