Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has sponsored a bill called the “Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005”. This bill contains 3 major initiatives.

1.Require Age Verification – The law would require adult websites to verify a user’s age before granting access to adult content. This verification would go beyond the “honor system” that is presently abused.

2. The law would establish an Internet Safety and Child Protection Trust Fund (ISCP Fund). This fund will be used to assist law enforcement agencies to comabe Internet and porn related crimes against children. It will also support initiatives to educate parents and children

3.The trust fund would be funded by a 25% excise tax on internet pornography transactions.

These “drastic” steps may very well be needed in order to better protect our children from seeing online pornograhy. The Third Way has a frightening report concerning the pervasiveness of online porn especially as it pertains to the marketing towards minors and how accessible it is to children. Many of the statistics being reported in the news are taken directly from this report. See some of the quick stats here (.pdf,17k), but I encourage you to read the full report here (.pdf,410K)

In my opinon the age-verification requirement is enough to gain my support this bill but in addition I think that the sin-tax may be necessary to equip and educate our public. I welcome your comments.

6 responses to “Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005”

  1. Anonymous says:

    There’s just one major problem with that report. Most of the information is outdated and comes from questionable sources. Mainly anti-porn groups like the AFA and FRC. There isn’t a single piece of original research in it.

    Plus, those numbers don’t make sense. If porn’s number one audience is 12-17 year olds, how are they making money? You have to have a credit card or a bank account before you buy internet porn. Who’s giving these kids the money?

    Additionally, the age verification service promoted in their report is owned by a Washington-based company with a history of illegal business practices. Google the terms “Aristotle International illegal privacy” and you can see for yourself. This company collects personal information about people (name, income, home ownership status, party affiliation, etc.) and sells it to the highest bidder.

    If we go along with the age verification requirement, every single American would be more vulnerable to identity theft, because this company is essentially a privately owned spy agency that stores sensitive information in a database that can probably be hacked. This would also give scammers a new opportunity to run phishing scams as they set up fake porn sites and ask you to provide personal info for “age verification purposes.”

    Back in June, Consumer Reports reviewed net filtering software and found that the packages currently on the market were “good or excellent” at blocking material inappopriate for minors. (The Third Way mentioned this report, but gave its findings a misleading, negative spin.)

    This bill is unnecessary and probably unconstitutional. If they can tax one type of speech, they can tax any other. And I’m sure they would use this as a template for future internet taxes.

    The people who sponsored this bill have admitted it won’t be 100% effective. (Especially since its dubious definition of pornography only applies to hardcore images produced after July 3, 1995.) There’s no substitute for parenting. You want to protect kids from porn, buy a net filter, put the computer in the living room, and pay attention to what they’re doing when they go online.

  2. Anonymous says:

    1. Age verification over the internet is impossible. Even if it were not, kids will find a way to get their parents password for such services, just like you found your dad’s stack of Hustlers in the closet…

    2. You can’t control pornography outside US borders. This makes the laws totally ineffective. Unless, of course, you want to have a firewalled network like the Chinese or any one of several Middle Eastern countries. Oh, except that hasn’t worked for them either. People still get through…

    3. The internet is not and never will be “child safe”. It’s an open network and you can’t control what people put on it…

    4. Pornography built the basis for “e-commerce”, just like it built the market for vcr’s. The government doesn’t want to stop porn, they just want a cut of the cash.

    Overall, thanks, but no thanks… My kid will find porn one way or another the same as I did in my younger years. It won’t kill him, but I betcha some of it will gross him out 😉

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