McCain Bill Is
Lethal Injection For Internet Freedom
Republican Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would fine blogs up to $300,000 for offensive statements, photos and videos posted by visitors on comment boards, effectively nixing the open exchange of ideas on the Internet, providing a lethal injection for unrestrained opinion, and acting as the latest attack tool to chill freedom of speech on the world wide web.
McCain's proposal, called the "Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act," encourages informants to shop website owners to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who then pass the information on to the relevant police authorities.
Comment boards for specific articles are extremely popular and also notoriously hard to moderate. Popular articles often receive comments that run into the thousands over the course of time. In many cases, individuals hostile to the writer's argument deliberately leave obscene comments and images simply to sully the reputation of the website owners. Therefore under the terms of this bill, right-wing extremists from a website like Free Republic could effectively terminate a liberal leaning website like Raw Story by the act of posting a single photograph of a naked child. This precedent could be the kiss of death for blogs as we know them and its reverberations would negatively impact the entire Internet.
Under the banner of saving the children from sexual predators, McCain is obviously on a mission to stamp out the influence of the burgeoning blogosphere and its increasing hostility to the warmongering agenda that he fronts for.
"This constitutionally dubious proposal is being made apparently mostly based on fear or political considerations rather than on the facts," warns Kevin Bankston, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.
McCain has publicly expressed his distaste for blogs in the past and this is why any protestation that he is simply aiming to "protect the children" with this legislation falls on deaf ears.
In a May 2006 speech at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, McCain attacked the blogosphere as a refuge of those only infatuated with self-expression. He was trying to minimize the importance of the last true outpost of freedom of speech, the Internet, and portray it as nothing more than a swap shop for egos and hyperbole.
So if the blogosphere is nothing more than a bulletin board for self-important know it alls, what possible threat could that be to young children? Where is the evidence that kids are being victimized by people who post comments on blogs?
There is no evidence but that doesn't really matter when you consider that a sizable portion of Congress critters who will be voting on this legislation if it comes to pass, don't even know what the Internet itself is (it's not a big truck), never mind how it's used. And then a sizable majority of the remaining House members probably hate the blogosphere as much as McCain, because it has replaced the lapdog mainstream media in acting as the 4th estate in muckraker reporting, anti-war protest, and holding public officials to task.
In reality, sexual predators have always confined their grooming to live chat rooms, or in the case of Republican pervert Mark Foley, instant messaging and PDA's. Pedophiles are never going to leave a record of their sordid advances on message boards because in most cases, their IP address and location can be obtained immediately from the server log. And as reported by C Net, "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."
McCain's proposed bill is just another step in greasing the skids for Internet 2, a tightly controlled, regulated and privileged world wide web where government approval will be required just to run a blog.
In recent months, a chorus of propaganda intended to demonize the Internet and lead it down this path has spewed forth from numerous establishment organs.
- The White House's own recently de-classified strategy for "winning the war on terror" targets Internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting ground for terrorists and threatens to "diminish" their influence.
- The Pentagon recently announced its effort to infiltrate the Internet and propagandize for the war on terror.
- In a speech last month, Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff identified the web as a "terror training camp," through which "disaffected people living in the United States" are developing "radical ideologies and potentially violent skills." Chertoff pledged to dispatch Homeland Security agents to local police departments in order to aid in the apprehension of domestic terrorists who use the Internet as a political tool.
- In an interview with Fox News last month, Bush senior slammed Internet bloggers for creating an "adversarial and ugly climate."
- A landmark legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web - and their argument is supported by the U.S. government.
- The European Union, led by former Stalinist and potential future British Prime Minister John Reid, has also vowed to shut down "terrorists" who use the Internet to spread propaganda.
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