Net Neutrality Links
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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.
In a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, the Arizona Republican and former presidential candidate warned that “technology has contributed to the greater distribution and availability, and, some believe, desire for child pornography.
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.
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“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?”
According to the proposed legislation, these types of individuals or businesses would be required to file reports: any Web site with a message board; any chat room; any social-networking site; any e-mail service; any instant-messaging service; any Internet content hosting service; any domain name registration service; any Internet search service; any electronic communication service; and any image or video-sharing service.
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A McCain aide, who did not want to be identified by name, said on Friday that the measure was targeted at any Web site that “you’d have to join up or become a member of to use.” No payment would be necessary to qualify, the aide added.
Please send the senator a copy of “Atlas Shrugged.”
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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