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McCain goes after the blogosphere in the name of 'protecting the children'

Take your pick — it’s either sloppy legislation or an intent to rein in bloggers.

The Tool McCain submitted a bill to “modernize and expand the reporting requirements related to child pornography” and defines the venues to include what suspiciously sounds like blogs. (CNET):

McCain’s proposal, called the “Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act“, requires that reports be submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which in turn will forward them to the relevant police agency. (The organization received $32.6 million in tax dollars in 2005, according to its financial disclosure documents.)

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?”

What entities are responsible for “reporting” or risk getting fined $300K if a some perv posts on your blog?

Take a look after the jump.
*  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;
* any image or video-sharing service.

Of course a blog like PHB and most others (if you have comments) fall into that category. Most of us out here haven’t the time to monitor every comment or activity in a chat area on their site.

Social networking sites will be forced to take “effective measures” — such as deleting user profiles — to remove any website that is “associated” with a sex offender. Sites may include not only Facebook and MySpace, but also Amazon.com, which permits author profiles and personal lists, and blogs like DailyKos, which allows users to sign up for personal diaries.

McCain doesn’t know what he has unleashed in the blogosphere (see Think Progress and DKos), look no further than the eruptions at conservative sites Red State and Instapundit to know McCain’s folks, who have been sucking hard on some fundie pole, to see that this is blowing up in his face. From a RS commenter:

People in love with this man could not be more foolish or dangerous. If it’s even possible, my loathing of him just quadrupled. There is not a freedom this pompous self-promoter won’t trample. Seems McCain-Feingold was just the foreplay to a royal scr#wing.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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