Wednesday, 28 June 2006
Ratings and warnings of "sexually explicit material"
According to a C|Net article, the Senate Commerce Committee approved an amendment to a bill that would require web site operators to place a label on their home pages if the site contains "sexually explicit material" and to "rate 'each page or screen of the website that does contain sexually explicit material' with a system to be devised by the Federal Trade Commission'" ("Senators adopt Web labeling requirement").
There is no hope that a workable system could be based upon that rule. Set aside for the moment the probably-fatal First Amendment concern that "sexually explicit material" is unlikely ever to be defined clearly enough to survive judicial scrutiny and that we would need such a definition for multiple categories of sexually explicit material. The stated purpose of the bill presumes that children do not want to see sexually explicit material. According to the article:
"This will protect children from accidentally typing in the wrong address and immediately viewing indecent material," said Sen. Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican who is the co-founder of the Congressional Internet Caucus.Have you ever known a child to walk away from something sexually explicit without looking at it? I doubt such a child exists.
Last month I got engaged to Phuong Nguyen, my girlfriend of two years. No wedding date has been set. We are considering some of the most historic dates we know of — perhaps October 26, 1985; November 12, 1955; or October 26, 2015.
(I have blogged very little in recent months, and the engagement will probably not help that, but I may get some time to blog in the near future.)