June 23, 2021

Taming the Wild WWW

It lookes like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is suggesting three new laws for the Internet:

  1. Establish a government mandatory rating system that web developers putting explicit content on the web would have to put on their websites. This would carry a five year prison sentence if not followed.
  2. Imprison those sites that pretend to be something innocent in ads and yet redirect the web surfer to explicit content.
  3. Keep commercial sites from displaying explicit content on their home page if the user does not have to perform an action to see it.

These seem like a good step, but as usual, enforcement of the first one is difficult. What new government agencies will have to be created to be “porn police”?

There is a pretty clear standard: “The definition of sexually explicit broadly covers depictions of
everything from sexual intercourse and masturbation to “sadistic abuse”
and close-ups of fully clothed genital regions.”

However, this can still cause problems. What about the shots of the before and after photos for weight loss products? In a way, it would cause some media outlets to clean up their acts– ie. news photos that catch “wardrobe malfunctions” etc. It would also put some pressure for communities where photos are kept on the web to make sure adult content carried a warning, and that would be good.

But could you ever really catch the web developer? What about the one out of country? There would be ways to skirt it (no pun intended), and it would be hard to police. It also gives the same legitimacy to the stuff that .XXX would, but it would effect .COM, etc.

It’s worth thinking about.

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