US Senate considering V-Chip Bill for the Internet

Remember the V-Chip? Well, the Senate Commerce Committee recently voted to send the Child Safe Viewing Act [the bill on LoC’s THOMAS website], which would be an Internet version of TV Ratings, to the US senate for consideration. This doesn’t mean the bill is a done deal. Far from it, but its introduction is inevitably going to be met with mixed opinions.

Surprisingly, the bill was introduced by a Democrat (Mark Pryor of Arkansas). There are no imperatives in it, except to the FCC to ‘consider’ advanced blocking technologies. How they expect blocking technologies to work across the myriad of transports that exist today on the Internet, Cellular and other wireless networks is beyond me. Imagine trying to censor YouTube. Will uploaders really voluntarily rate their videos? Intuition says no, doesn’t it?

One look at the comments attached to the article on Wired News gives you can idea of how (at least) Net users view this bill. While I think that many miss a major point of the bill which does not dictate that content producers must rate their material, they do in general oppose what they see as government censorship. Certainly, in the US, they do have a legitimate point, as we do like to consider ourselves ‘the land of the free’. On the other hand, the question of protecting children comes into play. There is also the related issue of how much of that protection should fall onto the shoulders of the government vs parents. Not a simple issue, and while I have my own take on what I believe should be done, let me just say that it’s important that we all are aware of what our government is considering doing and get involved in the debate.

via Wired News.