The Protecting Children from Peer-to-Peer Pornography Act would require parent’s permission for minors to download P2P software in an effort to protect them from pornography – but what about every single search engine?
- Besides requiring parental consent, the bill would allow parents to install “beacons” on their computers that signal their desire to not have file-sharing software. If a child tries to download the software, networks would have to refuse when they see the beacon. The beacons would be developed by the Federal Trade Commission with assistance from the Commerce Department.
It also would require file-sharing networks to warn users about the dangers of file sharing. Several studies have shown that the networks are rife with pornography.
There are 57 million Americans who swap files, according to the Boston-based Yankee Group research firm. Forty percent of them are children, according to the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Chris John (D-La.).
Morpheus, Kazaa and other services have attained notoriety in the past several years for allowing widespread music swapping, but they can be used to trade documents, images, videos and any other kind of digital file. A recent study by Ames, Iowa-based Internet security firm Palisade Systems found that users of the Gnutella file-sharing network searched for pornography more often than they searched for music.
….Fred von Lohmann, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said he is skeptical about the viability of the beacons.
“I’m a little flabbergasted. I have no idea how you would even begin to build such a thing. The reality is that parents have to supervise their kids online and there is no government provision that is going to replace that supervision,” he said. “Undergraduate computer science students can write these [file-sharing programs] in under a week. There’s a [mistaken] notion that there might be a company and if there’s a company, federal regulators can grab them.”
Wayne Rosso, president of West Indies-based file-sharing network Grokster, said children also can find pornography with popular search engines like Google.
Peer-to-peer “should not just be singled out,” he said. “There’s no more or less of a pornography problem on [file-sharing networks] than there is on the entire World Wide Web. Pornography’s only there if you’re searching for it. It’s not something that just pops up in your face like ‘spam’ on AOL.”
The GAO study noted that there is far more pornography available on the Internet through normal search engine services than on peer-to-peer networks. [Washington Post]
Just shut down the Internet – that’s what they really want. Parental control software and the like is not hard to find, isn’t this enough?