Carnivore and Net censorship will save the children

Part 2: why Feds, legislators and prudes love pedos

Congress loves pedos too

In mid-2000, child-protective hysteric and US Representative Robert Franks (Republican, New Jersey) introduced a House bill requiring mandatory prison sentences for 'cyber-molesters' who use the Internet to find underage sexual partners. His bill would hamstring judges by imposing a minimum of five years' incarceration for those found guilty.

The proposed legislation would apply to defendants who "establish a relationship with a child over the Internet and then travel across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illegal sex."

Not surprisingly, the FBI dutifully reported a 550 per cent increase in "high-tech child molesters" since 1998, which dovetailed beautifully into Franks' self-serving reckoning.

"Even when law enforcement is successful in catching these criminals, they are often given lenient sentences," he lamented. "The average sentence for the crime is just 18 months in jail."

He fretted that judges have been "ignoring the seriousness of the offence" when a convict is otherwise law-abiding, and concluded that it's necessary for Congress to choose sentences for them. "Those sick criminals who terrorize our children, destroy their innocence and leave them scarred for life deserve to be locked away for a long time," he said.

(Well, of course they do; but we remain convinced that judges are in a far better position to determine what's appropriate from the bench than members of Congress are from Capitol Hill. Call us old-fashioned....)

Also last year, the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), regrettably, was signed into law. Sponsored by US Senator John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and US Representative Ernest Istook (Republican, Oklahoma), the Act imposes Internet filtering requirements on public schools and libraries which accept money from Uncle Sam. Naughty pictures, inappropriate chatrooms and blue prose are to be rendered inaccessible to tender sprouts, and failure to comply results in the money spigot being shut off.

The legitimate fear among perfectly reasonable and law-abiding adults, naturally, is that public libraries will be cowed into filtering all their computer terminals on fears of government retaliation if some brat should get his or her hands on an open one, and thereby restrict adult research opportunities to those appropriate for children.

An equally perverse Congressional gift is the Children's Online Protection Act (COPA), which, among other things, makes it a crime to create, distribute or possess any material which 'appears to depict' a child in a sexual context.

This language, being so vague that anything the Feds dislike might be outlawed -- morphed pics of kids where no sexual exploitation has occurred but which nevertheless appear sexual, movies such as "Endless Love", "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and even the recent "Traffic" (in which, ironically, conservative US Senator Orrin Hatch appears as himself in a brief cameo) -- has wisely been shot down by the Third and Ninth US Circuit Courts of Appeals.

But the DoJ is pursuing reinstatement of this imbecility before the US Supreme Court this year. Their thin justification is that images whose production involve no actual, real-world harm to children still cause irreparable social ruin by satisfying the unhealthy desires of pedophiles. Thus the innocent interests of the many have got to be sacrificed to frustrate the perverse interests of the few. Sorry, mate, but we know best what you ought to see.

The prude bandwagon

Public libraries are a hotbed of on-line pedo activity and must therefore be forced to install Internet filtering software on their public computers, pedophile psychotherapist Mary Anne Layden told a Congressional Committee on Children and Families which convened last year to consider measures for protecting children from Internet predators.

"What is happening in our public libraries is a national scandal," she said gravely. After a few hours' perusal "pedophiles can...leave the library with toxic messages and become carriers back to their jobs, their homes, onto the streets and into the schoolyard," she claimed.

Layden said that permission-giving myths, dear to pedos, such as their twisted notions that children actually enjoy being raped by adults, or that such perverse relations are in fact natural and healthy, are being propagated with unprecedented virulence via the Net. As a result, thirty-eight per cent of American girls are sexually molested before they reach age eighteen, she claimed, brandishing a number that strikes The Register as ludicrously overstated in spite of our well-known inclination towards pessimism regarding the darker regions of human nature.

The American Library Association (ALA), Layden says, is solely responsible for all this savagery. The professional organization belligerently rejects all efforts to censor content at public libraries, and proudly snubs its nose at the idea of Internet filtering.

But the ALA has its own reading of the tea leaves. "The use in libraries of software filters which block constitutionally protected speech is inconsistent with the United States Constitution and federal law, and may lead to legal exposure for the library and its governing authorities," the organization warns.

Therefore, "the American Library Association affirms that the use of filtering software by libraries to block access to constitutionally protected speech violates the Library Bill of Rights."

Layden nevertheless excoriated the organization for its stubborn stance, and for encouraging continual efforts to obstruct prudish ambitions by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She noted that on its Web site, the ALA even has the audacity to publish links to step-by-step instructions for teens on how to disable filtering software.

"Libraries have become the new red-light districts," she cried.

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