This report from Declan McCullagh shows just how wacko our Congresspeople are. Lets deconstruct:

“We have a rating system for video games. We have a rating system for music,” said Rep. Adam Putnam , R-Fl., who suggested a government-mandated system would be appropriate for files on P2P networks. Otherwise, Putnam warned, P2P users could “prey on spelling errors of third graders looking for Pokemon.”

Not sure how spelling could be affected by a rating system, but knowing how ineffective the other rating systems are, it wouldn’t do much good.

Second, I’d be for anything that gives third graders a good reason to study spelling. When I studied spelling I thought it was a waste of time. However, my son Staffan (5 years old) commonly asks me how to spell things so he can find them on google. Speaking of spelling errors, here’s a doozy.

Third, if such a system were mandated, librarians would probably have to spend a lot of time administering it. I’d be for any proposal which included an extra $4 billion for the nations libraries, but as usual the politicians are probably all hot air.

P2P network operators are getting rich through aiding and abetting porn-swapping, suggested Rep. Christopher Shays , R-Conn., and another committee member told the chief executive of P2P file-trading network Grokster that “for all practical purposes, you’re the pornographer. You’re the vehicle by which people are doing these things.”

Apparently this is the reason why in the past hundred years the government has tried to shut down the paper industry, the publishing industry, the ink industry, and the movie industry.

Grokster CEO Daniel Rung said his company had cooperated with federal law enforcement in child pornography investigations and would continue to do so. Rung also suggested that parents supervise their children and use filters that “can be set to screen out much of the objectionable materials from the search results.”

Personally, I have an internet filter so my son cannot access the site http://www.rodstewart.com and any site that mentions the phrases “Pat Robertson” or “Focus on The Family”

Randy Saaf, president of P2P-tracking firm MediaDefender, said his investigations of child pornography on P2P networks found over 321,000 files “that appeared to be child pornography by their names and file types,” and said that “over 800 universities had files on their networks that appeared to be child pornography.”

Ed Felten points out how inane this testimony is. The least they could do is look statistically and see what fraction of suspiciously named files are actually smut.

During a hearing of the House Government Reform Committee , politicians complained of two problems: The allegedly widespread distribution of illegal child pornography on peer-to-peer ( P2P ) networks, and the ease by which a youth could stumble across sexually explicit files that may be legal for adults but inappropriate for minors.

Note that they don’t restrict this worry to the internet. I would suggest that the legislators clean out their closets of those old girly mags so the grandkids won’t see them, as they might discover that these old fuddy-duddies were once people.

Tom Lehrer’s line is still worth a laugh: ” I do have a cause though — it is Obscenity ….. I’m for it.

John Netherland, the acting director of the Department of Homeland Security’s CyberSmuggling Center , said his office would focus more closely on P2P networks. The center already is “expanding its investigative efforts to encompass this new technology,” Netherland said. “Evidence is easily captured and preserved on a real-time basis…for these reasons peer-to-peer file-sharing investigations are likely to increase.”

All that fuss last year about how the nation was prone to Terrorism seems to all be an excuse. Yes, the Department of Homeland Security seems to be spending its time protecting the nation’s youth against immorality. Personally, I think the nation’s parents can handle that pretty well, and I’d rather the Department of Homeland Security focus on things like radioactivity, large flying objects filled with explosives, tiny microorganisms that kill by dissolving your flesh and gases which shut down the nervous system and asphyxiate people in seconds, or in other words the things that, as a parent, I feel I could use some help with.

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