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ACLU to fight Internet Censorship Bill

By espo812 in MLP
Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:36:39 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

This article article at MSNBC discusses the ACLU's plans to fight a bill that requires censorwear on computers at schools and libraries that receive federal money.


Why does congress keep attempting to legislate morals? They tried it at the network level with the CDA by attempting to block pornography from being posted on the Internet. Now they are trying at the application level by blocking people from accessing data that is already there.

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Poll
Should Censorwear be mandatory on public systems?
o No, what people censor is their own choice. 63%
o Yes, people can't be trusted to censor things themselves so the government must do it for them. 6%
o Yes, to filter out bad Kuro5hin submissions. 29%

Votes: 58
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ACLU to fight Internet Censorship Bill | 36 comments (32 topical, 4 editorial, 1 hidden)
I'm of two minds about this.. (3.14 / 7) (#1)
by enterfornone on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 08:19:32 PM EST

On one hand, censorship is bad, censorware doesn't work and I see no reason to hide the real world from our children. The government should not be allowed to legislate morals and restrict the free speech of individuals.

On the other hand, if these are government schools and libraries, and therefore government computers. don't they have the right to decide what to put on them? If someone told me I can't install censorware on my home computer then I would be pretty pissed off. So why should the government not be allowed to install censorware on theirs?

I can certainly agree with the idea that people shouldn't access porn in apublic library while children can look over their shoulder. Is there a way to stop this without having to supervise library computers.

On the other hand, we know these things don't just block porn. Anyone doing serious research on sexuality will have problems due to this. Censorware has also been known to block such things as alternative religions and political groups.

People generally don't read porn mags in public, can we trust them not to do it in a library or classroom? I think we can. But it's certainly not a black and white issue as people (on both sides) would like to make out.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
They don't own everything (yet) =) (4.00 / 2) (#2)
by tetsuo on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 08:37:49 PM EST

On the other hand, if these are government schools and libraries, and therefore government computers. don't they have the right to decide what to put on them? If someone told me I can't install censorware on my home computer then I would be pretty pissed off. So why should the government not be allowed to install censorware on theirs?

My problem with this is that the schools and libraries aren't entirely bought by the federal governemnt; the fed doesn't buy every computer at a local level, but will force them to cooperate anyway.

You are absoloutely right though; a federal building has every right for its entire course of action to be dictated by the people. The people who in turn (in theory) dictate to congress and the government what they want done. So if it was a federal thing that everyone at every district wanted done, I wouldn't mind.

But it's not. This is something that's being forced on local libraries whose equipment may or may not have been purchased in whole by the fed. What business do they have dictating that? None, in my opinion.

[ Parent ]
This bill does provide exemptions (none / 0) (#12)
by abdera on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 11:07:58 PM EST

Schools and public libraries that accept federal money are required by this bill to filter Internet access. Any organization may opt-out by not accepting federal money. The best thing that could possible come of this is that the law passes and schools refuse federal money and federal red tape. But that would only happen in a dream world.

This is exactly why federal money should not be in the public schools in the first place. The federal government has abused taxpayer money to strongarm local governments. The federal government has used federal funds to coerce states to prosecute minors as adults and mandate federal educational agendas. Children need to be raised by their parents and communities, not the federal government.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

Other strong arm tactics. (none / 0) (#14)
by Wiglaf on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 11:44:50 PM EST

I don't know the specifics on this but up until this decade here in Louisiana an 18 yr old could purchase and consume alcohol. The Fed decided to start withholding Federal road money until the age was pushed to 21. Then there is that whol 55 mph push that was lifted recently. If you don't set this speed limit you don't get any fed money. But like I said, the specifics elude me due to my brain being fried. The joys of working my way thru college. BTW: NEXT drunk who orders a pizza best remember that pizzas DO cost money....

Paul: I DOMINATE you to throw rock on our next physical challenge.
Trevor: You can't do that! Do you really think Vampires go around playing rock paper sissors to decide who gets to overpower one another?
[ Parent ]
Hey, wait a sec! (3.75 / 4) (#3)
by fvw on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:10:36 PM EST

On the other hand, if these are government schools and libraries, and therefore government computers. don't they have the right to decide what to put on them?
May I remind you that the government doesn't have any rights. They are merely an organ through which the people try to make things livable for every one. The will of the people is the will of the government.

[ Parent ]
Will of the people (4.66 / 3) (#5)
by enterfornone on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:28:38 PM EST

I would suspect that a large number of people (outside of forums such as this) actually support what the government is doing in "protecting" them from porn as well as drugs and the various other bad things they restrict freedom in order to protect. Does that then make it right?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Won't someone please think of the children? (none / 0) (#11)
by tetsuo on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 11:06:30 PM EST

I would suspect that a large number of people (outside of forums such as this) actually support what the government is doing in "protecting" them from porn as well as drugs and the various other bad things they restrict freedom in order to protect. Does that then make it right?

Note that it's really the "children", and not the adults, that the government tries to protect with these types of legislations. Children are pretty high up on the unassailable list of causes, if not at the top.
Oppose it? "Why, you're not thinking of our children, our future, the young innocent ones! All we're trying to do here is protect those that can't defend themselves!"
Unfortunately a lot of people listen to that tripe and believe it, because of their desire to restrict freedom for non-existant protection.

Also, consider the first paragraph on the link:

The filtering law was attached to the federal budget bill and passed in an eleventh-hour push by the lame-duck Congress to tie up the year's loose ends.

What this says to me is that even with the nigh upon unassailable position of "trying to protect the children", this wouldn't have flown on its own. They had to sneak it into something bigger that was rushed.

I'm not usually a big fan of the ACLU, and sadly they're the only real organization that can fight something like this, but I hope they approach this thing as a pack of starving wolves would a gimp sheep. Okay so it's late and the analogies are starting to get worse.

[ Parent ]
Ok (4.50 / 4) (#4)
by Nyarlathotep on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:15:08 PM EST

Ok, well dose the government hae the right to not allow you to drive to work just because they own all the roads? Maybe you just think they should be allowed to prevent strippers from getting a drivers lissence?

No, they are supposed to "do what people want, do the right thing, and be fair" (listed in increasing order of importentce). Well the courts need to be convinced that censorware violates "doing the right thing" just like preventing you from driving to work would violate "doing the right thing."

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Which is fine... (3.50 / 2) (#27)
by h3lldr0p on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:51:00 PM EST

except that your example of driving is lousy. Driving is a privilage, not a right. Let me explain: You (in the USofA) have the right to move about as you decide. The goverment does can not in any way, shape or form, prevent you from doing this. It can however limit the methods to do so. Licencing for drivers, property taxes upon automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles, licencing for those said vehicles, and taxes placed upon gasoline for road repair/construction are all ways with which you pay for the privilage of using said method of transportation. So yes, the "goverment" (I'm guessing you mean at a local level) can stop people from using certain methods of transportation. Granted, this will prob'ly be methods only that are funded by public monines (bus lines, subways, etc), but again, using your example, those same strippers do pay taxes as well and would be able to argue in court that since they do contribute to that public good that they then have paid for the privilage of using whatever they have been banned from.

Another good example of the goverment limiting methods of transportation is to look at planes and airlines. There again, the goverment does not stop you from using them, but it does impose restrictions upon who can fly, under what conditions flight takes places, and on top of that, it is a federal mandated network of radar that keeps track all of the commercial flights in the airspace above the US.


Even in victory, there is no beauty
And who calls it beautiful
Is one who delights in slaughter
[ Parent ]

"They?" (5.00 / 2) (#22)
by Joshua on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:57:51 AM EST

On the other hand, if these are government schools and libraries, and therefore government computers. don't they have the right to decide what to put on them?

Who the fuck is they!? I am the government, and so are you (in theory, of course). We have the right to decide what goes on them. I have sex, and I don't mind people looking at pictures of people having sex, and I don't see why that bothers other people. If it bothers them, well that's their problem, not mine.

Joshua

[ Parent ]

The ACLU has problems (3.00 / 5) (#7)
by Sheepdot on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:44:20 PM EST

Ask an ACLU member why the organization supports racist groups like the KKK in the area of holding rallies and you'll get a straight answer: "*Any* group should have the right to freedom of speech and expression, even if the free speech is hate speech."

Ask an ACLU member why the organization is against the Boy Scouts of America excluding gay scout leaders and see if the reply mimics the official one: "Because the Boy Scouts of America was not created specifically for the purpose of discriminating against gays, they must allow gay members."

If the ACLU is backing or opposing something, it usually has no effect on my view of the matter in any way, shape, or form. They make absolutely no sense anymore.


What's the problem? (3.40 / 5) (#8)
by enterfornone on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 10:06:04 PM EST

At least they are consistant. If they want to fight censorship and support free speech then they have to support the free speech of everyone. That includes pornographers, gays and white supremisists.

Why should the scouts be able to exclude gays? There is no sane reason I can think of. I'm pretty sure none of the scout laws prohibit homosexuality. A number of historians have suggested scouts founder Baden-Powell was gay.

If the scouts excluded blacks no one would suggest they were doing the right thing. On the other hand no one complains that the KKK excludes blacks any more than they complain that the catholic church doesn't ordain Muslims. In the scouts don't want gays then they should make it clear that scouting is an organisation that specifically promotes hetrosexuality.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Re: What's the problem? (3.66 / 3) (#15)
by Malicose on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:03:35 AM EST

In the scouts don't want gays then they should make it clear that scouting is an organisation that specifically promotes hetrosexuality.
Didn't the scouts do this by prohibiting gays from joining?

[ Parent ]
Are they an exclusively hetro organisation? (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by enterfornone on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:24:27 AM EST

The Catholic church is an exclusively Catholic organisation, their sole reason for existing is to practice Catholisism. There is no reason why a non-Catholic would want to join.

The Communist party is an exclisively communist organistation. The Communist party exists soley to promote Communism. There is no reason why a capialist would want to join.

The KKK is an exclusively white organisation. The KKK exists soley to promote white supremacy, there is no reason why a black person would want to join.

Is the scouting movement an exclusively hetrosexual organisation? Is their sole purpose to promote hetrosexuality? Is there no reason why a homosexual would want to join?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
I see what you are saying.. (1.00 / 1) (#34)
by Sheepdot on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:58:52 PM EST

I can think of a reason that a capitalist would join the communist party. To raise hell in the organization, to quietly work their way up near the top and revolt.

You mention reasoning as being the basis for someone joining.

If the Communist party wanted to exclude capitalists from joining, they should be allowed to because their is *clearly* no reason for a capitalist to join, right?

If the Boy Scouts of America wanted to exclude homosexuals from joining, they should not be allowed to because their *clearly* are reasons for a homosexual to want to join, right?

The problem is the *clarity* of the situation. Do you go by what the "public/goverment" says is clear, or do you go by what the organization says? The Boy Scouts of America sees a direct threat in allowing gays to be part of the group, so let them have it their way, strip them of public funding, and see if they are still so ardently against homosexuals being part of the club.

Forcing them to allow gays ruins their ability to run it they way they want. Let them run it their way, and tell them "Hell no" for the government money.

I also disagree with the ACLU on: affirmative action, second amendment, and smoking in private establishments.

I'm not for certain that the ACLU is against smoking sections in bars and resturants, but the Iowa ACLU VP guy is for it in the city of Ames, and that there is main reason I don't participate in the ACLU.

The ACLU takes some strong libertarian stances on issues, and I usually appreciate it, but sometimes it really gets into wierd stuff that I honestly feel misses the point of the party, so I have to back off.

Ultimately though, I like what they have to say, just not they way they say it.


[ Parent ]
i see a pattern..campaiging against exclusion (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by rebelcool on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:15:35 AM EST

The KKK has the right to hold a rally. They shouldnt be excluded from this right, because it is hatespeech.

The boy scouts are a large organization that does many things. The aclu campaigns against the exclusion of gays from the organization.

The way I see it is, while i disagree with the KKK, they have every right to hold a rally. It is an act guaranteed by the constitution. The boy scouts, however, are a private organization. They *do* have the right to exclude gays, just as a store owner has the right to refuse to do business with a customer. While I disagree with it, i see their RIGHT to it.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

OK, but doesn't that mean... (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by kaemaril on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:45:52 AM EST

Following that argument, that a private organisation has a right to exclude certain persons...

Does that mean that the scouts has a right to exclude black people? How about asians? Does being a private organisation give you the right to discriminate?


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
*applies flame retardant* (none / 0) (#26)
by Robert Hutchinson on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:51:03 AM EST

Does that mean that the scouts has a right to exclude black people? How about asians? Does being a private organisation give you the right to discriminate?
Yes, they have that right. Not under law, though. As painful as racism has been in America's past, forcing people to not be racists is not a solution and is a violation of their rights. If I hire a white idiot instead of a black genius, I deserve both poor work quality and public shaming. But that's all. Do the Scouts deserve criticism for excluding gays? Absolutely. Do they deserve lawsuits? Never.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
Yes, it does. (none / 0) (#28)
by rebelcool on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:21:25 PM EST

You bet. The *legal* right. Though it may not be *morally* right (to some of us anyway..im sure many would disagree).

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

re: Yes, it does. (none / 0) (#30)
by kaemaril on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:22:29 PM EST

Interesting.

Although, I'm no lawyer, the impression given by various cases I've seen here is that under *UK* law, even private organisations are not permitted to discriminate.

And I think it's illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights, too. Is there a handy UK lawyer floating around here somewhere that can confirm or deny that? :)

I dunno, I would have thought if you had a law that bans discrimination, then it would have to be applied across the spectrum, whether it be private, government or public company. Otherwise, surely, it's pretty toothless legislation.

But maybe that's me being too idealistic :)

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
well... (none / 0) (#32)
by rebelcool on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:11:33 PM EST

heh, you'd have to understand the culture of the usa. Everything here is *freedom* based. The freedom to choose, the freedom of religion, the freedom FROM religion.. and so on. For example, the right to assemble is only a right under government properties. You can gather on a public street, but you dont have the legal right to gather on a company-owned street. (this is why you see picket lines OUTSIDE a company's fence)

the system has it's pro's and con's, but the writing of the constitution was all about compromise.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

RE: OK, now I'm really confused... (none / 0) (#35)
by kaemaril on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 07:59:50 PM EST

OK, so let me see if my understanding is clear...

(And it might not be, btw, 'cos I've had a long day...)

If a gay chap turned up at a job interview for a civil service job (um... IRS? something like that) and is told to go screw himself, no way we're allowing any of you homos in this office...

That's unconstitutional/unlawful/discriminatory/officially a Bad Thing?

Now, the same guy walks into a job interview at a local bookstore, and is told to go screw himself, no way we're allowing any of you homos at this bookshop...

That's OK?

That, if true, is just... that's... bizarre. Your legal system allows that? I thought it didn't? Why, I've seen dozens of episodes of Ally Macbeal, LA Law, The Practice et cetera ad nauseum where they seem to consider that a capital crime... ;)


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
heh employment is an exception. (none / 0) (#36)
by rebelcool on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 08:28:15 PM EST

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sees against discrimination based on race, religion, etc by employers. However, this does not apply to customers, or to organization's members. EEOC stuff is probably the discrimination things you're used to hearing.

If I didn't like black people and refused to serve one as a customer in my store, I could do that. Someone could try and bring a lawsuit against me, though I question exactly what grounds they would have.

BUT, if a black person applied for a job and I turned them down simply because they are black, then the EEOC would come after me. It's complicated, but its about compromise between making things fair for people, and fair for businesses.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Damn, I created an account just to answer this. (none / 0) (#31)
by VValdo on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:01:28 AM EST

But I guess now I'll have to stop being a lurker on k5.

Anyway...

If the Boy Scouts wants to be a purely PRIVATE organization, like the Nazi party or the KKK, then they can exclude whoever the hell they want. No one (as far as I know) is saying there should be a black Grand Dragon (or is it Grand Wizard?) or a Jewish Deputy Fuhrer or whatever. BUT... as long as they consider themselves a PUBLIC organization, meaning they accept money from the government (which they do big-time), get locations and services paid for by "the people" -- THEN I can see the government having an interest in seeing that they do not discriminate and serve the public fairly and equally.

A personal aside-- I remember as a kid being coerced into joining by my parents, despite their stupid requirement that you take some solumn oath of "religious principal." Even then I was an athiest and knew it was bullshit. I didn't want to do it, but.... Well, let's just say I lasted about a day. (Still, I can build a fire in just about any weather.)

The boy scouts want to have it both ways-- on one hand they're a private organization. On the other they have no problem holding their hands out to millions of dollars of public funding and public facilities in the name of "community service." If they're part of the public community, they better damn well act like it.

Reference I found in a quick search: http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/bsa7.htm
This is my .sig. There are many like it but this one is mine.
[ Parent ]

I think we are on the same page. (1.00 / 1) (#33)
by Sheepdot on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:42:01 PM EST

Yeah, no government money, which is exactly what happened to them. I understand where you are coming from, but to require an organization to allow gays because they have accepted money in the past is ridiculous.

Personally, I don't think the Boy Scouts should have been getting any money at all from the government. I don't think any organiation should. Hell, the only government program I like is Toys for Tots.

I disagree with you when you say the Boy Scouts want to have it both ways. I think that ultimately they will understand and not accept public money. I think the confusion is that some in the organization think they are still entitled to the money, while the intent of the bigwigs is that they don't want it and want to remain private. Hard to tell though. You could be right as I don't know for sure.


[ Parent ]
Actually, Government exists to legislate morality (3.00 / 4) (#9)
by bmetzler on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 10:19:36 PM EST

Nearly every law the government makes is to legislate morality. When the government makes a law that it is wrong for someone to steal my things, that's morality. When they make a law against counterfeiting money, that's morality. When they make laws about education, that's morality. When they make laws protecting consumers, that's morality.

The goverment exists, in fact, solely for one purpose. To dictate a whole culture of moral decisions so that the citizens will be able to live together, safely and peaceably. Everything else the goverment does is just to support their enforcement of that morality.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
That's not morality (4.33 / 6) (#10)
by enterfornone on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 10:29:13 PM EST

I don't like my stuff getting stolen. I don't like being raped and murdered. That's why the goverment makes laws, to protect people from being violated.

If people want to view porn, or take drugs or marry people of the same gender then that doesn't violate my rights at all.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
That is morality (none / 0) (#24)
by bmetzler on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:14:48 AM EST

I don't like my stuff getting stolen. I don't like being raped and murdered. That's why the goverment makes laws, to protect people from being violated.

If people want to view porn, or take drugs or marry people of the same gender then that doesn't violate my rights at all.

If the goverment makes everyone of those decisions the way you have just described, they have enacted legislation that dealt with moral issues. No matter what way you look at it you can't get away from the fact that the goverment exists to legislate morality.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
That's only morality ... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by tetsuo on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 11:24:25 PM EST

... if you subscribe to the notion that man has no inherent rights, and that any we do have are solely creations of humans.

But even barring the concept of human created rights, in the animal kingdom the non-human concept of property exists. And animals obviously fight for their life, so I believe a right to life exists, outside of human creation.

I humbly submit that there are some basics that governments can be formed to protect, not to invent.

[ Parent ]
Protecting is a morality (none / 0) (#23)
by bmetzler on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:12:17 AM EST

I humbly submit that there are some basics that governments can be formed to protect, not to invent.

When a goverment makes a decision to protect something, that's a moral decision. Whether inventing or protecting, it all has to do with morality.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
You missed the point of my post entirely (none / 0) (#29)
by tetsuo on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:32:24 PM EST

The point was that there are things that though we call them "morals" are infact inherent traits/what-have-you in all animals; property and life.

Protecting these things doesn't make them "moral", as animals will band together to protect such things without the aid of your 'government'. They're nessecary parts of life.

Claiming that just because a government is formed and protects these things makes them "moral" and therefore makes both the protection of them and their definition subjective, is wrong.

I won't argue however that beyond these 2 items, almost anything else is an extension of a belief system of humans, and would be a moral law.


[ Parent ]
Just like sex ed. and prayer in schools ... (none / 0) (#25)
by Robert Hutchinson on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:39:24 AM EST

Once again, the fallacy of public schooling is exposed. Not With MY Tax Dollars.

Robert Hutchinson
No bomb-throwing required.

ACLU to fight Internet Censorship Bill | 36 comments (32 topical, 4 editorial, 1 hidden)
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