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Kids and the Internet
About North Georgia

Randy's Corner

About North Georgia's publisher Randy Golden contributes a look into life in north Georgia, the Web, or anything that's on his mind.

Hello, Friends

The American Civil Liberty Union has taken the federal government to task again over a law that requires blocking software be used in libraries to protect our children from pornography on the internet. The problem is in the sites that are blocked. Some may include sites that offer information instead of pornography. So it comes down to who decides the definition of pornography.

The government has been repeatedly stymied in its attempt to give children an area where they can safely go in cyberspace. They pushed ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for a ".kids" domain when the last round of new TLD's (Top Level Domains) were assigned, but ICANN turned them down. They now are working on creating a .kids.us for family-friendly surfing.

Our Constitution is a document created to define the legal relationship of the people and the federal government. In the first amendment, the freedom of speech is guaranteed to all Americans. This freedom is important, especially in these troubled times. Government censorship is acceptable only in limited circumstances, and it must remain that way. We must keep a careful eye on what we permit and do not permit.

Yet, as I look around on the Internet, there are a lot of things I think we need to keep our children away from until they are adults and can make up their own minds, not just pornography. Hatred, violence (other than accurate historical depictions of events), drugs, alcohol...

So we are once again faced with a choice. Unfortunately the government's choice of software protection is flawed. It does block some sites that might be helpful to people at libraries. It could be accomplished with a rating system. The libraries check the requested web sites against a list of permitted web sites. Each site on the list would have to apply for inclusion. But there would be problems with this approach as well. An unscrupulous web site operator might get approved then put up more pages that include hate or pornography.

I liked the idea of a family-friendly area defined by domain, but the US government learned an important lesson about the global internet community. It was probably a humbling experience for some of the politicians, when ICANN told them they could not have a .kids domain.

Randy Golden, Publisher


Randy's Corner
Notes from our publisher, Randy Golden

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