cr> CYBER FLASH: Disney Values, Online Condoms


Craig A. Johnson



        Opinion polls have shown that two issues that really concern
Americans in this election year are the rising tide of violence involving
teenagers and young adults, and the erosion of family values. Alarmed by
these trends, a bipartisan Senate-House ad hoc committee is rushing a bill
to both houses that would require all Web pages to have Disney characters
on them. Proponents argue that not only would the flood of Disney
characters lighten the mood of the nation, they would also discourage
people from putting violent or indecent content on the Internet. Disney
will only charge about one-hundredth of its normal character licensing fee,
which will be paid by the FCC. Congress is concerned that this program
should not affect the as-yet unresolved budget impasse, so a 0.01 percent
increase in Federal tax on long-distance telecommunications bill is
proposed to pay for this program. Goldman Sachs analyst Mick E. Duck
estimates that the new licensing revenue could boost Disney earnings by as
much as 30 percent. Disney stock jumped 3 points in early trading today.

(Source: Congressional Record Online, Section III-v.2/dv-lic/253s, April 1,
1996, and PointCast Wall Street Report).


        Some of the chat lines on the Internet have been active with sex
talk, and questions of fidelity and commitment have appeared in advice
columns for those carrying on cyberspace romances. It is no wonder that the
part of the new telecom act dealing with "decency" provisions is seen as
intrusive, even draconian, by most Netizens. Several court challenges have
been made to this portion of the telecom act. Consenting adult Americans
don't want Uncle Sam messing around with their right to reach out and
cyber-touch other consenting adults.

        Confident that "decency" provisions of the telecom act will be
reigned in by the courts and that the boom in sex chats will
continue, Miami-based Remote-Luv Software has come up with its
Remote-Safe brand cyber-condom. By paying $19.95, consenting sex chat
partners can download the Remote-Safe cyber-condom software from the
company's website Once the
software is copied on the user's hard disk, it will screen for words
or concepts that could infect or impregnate across a chat link. An
artificial intelligence scanner built into the cyber-condom tracks
and updates such words and concepts. Users can adjust the settings
according to the degree of intimacy desired, religious beliefs and
sociocultural taboos, and even position on the liberal-conservative
political spectrum.

(Source: Cited in Ruth Wetheimer, "Cyber Sex is Good for Your Health",
Village Voice online edition, April 1-8, 1996)


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