cr> Eshoo: Watching smoke curl


Craig A. Johnson

Date:          Fri, 29 Mar 1996 15:26:58 -0500
From:          Dave Farber <•••@••.•••>
Subject:       IP: IP: Reforming the Communications Decency Act:
To:            •••@••.••• (interesting-people mailing list)

From: "Craig A. Johnson" <•••@••.•••>
To: Dave Farber <•••@••.•••>


FYI, this interview is somewhat disingenuous, since Eshoo's bill is an
attempt to install a standard at the federal level -- the "harmful to
minors" standard -- which contains the "patently offensive" criterion
which we have challenged as unconstitutional, as presented in the CDA.

The "harmful to minors" standard has never been tested at the
federal level, and it would create an entirely new federal category of
speech crimes.  Most importantly, it perpetuates the problem that the
"community standards" for "patently offensive" in the most repressive
community in the U.S. could be applicable to the entire Net.

Eshoo states, in the interview with Interactive Age Digital:

    REP. ESHOO: This indecency proposal that became part of the
    overall bill did not go either through the committee, nor was it
    amended on the floor of the House. This was slipped in when we
    were in the conference committee. So, my experience there -- and
    it was a very close vote on this indecency proposal - really took
    me back. It said that First Amendment rights, in my view, would be
    violated. Right alongside of that, the government -- not moms and
    dads -- would be the decider on what is harmful to minors. I'd
    been working with various individuals and organizations to shape
    legislation that would correct this, and that's what the Online
    Parental Control Act of 1996 represents.

Eshoo's bill does precisely what she so adamantly eschews:  It says
that "the government -- not moms and dads..." will decide on what is
"harmful to minors," a standard, which again is part of her Online
Parental Control Act of 1996.  But, in this case, it is hundreds of
little fiefdom-governments that will tell these "moms and dads" what
their children can see online.  How can the online community possibly
support a bill that is so transparently flawed.  Varying levels of
censorship will exist from community to community, with widely
different standards pertaining over distances of five to 10 miles.

This is progress?!

But, it is after all an election year, and the smoke-generators are
running at full tilt up on the Hill.

Best wishes,



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