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US Senator proposes jail time for naughty e-mailers

12 February 1995

beware decency

we have seen the enemy, and we pay his salary


Senator Leahy (D-VT) has proposed an alternative bill,

S. 714

the "Child Protection, User Empowerment, and Free Expression In Interactive Media Study Bill".

I'm usually against "gridlock" government committees discussing endlessly, but it beats hasty action.

There's another net petition drive to show our support.


Shades of S314:
New York State Senate Bill S210
"Creates the crimes of disseminating indecent materials to minors" as felonies.

In an event timed well to the pernicious posting on alt.sex.stories Democratic Nebraska U.S. Senator James Exon has proposed S.314, The Communications Decency Act of 1995, asking for, amongst other things, two year prison terms for anyone sending obscene or harassing e-mail. Prison overcrowding, anyone? How about knee-jerk legislation?

This guy calls himself a democrat! Check out this thinking:

"I think young people, especially small children, should be able to cruise that superhighway without being endangered by a whole series of smut, pornography, call it what you will."
It's a slippery slope Exon; if we remove some prurient content from the net, whose to say we won't miss some good stuff? I think he's anticipated me:
"I hope that the action that we plan to take in the United States Senate will simply clear out some of the smut, some of the pornography, while not interfering with the legitimate rights of any citizen."
Does this sound plausible? I'll tell you what, I'll feel my legitimate rights are infringed when Smut Shacktress bianca troll is detained for questioning by the Internet decency corps. Or, when jackboots come sailing in my door because I wrote my girlfriend I was eager to tongue her between the legs.

Those above quotes from a pretty decent CNN Debate with Exon and Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Of course, Exon and Marc start flirting with each other's positions, there's no black and white struggle for truth and justice - I wish this guy whould have made of an idiot of this Senator saying stuff like:

" Well, let me say this - the first thing everyone should recognize that right now there is a bulletin board that almost anyone can check into. It lists different subjects. It goes into sex. You can plug into that, and you can get all kind of lewd, obscene smut material. I think we've got to take some action now before this gets out of hand, and I want to work with Marc and others who are very much concerned about the First Amendment, as I am. But I think we can get something done if we work together instead of just throwing up our hands and saying this is so big we can't do anything about it."
We're saying "this is so cool, why should we kill it?" He's saying "lewd, obscene smut material ... gets out of hand."

So this warrants laws, court and jail time, and fines? Is this what government is for?

Community policing - catch the wave! If kids are sufing the net, someone is paying for their account, probably not them. Let that person decide how, and if, they want to regulate content! Otherwise, you are stripping adults of online sexual discourse.

He has flashes of flexiblity, but hey - check out his bill:

"Whoever... makes, transmits, or otherwise makes available and comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, or indecent"

is in for a big penalty - up to $100k and 2 years!

Since he mentions both makes, and transmits, service providers are lumped in as well. So, everyone providing net access is going to have to have a big kill file looking for sex material, to keep themselves from going to jail?

That ain't the greatest communications medium, that's crippled crap. I wanna talk about sex! I wanna talk filthily about it! Senator Exon is threatening cybersexual discourse in the 21st century - somebody stop this bozo.

Please don't try to solve content troubles on the Internet the same way we've tried to solve the drug problem in this country. I don't want to pay taxes to put more of my fellow Americans in jail for crimes of prurience.


Visit the stop the Communications Decency Act page and sign their petition. Much media and info on the bill is available here as well, including the text of the bill, various analyses, and updates.

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