Alex Jones' Flunky Watson: Keep Child Porn Online
Kudos to our commenter Jay who points out this bizarre column by Alex Jones' sidekick Paul Joseph Watson.
Republican Senator John McCain has introduced legislation that would fine blogs up to $300,000 for offensive statements, photos and videos posted by visitors on comment boards, effectively nixing the open exchange of ideas on the Internet, providing a lethal injection for unrestrained opinion, and acting as the latest attack tool to chill freedom of speech on the world wide web.
McCain's proposal, called the "Stop the Online Exploitation of Our Children Act," encourages informants to shop website owners to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who then pass the information on to the relevant police authorities.
Comment boards for specific articles are extremely popular and also notoriously hard to moderate. Popular articles often receive comments that run into the thousands over the course of time. In many cases, individuals hostile to the writer's argument deliberately leave obscene comments and images simply to sully the reputation of the website owners. Therefore under the terms of this bill, right-wing extremists from a website like Free Republic could effectively terminate a liberal leaning website like Raw Story by the act of posting a single photograph of a naked child. This precedent could be the kiss of death for blogs as we know them and its reverberations would negatively impact the entire Internet.
Sounds horrible, except when we visit McCain's page on the proposed legislation, it turns out to be nothing like that:
Contrary to what has been reported by some news outlets, the reporting requirements in the legislation would apply only to child pornography. In addition, the bill is in no way targeted at the free speech rights of bloggers or anyone else communicating their views on the Internet.
"For example, the speech rights of bloggers and others online would not be impacted because the legislation does not require the monitoring of users or the content of any communication. Nor does it require online service providers to seek out child pornography on their sites. Rather, it requires online service providers to report child pornography when they become aware of it, either through a report from a subscriber or user, or through a discovery of the material by an employee. As a result, the reporting requirement would protect children while not imposing a financial or administrative burden on online service providers.
"I cherish the rights of individuals to speak freely on the Internet. That right and the ability to exercise it is what makes the Internet the critical innovation that it is. This bill doesn’t interfere with that, but is intended only to ensure that online service providers that find child pornography on their networks report those images to the appropriate authorities."