So the dopey House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed DOPA, and we’ve got to get our acts together to make sure Senators have more of a clue about what’s happening with technology out here in the “real” world. I wonder how many of them come even close to “getting” everything that’s shifting and changing, the way we are connecting, the learning that’s happening in social spaces, the fact that this bill takes away our ability to teach our students in meaningful, realistic ways not only how they can stay safe, but even more importantly, how they can learn, network, interact, and become continuous learners.
I’m really pissed at the media on a number of levels, first for they way they have sensationalized the whole MySpace issue into ratings by pumping up shows that “catch” online predators and stories that almost celebrate the ignorance of kids who aren’t being taught not to trust the people they meet online and to keep personal information private. They’ve preyed on the ignorance of the masses who really aren’t paying close attention and just scared them into thinking that there is danger at every turn, when in reality our kids are more at risk for sexual predation from their family members than online. And second, I’m mad at the media because of the utter, total lack of coverage this stupid bill has gotten. Here it is about 24 hours after the fact and there still is NOT ONE story on Google News that the bill actually passed. NOT ONE!
But why am I surprised? It’s politics. It’s fear-mongering.
So now we’ve got to take this fight, really take this fight to our senators. I have no idea of the timeframe, but it’s going to be short, and are any among us optimistic?
Here is an article that I just got forwarded that gives a pretty clear indication of what’s next…I’ll try to find the source.
Lobbying Group Criticizes Bill To Curb Networking Site Access
by Heather Greenfield
Opponents of a measure limiting certain access to social networking sites are trying to drain support for it before the Senate takes action. The House passed H.R. 5319 Wednesday evening.
The bill, sponsored by freshman Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., would require schools and libraries receiving special funding for Internet services to keep young people from accessing social networking Web sites like Myspace.com and chat rooms. There is concern that the sites have become havens for pedophiles and pornographers trolling for victims.
The Information Technology Association of America fought behind the scenes against the legislation and decided to go public with its objections early this week when it realized the legislation would be fast-tracked for a vote as part of a Republican initiative aimed at
passing issues that matter to the Suburban Caucus.
“We’re concerned that on the face of it, this is one of those overly broad pieces of legislation,” said association Vice President Mark Uncapher.
While the legislation leaves it up to the FCC to define what exactly will be allowed, Uncapher said the concern is it could deny access to any area of the Internet where users may post home pages or other information, including Amazon.com book reviews, for example, or on sites like America Online, eBay and Yahoo. ITAA plans to meet with
Senate leaders and staff to express those concerns.
“I am extremely pleased that the House moved so quickly to pass this important legislation,” Fitzpatrick said.
“As chairman of the Suburban Agenda Caucus, we are very proud of Congressman Fitzpatrick’s bipartisan leadership to protect children from this new threat,” said Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
While there currently is no companion Senate legislation, it is the Suburban Caucus’ job to find a vehicle and make sure issues like this pass both chambers.
President Bush signed H.R. 4472 Thursday, a child protection and safety act that included portions of an Internet safety bill sponsored by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. aimed at curbing online child pornography. That eliminates one likely Senate vehicle, but there are others.
A caucus staff member said the item could be attached to other legislation to promote child safety, including a bill from Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., that had been introduced.
“We’re actively engaged, and we hope to see action in the Senate very soon,” said Fitzpatrick spokesman Jeff Urbanchuk.
“It could be picked up and rammed through quickly,” acknowledged Rick Weingarten, director of the information technology office for the American Library Association. “We certainly hope the Senate will take a more deliberative approach to the controlling the Internet than the House has.”
But he added after seeing the political maneuverings and speed of the House bill, his group is “certainly not going to sit back and wait until something happens.”
The ALA plans to send a letter Thursday afternoon to all senators. Lynne Bradley, ALA director of government relations, said librarians are concerned as anyone about child safety, but the legislation is not the best way to protect children.
“The best tool because technology changes so rapidly is education, education, education,” Bradley said.
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