Tuesday, November 07, 2006

COPA: The government will present soon


I was working on the Elections today (as an official)--itself an interesting controversy with its own legal minefields. There was a last minute systems analysis drill in balancing and interpreting numbers. More about that some other time.

I see that the ACLU blog indicates that government testimony starts very soon. It will emphasize the "effectiveness" of credit card and adult-id cards, and the "ineffectiveness" of filters from a lexical point of view.

My general impression of the filters issue goes along with my interest in content labels, which I think are a more promising solution. But you have to sit down and figure out how much responsibility webmasters, software companies, and parents respectively will have. "Who picks up the tab." Who is his brother's keeper? We know that some of the plaintiffs are parents themselves and have no difficulty with teaching their own kids how to react to adult materials. So this is somewhat of a class and weatlh and education issue, as Justice Bryer noted in the 2004 dissent.

I see that I am apparently Exhibit 118 (I think those are probably materials from my "Do Ask Do Tell" books and from my experimental screenplays, especially "The Sub" where a substitute teacher gets into trouble when tempted. I note that on Nov 6 there is testimony to the effect of the continuity of concerns over prosecution, over a variety of materials presented by the plaintiffs that provde a variety of possible visitor responses. For example, some visitors, even minors, would find safer sex information (or info on condoms) helpful in preventing STDs (hence serious value), whereas some parents would view this as prurient and against their family values. Some parents would view materials such as mine prurient with respect to minors more as a result of cultural or situational context (including what is known about the author) and what may seem like shocking ideas of admissions of temptation, than anything like explicit sex, as my materials have little or no explicit sex but have sometimes greatly disturbed (or "offended") some people. (remember, by the way, that vulnerability to mental "Tempatation" is not itself defamatory; Jesus himself was tempted in the Bible, as are many religious right members every day, as we know from the news.) And some people need to be offended once in a while for their own good.

The idea of labeling content that is disturbing in nature (with metatags) make sense to me just the way movie ratings make sense (remove the bureaucracy, please). But credit cards and adult-id cards could not work at all. Again, most outright porn sites already put most of their material behind credit cards and make people pay for it. The sites that the plaintiffs have are totally different in nature from these.

I have not testified (at least not as of now) or been deposed. Anyone who wants to contact me can find cell phone the info here.

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