Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Internet Safety Technical Task Force finds Internet not dangerous for minors, but questions age verification attempts

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force has issued a final report (Tuesday Jan 13) “Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies: Final Report of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force to the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking of State Attorneys General of the United States” with the link here on the Harvard Law School site. The report is almost 300 pages long, like a book. The Task Force found that, as a whole, cyberbullying among teens was a far more serious threat that sexual predators (as in the notorious NBC Dateline series). Unlike many other sources, it feels that most Internet users in the US use it in good faith. Apparently it does not think most general content is harmful to minors. Furthermore (relative to what was already litigated in COPA) it found that it would be hard for companies to verify the ages of minors because they usually lack driver’s licenses (since states are raising ages) and their own insurance. Apparently the unsuitability of using credit cards for this purpose is a given now, as it was analyzed in the COPA trial in 2006.

The New York Times has a story on the report on p A14 on Wednesday Jan. 14, by Brad Stone, here.

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