This doesn’t happen very often, but I have a “Google News Alert”:http://www.google.com/newsalerts set up to catch it when it does. “ContentWatch”:http://www.contentwatch.com appeared in an article called [“Safe Surfing”:http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/family/article/0,1299,DRMN_107_3028609,00.html ] on “RockyMountainNews.com”:http://www.rockymountainnews.com.
The article comes in response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a proposed federal law (i.e. the Child Online Protection Act) that would have deemed it illegal for sites to make objectionable material available to minors on the Internet. The law was considered by the court to be unenforcable (they cite that nearly 40% of sites harmful to minors are outside the U.S.), and the recommendation was that parents should use commercially available filtering software.
Now would be a good time to interject with a disclaimer: my opinions are my opinions, and mine alone. I’m not any kind of official spokesman for ContentWatch, so don’t nobody go quoting me on what I’m about to say.
I think this is a fairly well written article, and the quotes they took from our PR guy are pretty good. I especially like the practical stuff at the end about sound parenting.
I get a lot of customer support calls from people who ask me, “Is this thing going to be invisible to my kids?” No, it’s not invisible. You can’t spy on your kids with our product. It’s just not intended to work that way. If I had kids and was considering filtering software, I would sit them down and explain to them why I’m putting the filter on in the first place, and make sure they understand that it is there for their protection.
I’m not sure what I think about it this decision. I suppose I have to agree that filtering is probably going to be more effective than an unenforcable law.
Looking at it another way, though: isn’t it a little hasty to declare a law unenforcable simply because a lot of these sites are outside our nation’s jurisdiction? Can’t we at least prosecute those sites within our borders? Granted, objectionable material will still be available from sites based in other countries, but wouldn’t this send a message to the rest of the world? If America cleans up it’s riff-raff, would other countries follow suit?