Didn’t have much news to post over the last few days that was worth noting – but today I found a couple things…
Hailing from the Connecticut State government (courtesy of Jennifer Abel at the Hartford Advocate), looks at a new law that would require computer sex criminals to be monitored by the state for life. This article asks “is that practical? Could it even work?”
Please go check it out: Under Supervision. Here’s a summary:
Bill 5790 is described as “An act concerning the Internet and [the] protection of children.” Attorney General Richard Blumenthal proposed the bill.
Some parts of it make sense: Under the law, schools will have to give lessons in online safety, and child pornography will remain illegal. Other sections might set a scary precedent: In certain cases, the bill says cops “may issue a request [for information to an ISP], without compulsory legal process or court order.” (Does this mean cops now don’t need warrants to get computer records?)
Other sections of the bill are either unnecessary or downright counterproductive, in that they might lull parents into a sense of security while doing nothing to justify it. For example, one part mandates that ISP providers have to offer parental controls that let you block your kids’ access to certain sites. But, guess what, chances are your ISP already does.
The main part of the bill would require people convicted of crimes against children to undergo “a sentence of lifetime supervision” over their online access. This would entail “continued supervision, either in person or through remote monitoring, of the person’s ingoing and outgoing e-mail and other Internet-based communication,” as well as “the person’s history of Web sites visited” and “periodic unannounced inspections of the contents of the person’s computer or any other device with Internet access.”
The intent of these provisions is to keep such people from online contact with children. A noble goal, but this bill won’t accomplish it. (Read the article to see what they say about it)
My take is that while ideas from government like this are noble, they are a distraction to a solid solution. There are too many issues with proposed legislation, the list can go on and on with each proposed bill. But for this one, Instead of spending the cash to track a guy for the rest of his life, why not take that money and put it towards education and software for parents. The parental controls of ISPs are weak and very limited – better technology is needed by 21st century parents – like our PC Pandora. It’s a solid program that is specific to its nature. It’s the same way that antivirus software is the best at protecting against viruses, but not at keeping your kids safe in chatrooms from predators. ISPs are the same; they are there to provide you a connection, not control or supervise where you go with that connection.
Anyway, point is – laws should be made to invoke stiffer penalties on those caught, sure… but let’s not toss money at a measure that has been proven ineffective. Laws should also be precise and concise rather than full of language that envokes debate over an issue that is very important and serious.
In the meantime, and even I am sure well after, it’s going to always boil down to the parents’ responsibility to care for their own children. Always has been, always will be.
Cue the PC Pandora monitoring software music…