Angry parents who want to stop child predators on the internet would like to see a strict law against talk online that would indicate that one user is advancing sexually upon the other user, and assuming one of the users is an adult and the other is a minor. In other words they want to prevent crime by attacking crime’s premeditations, assuming they know what those premeditations were, or if those thoughts were going to become actions. It’s a lot of assumptions in this new idea of crime fighting on the Internet. It is the manifestation of the Thought Police that we all used to snicker about when pondering the future. The future is here.
Now that Republican politicians, at all levels of governing, have displayed a pattern of hunting and flirting with underage boys on the internet, we should take advantage of the up-swell of the voices of angry mothers and fathers to address the technology that brought us to this point and not cast blame on the right to free expression granted to us all by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. Free expression of the type granted by the First Amendment came first and foremost to our country. This unique characteristic has allowed our country to grow thus far. It has kept our government in-check and our populace more satisfied, given their frequent and easy ability to express themselves.
There are so many among us who would take the easy way out of a technical problem. Easy as they see it to change, or violate the ideals of, the Constitution rather than attack a huge technically challenging problem. Such is the case with children on the Internet and the dangers they face from pedophiles, imagery, or disturbing and unhealthful ideology.
I defend the idea that was the United States of America as it was foreseen at the time of its creation. I do not defend its boundaries, or its wealth, or military power, or any particular culturally popular trend. I defend the Bill or Rights, particularly the first ten amendments, for they are almost entirely personal to you and I, they describe the limitations in our relationship with our government. For example as personal as an experience on the internet is, as the privacy that one expects when using the internet for communication, for expression, and for valued information transfer.
Four points of fact around this issue:
Four points of fact around this issue:
- The Internet has allowed child predators access to a new tool. Nevertheless, be aware the old tools that were reliable to predators still remain; hanging at the ice-cream shop, bringing a cute dog to the playground and etc..
- Child predators are harder to catch given the anonymity of the net. The predators are practiced at appearing to be peers.
- Children on-line are easily fooled by false identity.
- Children on-line are often unsupervised by an at-home adult. The home computer has become the new nanny to the television’s reign in that role.
Two ongoing programs to protect children using the Internet must receive serious attention from the federal government because the states would turn nearly any initiative to deal with a national endemic into a mish-mash of corruptible and escapable laws with no teeth. The first is information gathering: who, when, on what technology, where from, what times, what ages, at what frequency of use. The second is mandating identity proof for teenagers. Perhaps cards that unlock computer terminals, or keyboards, or modems, for all teenagers and children. The magnetic strip wallet sized card could contain the information and double as a photo id to protect the safety and use by the minor in many other functions.
The Social Security Administration is the appropriate management organization to be expanded to accept this role of security and identity and statistical information gathering. What organization is better to establish accurate birth dates? Who better to track identity cards than a management network that already issues SSI cards and assumes the role of fund management for nearly every US citizen.
- Technological answers must be used to address to this technological problem. Answers such as:
- Identification cards for all children. Swipe cards used at every keyboard. Cards should expire at age eighteen so that no adult could use them past the holder’s eighteenth birthday, nor could another minor use the card, if stolen or lost. Adult users could operate solely with passwords to unlock terminals at home or in public.
- Corporate sponsors could offer earned gifts from stores and on-line shopping sites, adding points to ID cards, which should offer incentive to care for the card and to use it properly, by one’s self.
- Every newly registering URL must belong to an adult. Every domain registration company must wait in compliance form identification to be verified. Every adult domain must have a “dot x” label, and ISP’s will be responsible for verification. Every commercial chat service or IM provider would have to save and deliver to each parent or guardian a full log of their minor’s conversations.
- Restriction to supervised use of any computer, such as at a library, to any paroled or past sex offender, as a strict condition of release. If a parent or guardian chooses to only allow supervised online time, his or her password would be required within a timed period of the minor’s sign-in, or swipe through.
- The ID card issued to the minor could have a tracer tag implanted within, rendering the card useless if tampered with. The “taggent,” could be vital in locating the child should he or she disappear.
If we allow perverts to force a change in our fundamental rights, rights which were paramount in beginning our nation, then we have become lazy, selfish, narrow minded fools. Our Bill of Rights is not just a set of protections against our government and a compilation of rights, it is a table of challenges through the ages to be met by the generations. Let’s not be the generation of soft sided pansies ready to fold at signs that cause us real fear.
When the parentally outraged are calmed down enough to think straight, without calling for everyone’s head (understandably), talk can proceed regarding a real solution which doesn’t affect our freedom, the freedom that existed long before cyber-stalking or other such internet behavior. Be ready however, for the hundreds of individual stories of little boys and girls who lost their freedom to perverts while “those ACLU types,” are fighting to protect the freedom of children who will grow to have rights and use them accordingly as adults.