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Re: Utah considers law to mandate ISP's block "harmful" sites

  • From: Eric A. Hall
  • Date: Mon Mar 07 02:04:43 2005

On 3/6/2005 11:45 PM, Steve Sobol wrote:

> "A spokesman for newly elected Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman..."
> The key words here are "newly elected" and 

Well as long as we are projecting our ghosts and guessing, I would argue
the opposite. For one thing, his term started Jan 3 [1], while the law was
first read Jan 28 [2], which is an awfully short time for a first-time
elected official to bend a unified state congress to his will. The quotes
in the CNET article don't seem to indicate any kind of ownership either,
and I'd expect that.

>From the other end of the wire, look at the votes that the bill has
enjoyed, "Nobody spoke against the bill during the committee hearing" [3],
the general electoral trend in Utah [4], the presence of the Mormon
church, the history of Utah wrt pornography law and enforcement (Hatch is
principle sponsor for the federal child porno laws that have been struck
down, and there are lots of other things going on), and I think it's
probably fair to guess that the law was presented by the legislature as
part of routine business--they probably really want to be avoid this
stuff. I'd suppose, therefore, that "way-of-life" is probably a much more
accurate descriptor for the event than suggesting that it was a stunt by a
newbie governor.

Of course, this is all outside-the-fishbowl stuff, since my limited
experience with the state is not being able to buy any booze on one
side-trip, and merely enjoying the scenery on another. But guessing at
this stuff is certainly entertaining.

For folks still reading, here's what the Deseret Morning News says [5]:

| If HB260 is approved, it would require that Utah-based companies
| begin rating their sites for potentially harmful materials, which
| is primarily nudity or sexual activities, according to guidelines
| established by the Utah Consumer Protection Services Division.
| At the same time, the Utah Attorney General's Office would start
| developing a registry of those companies that do not rate their
| sites as potentially harmful to minors, and by 2007 would allow
| Internet service providers to offer that list to their customers
| for filtering.
| The bill also appropriates $100,000 for marketing and advertising
| campaigns to educate parents about the dangers of the Internet
| and $50,000 to research the effectiveness of various filtering
| technologies.
| Because the law would only apply to Utah-based companies, it
| would not violate the interstate commerce clause of the U.S.
| Constitution, which has hampered most other Internet control
| legislation, he said. Also, consumers choosing to use the
| registry to block sites would be made aware of the fact that
| because the registry would only contain domain names, some
| innocous material may not be accessible.
| "Consumers will be informed that they are making the choice to
| block this material," he said. "They will also be told that
| some information which is not harmful could be blocked."


Eric A. Hall                              
Internet Core Protocols

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