Congress Goes After “Social Networking” and MySpace

Andy Carvin just started "Learning Now," a new blog for PBS on "the crossroads of Internet culture and education." Yesterday, he discussed a new bill from Congress that would that would

require schools and libraries to block access to online social networks…According to the proposed legislation, the bill

prohibits access by minors without parental authorization to a commercial social networking website or chat room through which minors may easily access or be presented with obscene or in- decent material; may easily be subject to unlawful sexual advances, unlawful requests for sexual favors, or repeated offensive comments of a sexual nature from adults may easily access other material that is harmful to minors.

Andy adds this caveat:

The bill does have a loophole for allowing educational uses of online social networks. The legislation states that the filtering may be switched off “during use by an adult or by minors with adult supervision to enable access for educational purposes.” It remains to be seen whether schools will allow educators to deactivate the filter to allow such access, given the poor track record many schools have for letting educators make decisions over which sites get filtered and when.

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