Dear Alberto Gonzales, US Attorney General:
Morality is taught to our children by their parents and cannot be dictated by the government. A government of the people takes the views of all the people and if a person standing to my left has opinions, beliefs and morals differing from the person on my right it is neither the right nor the place of the government to force the views of one of those people upon the other as long as a person’s stand does not cause harm to another person. Mr. Gonzales will argue that 18 USC 2257 is protecting our children from harm and I strongly disagree.
18 USC 2257 is blatant censorship. It is electronic bookburning stiffling a creative outlet as sited in the Boing Boing article "Rotten.com: our gapingmaw.com and other sites shut in anticipation of 2257"
We might mention that the material here isn’t even pornography as you normally think of it — this site is just adult humor, in essay format, with some illustrations. The government is mandating that we meet certain bookkeeping requirements, ones impossible to meet for this site. Never mind that those requirements do not actually gain the public anything. This is the strongest attack on free speech since the passage of the CDA, and oddly, the media seems to have hardly noticed. The penalty for not abiding by these bookkeeping requirements is five years prison.
Because the nature of their site is user submissions of adult humor they will receive pictures for which they cannot document the person in the picture therefore their site must cease to exist.
I am not advocating child pornography but I do put the onus of protection of children on the parents. Parents must protect their children from from the evils of the world through education and involvement. Children will see hardcore magazines at their friends houses; children will experience horrific things (death, the twin towers, etc); children will see things on their friend’s Internet connection. You can cleanse your house but you cannot blindfold your children when they leave the house. Parents must protect their children from exploitation through supervision and education. If the parent is an abuser, the parent must seek help.
18 USC 2257 is the equivalent to Prohibition.
Prohibition also presented lucrative opportunities for organized crime to take over the importation (“bootlegging”), manufacture, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. Al Capone, one of the most famous bootleggers of them all, built his criminal empire largely on profits from illegal alcohol. [ source ]
You are attacking inadvertant distributors who would happily pull the content if it was suspect. You have not protected a child. Shutting down a site that showed a child depicting a sexual act has not stopped the adult from abusing that child. If anything, shutting down the site removes a digital footprint to finding the adult that should prosecuted. 18 USC 2257 will drive child pornographers into more ingenious distribution methods that may be more elusive to prosecution.
Where does this stop? Will Blogger shut down because they have no control over what I post? Will that picture of my naked newborn scare them enough to erase my writings?
A powerful, thought provoking statement from the gapingmaw.com statement: "No nation has freedom when it is run by religious zealots."
A parent who wants his children to grow up in a free society.