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Friday, January 20, 2006

Senators blast porn industry

In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing yesterday, senators "blasted what they called an 'explosion' in Internet pornography and threatened to enact new laws aimed at targeting sexually explicit Web sites," CNET reports. It started with Chairman Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska, saying that the adult entertainment industry "needs to take swift moves to devise a rating system and to clearly mark all its material as 'adult only'." Online child protection is suddenly big news. The hearing came a day after news broke that the Bush administration was asking a federal court in California to force Google to turn over data on users' search results - data that other search engines apparently have turned over to the Justice Department. The DOJ says it's seeking this info to prepare for the Child Online Protection Act trial next October. As for yesterday's hearing, the senators' comments, CNET says, "were uncannily reminiscent of similar complaints from politicians a decade ago. In January 1996, Congress approved the Communications Decency Act, which was soundly rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress also approved a ban on computer-generated child pornography - which was also shot down by the justices on free-speech grounds."

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