Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Justices Throw 1998 Child Online Protection Act Back To Lower Court

Great news, you net Libertarians! By a 5-to-4 majority, the US Supreme Court has thrown the 1998 Child Online Protection Act back to the lower courts, arguing that the law would dumb-down public speech on the Internet and force Web…

Great news, you net Libertarians! By a 5-to-4 majority, the US Supreme Court has thrown the 1998 Child Online Protection Act back to the lower courts, arguing that the law would dumb-down public speech on the Internet and force Web publishers to censor themselves — but perhaps technology has changed a bit, so lower courts, please look it over again, okay?

The law required that all websites wanting to display “adult“ content had to do something to verify the age of the Web surfers, such as requiring a credit card. (Although it’s not clear how that would verify age.)

The law, which has never been enforced, imposed a fine of $50,000 and up to 6 months in prison for anyone who knowingly posted content on the Internet for commercial purposes that was “harmful to minors.“

Of course, one thing that is troubling is that the Court once again came out in favor of Internet filtering services. As many people know, these services really don’t work very well. They are overly broad. They filter out things with a political bent. And the filter lists are typically secret. C’est la vie. Filtering software is the useful fiction that we use to get these much more objectionable anti-pornography laws thrown out.
Bloomberg.com has an article, and you’ll find another one on ABC News Online site. The opinion itself can be found at the Court’s website; click on “Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union.“

Keep Reading

Most Popular

AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept
AV2.0 autonomous vehicles adapt to unknown road conditions concept

The big new idea for making self-driving cars that can go anywhere

The mainstream approach to driverless cars is slow and difficult. These startups think going all-in on AI will get there faster.

biomass with Charm mobile unit in background
biomass with Charm mobile unit in background

Inside Charm Industrial’s big bet on corn stalks for carbon removal

The startup used plant matter and bio-oil to sequester thousands of tons of carbon. The question now is how reliable, scalable, and economical this approach will prove.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.