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Chat rooms could face expulsion

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Web sites like Amazon.com and MySpace.com may soon be inaccessible for many people using public terminals at American schools and libraries, thanks to the U.S. House of Representatives.

By a 410-15 vote on Thursday, politicians approved a bill that would effectively require that "chat rooms" and "social networking sites" be rendered inaccessible to minors, an age group that includes some of the Internet's most ardent users. Adults can ask for permission to access the sites.

219uxco.png Source: Cnet News

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Umm... okaaaaay... stupid question: what ever happened to freedom of speech?

Is that now only reserved for adults? Maybe kids shouldn't be allowed to talk until they turn 18 as well, right?

It seems to me that ever since the dawn of the Internet, the US government has been looking for excuses to pass all kinds of f@#$ed bills. Phone tapping? The inability to legally copy your own purchased movies and CDs?

Scary times indeed...

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Freedom of Speech (better known as Freedom of Expression) means you have the freedom to express yourself without government censorship. It does not mean, however, that you are automatically entitled to a platform on which to perform your expression, which is what this is about.

This bill only covers schools and libraries which are federally funded. Since federal funding is a choice that schools and libraries can accept or deny, no actual direct government censorship is being comitted (only the following of a contract that is entered into when funding is accepted).

The schools and libraries under this contract can just as easily exit the contract by ceasing government funding, at which point censorship will cease (as it was only part of the funding contract).

If you are in someone else's environment (a business that isn't yours, a library, a school, some other public place) then you do not automatically have complete freedom -- you are in someone else's house and you are under obligation to follow the contract (i.e., terms of use/acceptable use policy, etc) that you've entered into by being at said location. This also means that you can be removed from the premises if your expression is not welcomed. (That is also not a breach of freedom of speech).

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