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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

Main | Let's Engage (Exploit) Our Kids With Building The Broadband Economy »

December 12, 2008 10:56 AM


So there's a lot of talk about FCC Chairman Martin's desire to auction off some wireless spectrum with strings attached, namely that whoever wins offers free nationwide Internet access and that they filter that access for porn, especially kiddie porn.

While I've argued before that I'm not sure how banning the killer app that porn is will help get more people online, but there's an even more immutable truth: you can't ever hope to stop the distribution of kiddie porn on the Internet.

For one, as I've also argued previously, how do you determine what is and isn't pornography? Does a photo of almost naked kids playing in someone's backyard swimming pool count? What if that photo was uploaded by the mom of a kid vs. a voyeuristic pervert? How do you distinguish? Where's the line going to be drawn and who's going to draw it between appropriate and inappropriate?

But there's an even more shocking angle to this: a new study shows that one out of five teenagers have put nude pics of themselves online.

The majority of these were sent between teen lovers, but regardless of why think how many naked pictures of underage boys and girls that means are floating around in the digital ether. And these aren't pics created by or intended for perverts, yet once they go online at least some are likely to end up where they shouldn't.

So what does this mean for the crusade against online kiddie porn? While I'm all for aggressive efforts to identify and prosecute its purveyors, creators, and consumers, I can't help but think it's ham-handed and foolish to think you can succeed by filtering all of the Internet. There are just too many gray areas, and too many inappropriate images being sent around for that to be feasible.

If you want to get serious about this issue then we should find some way to attach virtual homing devices to images and videos that can be used to track them to the computers of pedophiles.

I don't think we can ever get rid of kiddie porn entirely and its foolish to even set that as the goal. Instead we should stay focused on an aggressive campaign to tracking down and punishing those responsible, especially anyone trying to turn a profit on this despicable act.

Government can't allow ideology and good intentions to trump reality and commonsense.

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