Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Free speach?

Well, I'd call my representitives and tell them to vote against this bill before Congress gets arbitrary authority over the Internet.

If enacted, it would "Amend the Federal criminal code to make it unlawful for any person engaged in a gambling business to knowingly use the Internet or any other interactive computer service to: (1) place, receive or otherwise make a bet or wager; or (2) send, receive, or invite information assisting in the placing of a bet or wager." Criminal penalties include fines and up to five years' imprisonment.

. . .

The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act gives Congress the authority to go to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and order that they not provide linkages to online gambling establishments. If you think Congress will be satisfied with restrictions only on gambling establishments, you're going to be disappointed. After all, the Internet provides people with access to other establishments that can be said to "cause innumerable problems in our society." There are various hate groups with Internet sites that spew vile propaganda. There are pornographic sites. There are sites that present political ideas or religious fanaticism that are offensive to many people and can "cause innumerable problems in our society."

Now a more interesting issue is how this relates to the laws of a properly ordered society. Perhaps states, since they have police powers, would in fact be able to protect people from themselves when it comes to things like adultery or contraception. But does the federal government have this authority? I can't see that it does, short of amending the Constitution.

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