March 13, 2007The Connecticut legislature is considering a bill that would require social networking sites, such as MySpace or Facebook, to verify the age of users of the site or face a fine of up to $5000 per day.
One of the highlights of State Attorney General Blumenthals's testimony (a chief architect of the bill) now posted on the state AG's website, is this choicey tidbit, "If we can put a man on the moon -- or invent the Internet -- we can reliably check ages."
The development expenses of an ID system, Apollo-like project or not, can be easily born by MySpace or Facebook, both multi-million dollar firms. However, many smaller sites may have to be taken down altogether if they fail to meet this burden. It seems that MySpace and Facebook would end up benefiting from this as...
March 6, 2007Wired Blogs reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling which found that Ziinet.com and 700law.com, two sites offering low-cost legal advice, were essentially practicing law without a license. Jayson Reynoso, one of the users of the newly-found-illegal service praised the service saying, "Now you no longer need to spend weeks studying bankruptcy laws." Turns out you do, or at least your licensed counsel has to.
While the ruling may reflect the letter of the law, it is also a blow to those who need cheap legal advice the most, namely those on the verge of bankruptcy. This is yet another case where licensing requirements are not safeguarding consumers, but rather significantly harming them. If the service is as...
February 15, 2007Yesterday, CNET Reported the following:
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) on Tuesday reintroduced the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, first proposed last September. It calls for requiring video game rating organizations to play all games "in their entirety" before issuing labels and prohibiting game developers from withholding any "hidden" game content from raters. It would also punish ratings groups that "grossly mischaracterize" any game's content.
CNET's Anne Broache goes on to explain that one of the primary motivations for this revision of the ratings system is that ...
January 25, 2007At the DC premiere of Mine Your Own Business yesterday evening, I spoke with protesters who insisted that the 96% of the citizens of RoÅŸia MontanÄƒ were opposed to the controversial mining project that is the primary subject of the film. I'm certainly a believer in democracy (at least when an issue can't be resolved via property rights), so I thought I'd look into this more. The 96% statistic presented for all to see on bright white tag board can be found in a news release from rosiamontana.org:
Rosia Montana/Romania 22. January 2007 — A consultation process conducted by the Romanian Parliament has been inviting people to comment on the Rosia Montana mine proposal since last October. As of 22 January 2007 over 96.86% of a total of 6617 participants voted against...
January 23, 2007The Progressive Majority today reports that Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth has been banned by the The Federal Way School District in Washington State. What's interesting about this ban is the reason behind it and the Progressive Majority's reaction to it:
The board agreed, labeling the film as containing "bias." They maintain that they're not really banning the movie. They are simply not allowing the movie to be shown until the district confirms their policies on materials that contain "bias" are being followed. How can a movie based only on scientific evidence be labeled "bias?"
This is an interesting question. How could scientific evidence possibly be used to support a biased point of view?
What the author means to say is, "How could...
December 19, 2006The Charleston Daily Mail editorial page recently featured "Rockefeller is Out of Line" a critique of the Senator's "intemperate attempt to squelch debate." Sen. Rockefeller responded by noting that:
We didn't "attempt to squelch debate," as the Daily Mail suggested. Rather, our letter was, in fact, an attempt to create and foster greater debate.
And part of that debate, I believe, requires calling attention to Exxon-Mobil's funding of a pseudoscientific community whose purpose is to prevent us from tackling global climate change.
This is right out of the Washington politician play book. When told you are doing something wrong, just deny...