Friday, July 28, 2006

MySpace Shouldn't Be Allowed In A School's Tubes

Congress seems to be great at passing bills that are all cost and no benefit. Ted Stevens, the wunderkid of magical tubes that deliver internets brings us a doozy.

By an overwhelming vote, the U.S. House has passed a bill that would require public schools and libraries to prevent minors from accessing “social networking sites” and “chat rooms.” Initially designed to apply to MySpace — that great evil — the bill is worded so vaguely that it may apply to sites like Amazon, LinkedIn and Slashdot. “(Social networking sites) have become a haven for online sexual predators who have made these corners of the Web their own virtual hunting ground,” said Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, one of the original sponsors of the “Deleting Online Predators Act” or DOPA.

Let’s begin by saying that it is impossible to block websites. I have made a career out of trying and it simply isn’t possible. As soon as you shut down one avenue, three more open up. And students, even more than corporate peons, have nothing but time on their hand and an incredible desire to break the rules. If China, a nation that wants to block everything can’t accomplish the feat – why are we expecting our schools to do the same?

So now that we have learned that Congress has attempt to legislate the impossible, what is going to be the result? Schools will spend millions in software and labor trying to play catch up with those ingenious little bastards. Of course some parents will find out that their son or daughter has been accessing MySpace, et al from school and lawsuits will ensue. Schools will then spend millions of dollars in lawyer’s fees defending themselves.

Lawyers get rich. Software companies get rich. Systems engineers will continue to be underpaid and under qualified. Schools will shift money from students to pointless causes.

Is it any wonder that our schools are in such miserable shape?

More thoughts at OutOfControl.

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