HB 139

Michael Place mp at xmission.com
Thu Jan 24 13:58:54 MST 2008

Rep. Daw,

I was really discouraged to find your name attached to HB 139.

The bill does virtually nothing to protect children and does so much to
damage Utah's ability to compete as a state which encourages technical

We've seen time and time again that age verification doesn't work. It's
reminiscent of the disaster COPA was. COPA established a Commission on
Online Child Protection which released the following statement as a part
of their report:

“This system’s limitations include the fact that some children have
access to credit cards, and it is unclear how this system would apply to
sites outside the U.S. It [age-based credit card verification] is not
effective at blocking access to chat, newsgroups, or instant messaging.”

Nor would it be effective in any plan to block access by minors to free
and open WiFi.

I'm deeply concerned that in your effort to protect children, you're
creating a walled garden for free and open Internet access while at the
same time, falsely leading parents into a sense of security about the
safety of their children online.

As I've argued before, a better alternative to this approach would be to
encourage the AG's office to increase their sponsorship of programs that
teach children how to use the Internet safely and responsibly. 

I am cc:'ing several technical mailing lists in this letter. 

I believe that if you reach out to these groups and work with them in
the spirit of helping to educate children instead of simply hampering
open Internet access that you'll find a smart and capable community
willing to work with you. 

I urge you to make overtures toward these groups and to refocus your
efforts toward developing youth programs aimed at education instead of
broadly targeted, ineffective legislation. Working together we can
create a very effective educational network and truly help children stay


-Michael Place
mp at xmission.com

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