One in five has met a predator online?

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  1. I understand the support of something like the legislation proposed by McCain, but I don’t see a real serious effort at it combating pedophiles or child predators. It would be nice in the way that more people would help out when the come across things online if they knew exactly who to go to with it. If you see someone breaking into a car on your street, you know exactly who to give that information to, but there’s nothing clear about online crimes. So for that area I understand.
    But when you think of the online communication method used by Mark Foley, then this McCain bill doesn’t do anything to prevent that. It deals with people posting on the internet, which would be trying to do something about child pornography, and I understand the effort there, but it doesn’t do anything about contacting and chatting with minors, which is what I think most people are concerned about with the internet.
    So we basically get this massive data mining initiative that shows no end results in reducing that “1 in 5” contacts number. It is something that I think largely goes back to the parents to be more cautious of, and is an easy “patriotism” type issue for Congress to take advantage of and make no constructive investigation into how to help the problem.

  2. To begin with, I would like to know where Abe Saavedra pulled that number out of. Last I heard, the Secret Service was a part of the Treasury Dept, and handled Presidential security as well as crimes related to the money supply (e.g. forgery.) So, I am guessing it came from the stratosphere, where the air is really thin. And, since ‘most kids don’t tell their parents”, it is gonna be hard to disprove.
    As to McCain’s latest bill: I don’t know about others, but I do “sweep my own nest” – but I don’t know that I would be willing to take on the data-retention burden that this bill appears to ram down our throats. However, I do know that McCain is a bit miffed at the blogosphere for opposing McCain-Feingold, and I personally think this may be his form of payback.

  3. One last comment: I wonder if we are preparing for the post-War on Terror era now, setting up the next group of sacrificial lambs on the altar of Big Brotherism. This time, the government may have hit the jackpot – unlike other groups, pedophiles really don’t have the ability to garner much sympathy, so if they propose massive data-mining activities, special ‘renditioning centers’, trial by kangaroo court special tribunal, yada yada yada, who is gonna oppose them? After all, if you aren’t with us, you are with them – and being a supporter of one of them will make you an Enemy of the People. Besides, even thinking of doing anything which might support a pedophile simply makes the skin crawl. ewwww.
    And, if all else fails, remember: We are Doing This for the Children.

  4. …while I can sympathize, I can’t actually empathize (this being a little blog rather than a monster).

    Polimom, do you have access to the raw server logs? Do you have a plan in place to retain those logs for up to 7 years (or however long this bill, or its successors, might require?) Do you, a humble little blogger out on the Katy prairie, really want to become a full-time system administrator, dropping everything else you are doing because the government wants to ‘audit’ your blog?
    Think about it.

  5. One more thing: some years ago, there was an extortion ring running around that threatened to put child porn on your machine if you didn’t pay up – this would actually be fairly easy to do via these networks of compromised machines, so if you wanted to ‘take down’ your competitor’s blog (or site), you simply find a ‘bot-master for hire, and have him load them up with naughty images – then drop a dime to the Feds.

  6. Jack’s right: Although there’s a difference between the Foley approach and the anonymity of the chats, much of what scares parents like me is embodied in that “one in five” message.
    The information age has a number of pluses, but this is an aspect that was (I think) unanticipated. And it absolutely wasn’t foreseen by our founding fathers, and the free speech amendment is going to come under great scrutiny soon, I think.
    EdT — I absolutely appreciate what you’re saying. However, I also think James Joyner’s analysis on this (linked in the post under “Or not”) was one of the few calm and reasoned reactions, and when I followed his lnks for more info, I could see his take on it as far more likely than the hysterical reactions I read elsewhere.
    Does that mean McCain isn’t upset with the blogosphere? Of course not — but for now, at least, I’m not at all convinced that this particular bogeyman has any legs.

  7. …much of what scares parents like me is embodied in that “one in five” message.

    Which is, IMNSHO, exactly the purpose of the “one in five” message – to scare folks. It is very similar to the message given after 9/11, and the response – that surrendering “a little bit” of civil liberties is OK “in the name of (airline safety | national security | fighting Islamofascist terrorism | etc.)
    The goal (protecting children) is certainly an admirable one – but I do wonder if the means to the end produces the desired results, or if it simply has the (maybe unintended) result of chilling expression, as people tend to take the easiest route to mitigate the risk – eliminate it, by eliminating the blog/website (or at least by not allowing commentary/profiles/etc.)
    And, please remember that the Internet is not “anonymous” – in almost every instance the unique address of the communication is available, though it may take some effort. You may be able to obfuscate your identity (pretend that you are someone you aren’t), but you can’t be entirely anonymous – because otherwise you would not be able to receive any return communications!
    A better ‘solution’, I think, would be to educate the children in how to recognize/report/avoid physical contact when suspicious circumstances arise. This, however, requires communications with the children, something that many are afraid of. It also requires that we take the problem seriously — a pre-K student touching his teacher’s breast while giving her a hug is not “sexual assault”, regardless of what a prosecutor might think.

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