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Illinois To Ban Social Networks?

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There’s a lot of talk surrounding a bill currently being proposed by Alaska senator Ted Stevens, which would place restrictions on access to social networks within public schools. Legislation introduced in Illinois, however, seeks to completely ban these sites from the state’s schools.

Illinois state senator Matt Murphy, a republican, has introduced a bill entitled the “Social Networking Web Site Prohibition Act” which would effectively ban the surfing of any social network sites from computers in public school libraries.

Here are some excerpts from the bill courtesy of Michael Stephens:

Senate Bill 1682
Creates the Social Networking Web site Prohibition Act. Provides that each public library must prohibit access to social networking Web sites on all computers made available to the public in the library. Provides that each public school must prohibit access to social networking Web sites on all computers made available to students in the school. Provides for enforcement by the Attorney General or a citizen. Amends the State Mandates Act to require implementation without reimbursement. Effective January 1, 2008.

Section 10. Prohibition. Each public library must prohibit:
Access to social networking websites on all computers made available to the public in the library. Each school must prohibit access to social networking websites on all computers made available to students in the school.

Section 15. Enforcement.
If a public library or school fails to comply with Section 10 of this Act, the Attorney General or a citizen of this State is authorized to seek enforcement as provided in this Section. The Attorney General or a citizen shall first mail to the applicable administrative unit or school board a notice of intended civil action for enforcement that shall identify each public library or school location at which a violation is alleged to have occurred and shall specify the facts and circumstances of the alleged violation of Section 10.

The first thing that sticks out to me is that the bill really does nothing to define what a “social network” looks like. This could leave a lot of room for creative interpretation by agenda-driven politicians and bureaucrats by allowing this to pick and choose which websites are banned and which are not.

Oddly enough, a blanket ban of this type in Illinois schools would prevent students from accessing Barack Obama’s social network, which the presidential hopeful plans to use as a means of massing support for his campaign, and as a platform for residence to speak on the issues.

But hey, those kids aren’t young enough to vote anyway, right? Why would they need to be informed?

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Illinois To Ban Social Networks?
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