Senator Wants to Block Tubes

    February 15, 2007

Senator Ted Stevens has already achieved a certain kind of blogosphere and Internet infamy for his comments about teh Internets being "a series of tubes" (click the image for a dance remix of his address to the Senate). Now, he seems to want to compound that infamy by passing legislation that would block most social networking sites – including not just MySpace, but virtually any site that allows user contributions, including Wikipedia – from any school that receives federal education funding.

Some are calling this proposed Bill 49 DOPA Jr., since it is very much like the Deleting Against Online Predators Act, which was proposed last year by Republican Mike Fitzpatrick. Wikipedia has an overview of the issue here.

Ted Stevens

The bill would have made it an offence for schools to provide access to sites that offered chat forums, user accounts, public profiles, and other social networking tools. The FCC would have had to determine which sites were offensive and which were not. The new bill proposed by Sen. Stevens – which he first proposed last month and is called The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act– would be even broader than DOPA.

Now the Senator has company: Matt Murphy wants to ban social networking sites from schools and libraries in Illinois. As Marianne Richmond notes at BlogHer, this would prevent people in Senator – and presidental candidate – Barack Obama’s home state from going to his new social networking site. As James Robertson so eloquently puts it, it’s the blind leading the stupid. More discussion over at Slashdot.


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About the Author

Mathew Ingram is a technology writer and blogger for the Globe and Mail, a national newspaper based in Toronto, and also writes about the Web and media at and