Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who thinks the Internet is a “series of tubes,” wants the feds to require schools and libraries to ban access to interactive sites, such as MySpace — and possibly Wikipedia and blogs. Computerworld reports:
Early in January, Stevens introduced Senate bill 49, which among other things, would require that any school or library that gets federal Internet subsidies would have to block access to interactive Web sites, including social networking sites, and possibly blogs as well. It appears that the definition of those sites is so vague that it could include sites such as Wikipedia, according to commentators.
You’d think school officials and librarians could make this call without federal direction.
In Connecticut, a substitute teacher faces a maximum 40-year prison sentence because students saw pornographic pop-ups on the classroom computer, which had no firewall or spyware protection. Although the sub, who’d been told not to turn off the computer, ran to the teachers’ lounge to seek help in closing the windows and tried to keep students away from the screen, she was convicted of four counts of “risking injury to a child.”
If this miscarriage of justice isn’t reversed, teachers and librarians will be turning off computers without a federal law.