It’s not about child pornography people!

edit: Prof. Palfrey and I discussed this over email, and the Red Herring will correct the article to say

And certainly, protecting children from online pornography is an important public issue that we need to work together on to solve.

So Prof. Palfrey is definitely one of the good guys.

Despite what John Palfrey, a clinical law professor and executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and quite a few others reports are saying, the government’s request for data to Google is to support research that they are doing to reword COPA, the Child Online Protection Act – a piece of legislation that has been ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court and that is intended to protect children from having finding/seeing pornography when they use the internet. Google Blogoscoped has a round-up of people who get the child pornography thing wrong.

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2 Comments »

  1. Thanks for your note about this issue. I agree — it’s about COPA, which was meant to protect children from seeing pornography, not about what we usually think of as “child pornography.” My point in the article was that this was *not* such a case where Google or whomever should “just do it” because it’s so necessary to protect someone from child pornography. That said, I take you point that it’s so nuanced as to be unclear. Fortunately, the good people at Red Herring have agreed to make a change in the text to clarify things a bit. Thanks for pointing out that it was not clear in the first place. -JP

  2. Pacanukeha said

    John actually told me about this in an email. I, like the bad blog author I am, forgot to update my entry.

    Thanks, John, for doing my job for me, as well as for setting things straight with the Red Herring.

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