Two contrasting examples of different paths to take for Internet Safety: beefing up our criminal laws vs. imposing pseudo-verification requirements on social networking sites.
First, the good news–a Virginia appellate court upheld the commonwealth’s law criminalizing online solicitation. The law makes it illegal to send sexual content to a minor online with the intent to engage the minor in criminal sexual conduct offline.
Enhancing existing or creating new criminal laws is the crux of a model legislation strategy NetChoice has been promoting before state legislators. It’s a way to direct an understandable legislative urge to protect children toward a productive, meaningful end. And to avoid the bad approach – age verification.
Last week the Attorney General for Washington, Rob McKenna, called for sites like Facebook and MySpace to use credit cards as a way to prove identity. Now, age verification has been a pet project of AGs for over two years now. I’ve written on why age verification won’t work to keep kids safe, and so too has Adam Thierer (see his most recent post). I mean, really, don’t sexual predators have credit cards too?