Update on the Blogger Power Project: In the weeks and months since Mihaela Lica and I launched this project to unite bloggers in an effort to help make the Internet safer for children, hundreds of blog authors from all over the world have joined the project. It is an amazing testament to the power of connectedness over a shared idea.
But what real action has been effected by this global networking? It's doubtful that any pornographers have added safeguards to their sites because of our high-minded but toothless campaign. That's a reminder of the necessity of participating in the political process to enact real change.
So I have been in correspondence with U.S. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter. Here's an excerpt from his reply.
Dear Mr. Harmon:
Thank you for informing me of your opposition to child predators and the posting of pornographic material on the internet. Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.
As a co-sponsor of H.R. 719 and H.R. 837, I agree with you.
As you know, the societal scourge of pornography must be eradicated. Clearly, the availability of exploitive photographs, films, videos, and other visual depictions on the internet inflicts psychological harm upon all involved. As a husband and father, of three (3) young children, I have earnestly co-sponsored legislation which aims to mitigate pornographic material and punish child predators.
To end this danger to our children and traditional virtues, on January 30, 2007, Representative Earl Pomeroy (ND) introduced H.R. 719, the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act, which I have co-sponsored. If enacted, this legislation would track child predators by requiring convicted sex offenders to submit to the National Sex Offender Registry any of their electronic mail or instant message addresses and other similar identifiers used during Internet communications. H.R. 719 would also require the Attorney General to maintain a system allowing commercial social networking websites to compare their user databases against the National Sex Offender Registry. Moreover, this legislation would impose a fine and/or prison term of up to ten (10) years for failure to provide such information for the database; and up to twenty (20) years for age misrepresentation with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct with a minor. Presently, this legislation awaits action in the House Judiciary Committee.
Subsequently, on February 6, 2007, Representative Lamar Smith (TX) introduced H.R. 837, the Internet Stopping Adult Facilitating the Exploitation of Youth Act, which I have co-sponsored. If enacted, this legislation would prohibit financial transactions or internet hosting sights which facilitate access to, or the possession of, child pornography. Furthermore, H.R. 837 would increase the monetary penalties for willful failure to report child pornography and for the sexual exploitation of children. Presently, this legislation awaits action in the House Judiciary Committee.
In the meantime, rest assured, your concerns regarding this issue will be well remembered during the 110th Congress.
Please let Mihaela and me know if you've had success in reaching a meeting of the mind with your elected officials -- perhaps we can someday bring together political leaders from all over the world in the hope of really making the Internet safer for our children.
- Jon Harmon