Ted Stevens’s bill would ban Wikipedia from public schools and libraries

The man who gave us the “series of tubes” metaphor for the Internet now wants to take away MySpace, Wikipedia, and other social networking websites. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens’s Senate Bill #49, introduced in January, would effectively ban any social networking website from public schools and libraries because of their potential to harbor online predators. ...

603992_160px-Ted_Stevens_otherphoto5.jpg
603992_160px-Ted_Stevens_otherphoto5.jpg

The man who gave us the "series of tubes" metaphor for the Internet now wants to take away MySpace, Wikipedia, and other social networking websites. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens's Senate Bill #49, introduced in January, would effectively ban any social networking website from public schools and libraries because of their potential to harbor online predators.

A similar bill was introduced by Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) last year, and passed the House, but died in the Senate. The problem with Stevens's bill (apart from the hail mary attempt to censor content available at public libraries), is that its language is so general, nearly any website could fall under the ban. Critics are especially concerned that Wikipedia would be off limits.

But what I find most disconcerting is the bill's requirement that every website enforce "a policy of Internet safety for minors that prevents cyberbullying."

The man who gave us the “series of tubes” metaphor for the Internet now wants to take away MySpace, Wikipedia, and other social networking websites. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens’s Senate Bill #49, introduced in January, would effectively ban any social networking website from public schools and libraries because of their potential to harbor online predators.

A similar bill was introduced by Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) last year, and passed the House, but died in the Senate. The problem with Stevens’s bill (apart from the hail mary attempt to censor content available at public libraries), is that its language is so general, nearly any website could fall under the ban. Critics are especially concerned that Wikipedia would be off limits.

But what I find most disconcerting is the bill’s requirement that every website enforce “a policy of Internet safety for minors that prevents cyberbullying.”

Sounds like we would have to shut down the FP Forum, for sure.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.