Games That The Congress Plays
[Mark Twain on Congress]

Below is just one article, by way of example, of this little game of riders that our congress has been playing for years. These games are not cute, harmless, laughable nor even acceptable. It isn't bad enough that lesilation is given titles in cutespeak, and that titles often say exactly the opposite of what the legislation does, or is given a purposefully emotionally manipulative title ('Meagan's Law' indeed). Why should a perfectly well defined of legilation, whatever lunacy it may be, called "The Budget" be allowed to contain various parts, up with which the American People would not put, were it presented in a forthright manner?

The current administration failed in its attempt to choke the internet to death with its so called "Common Decency Act", and was in fact shot down resoundingly by the Supreme Court. This does not mean that they've given up the fight to install the legal instaniation of the principle "The Governed are the Enemy".

These manipulative games played by both Federal and State governments of the USA are worthy only of infantile and childish minds that are not even mature enough to have principles, much less honor them. See below how the sheep bow and scrape to foolish children tha have the audacity to fill the shoes of statesmen that we could once call leaders.

Why and how can this essentially criminal failure of fiduciary duty be tolerated? Mostly, because government had placed such a financial burden on the American People to support that government that they have no time left after working to pay taxes to pay attention to these and other sneaky games of immoral children. How many people read this article, or even have a clue about what has happened, or that it happens regularly, and that it is important?

We would have a vastly improved government and vastly improved chance od survivl if our government were nit populated by liars, cheats and thieves who remain in league with a complex of other liars cheats and thieves. A little honesty is the very least that the American People could ask for, and we are getting very little honesty.

     November 26, 1998
     New Serious Side to Child's Play on Web
     Privacy Protection Law Is Likely to Make Access More Difficult 
     For four years, children who visited the Cyberkids Web site have
     found puzzles, interactive stories and other activities designed to
     appeal to the 7- to 12-year-old crowd.
     But lately, the young visitors have encountered a new and decidedly
     less playful feature: a consent form that must be downloaded,
     copied, signed by Mom or Dad and mailed to Cyberkids before the
     children can take part in certain activities, like entering
     contests or participating in chat rooms.
     It is intended to let the publishers of Cyberkids know that parents
     approve of their children's taking part in features in which the
     child might disclose such personal information as an e-mail
     address. Although Julie T. Richer, president of Able Minds Inc.,
     the San Francisco company that publishes Cyberkids, is not
     completely happy about the form, she posted it because she wants to
     comply with a Federal law that has yet to take effect, but is
     already shaping children's online experience.
     The new law, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998,
     quietly entered the books last month, when President Clinton signed
     the budget bill of which the act was just a small part.
     It is intended to protect children's privacy by requiring, with a
     few exceptions, that commercial Web sites aimed at children obtain
     parental permission before collecting personal information, like
     last names, addresses, phone numbers or Social Security numbers,
     from children under the age of 13.
     It is separate from a similarly named law that also passed
     recently, the Child Online Protection Act, which is intended to
     shield children from commercial pornography online. That law is
     being challenged on First Amendment grounds by a coalition of free
     speech advocates and Web publishers in a lawsuit that led a Federal
     judge in Philadelphia to block enforcement of the measure
     temporarily with a order issued on Nov. 19.
     Whatever happens with the pornography statute, some people believe
     that ultimately, the privacy law could exercise a greater influence
     on what children see and interact with online.
     "I really believe the online privacy bill will have the most impact
     on children's online experience, because it will help guide the
     development of this online media culture for children," said
     Kathryn C. Montgomery, president of the Center for Media Education,
     a public interest group based in Washington. "It focuses on content
     and services directed at children, rather than focusing on what is
     not intended for them."
     Ms. Montgomery hailed the law for protecting children from online
     marketers who otherwise might be tempted to use glitzy contests,
     animated cartoon characters and the like to extract information
     that parents would rather keep private. But businesses are worried
     about the law's unanswered questions, many of which will be taken
     up as regulators begin drafting the rules for how the statute is to
     be carried out.
     The law does have the backing of some major industry players, among
     them America Online, which has a children's section, and TimeWarner
     Inc., which has a site aimed at children. In a statement, Arthur B.
     Sackler, a vice president for law and public policy at Time Warner,
     said the law had been "a compromise produced by the interested
     parties and not without some pain to business." But, he added, he
     believed that commercial Web site operators thought that regulation
     was important "for that special age category."
     Privacy advocates have raised different concerns about the law.
     Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy
     Information Center, a privacy advocacy group based in Washington,
     favors online privacy protections for adults, too, and would have
     preferred legislation based not on parental consent, but on the
     idea of privacy for all.
     The bill was passed in part in response to a survey conducted by
     the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year. After examining 212
     children's Web sites, the regulators discovered that although 88
     percent of the sites collected identifying details from their young
     visitors, only 23 percent advised them to seek their parents'
     permission before disclosing the information.
     The new law helps correct that, said David Medine, associate
     director for financial practices at the Federal Trade Commission.
     "It puts parents in control of information collected from young
     children," he said.
     There is still much about the law that has to be hammered out. For
     one thing, it is unclear when it will go into effect. The law
     specifies that its effective date can be up to 30 months from when
     it was signed. But Medine predicts F.T.C. officials will be
     finished drawing up regulations for how to carry out the law much
     sooner, so that the measure could be in force in 18 months.
     What exactly will be in the regulations is another big question.
     Among the thorniest issues to be decided is exactly how parents are
     to provide consent to the Web site operators.
     When the measure was discussed in Congress, legislators made it
     clear that consent delivered by regular mail or some kind of online
     credit card verification scheme would be acceptable. But the most
     obvious way to give consent online -- via E-mail -- was viewed with
     skepticism, in large part because it is easy for a child to send
     disguised E-mail that looks like it comes from a parent.
     Medine said he hoped that by the time the law goes into effect,
     technology will offer a solution, either through digital signatures
     or another tamper-resistant mechanism that would give an E-mail
     message the stamp of authenticity.
     Still, the industry is worried, said John P. Feldman, a Washington
     lawyer who represents a number of Web sites that offer children's
     content. If only slower methods of granting permission, like postal
     mail, are deemed acceptable, he said, that would put a damper on
     the very quality that makes the Internet so compelling: its ability
     to transmit information instantaneously. "The biggest concern I've
     been hearing from the industry is you don't want to lose the online
     experience," Feldman said.
     Winnie Wechsler, senior vice president of Buena Vista Internet
     Group, the division of The Walt Disney Company that handles the
     entertainment conglomerate's online strategy, concurred. If only
     mail is acceptable, she said, 'That is somewhat in conflict with
     the whole nature of the medium.'
     Already privacy concerns have had an effect on some children's
     online selling strategies. Time Warner Inc.'s Sports Illustrated
     for Kids Web site used to market the print version of the
     children's sports magazine by asking children interested in
     subscribing to submit their names and addresses and other
     information by e-mail. The e-mail message was followed up by a
     subscription letter to their parents. That practice changed several
     months ago, largely in response to privacy guidelines, similar to
     the federal law, drawn up by the Online Privacy Alliance, a new
     coalition of businesses including Time Warner, that vow to respect
     consumer privacy on the Internet.
     Today on the Sports Illustrated mail. There's been a price for the
     change: The number of subscriptions that come from the Web site has
     fallen about 90 percent, said Sackler, of Time Warner. "That's real
     dollars that have been lost there," he said.
     Richer, of Cyberkids, has other concerns. She worries that the new
     regulations could end up favoring larger subscription-based Web
     sites, like Disney's Blast Online, because they rely on credit card
     payments, which could be considered an acceptable means of
     providing parental consent. She also wonders if the law will have
     an unintended consequence, pushing children into sites meant for
     more mature audiences, because it will be cumbersome for them to
     get permission to view some children's sites.
     "The Government is making it harder for kids to get into Web sites
     specially targeted for them," she said. "So where are they going to
     go? Adult sites."
     But Montgomery, of the Center for Media Education, said the law
     should be more comprehensive, offering protection not just to
     children, but to teen-agers as well.
     Nonetheless, she believes the law is a good first start in shaping
     the Internet industry's behavior toward children, and could perhaps
     prevent the kind of marketing aimed at children that is common on
     commercial television. "There is an opportunity here to develop
     practices not harmful to kids, but if we wait five years, it would
     be too late," she said.
     Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company

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Created: December 14, 1998
Last Updated: January 28, 1999