Government Votes to Block Porn on Work Computers

Paul Lilly

Government officials will have to find something else to do during work hours than visit those other 'Tube video sites following a recent vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to block viewing or downloading porn.

Seems like a no-brainer, but in typical government fashion, it took a 111-page amendment to get the point across, along with some controversial wording.

"None of the funds made available in this act may be used to maintain or establish a computer network unless such network blocks the viewing, downloading, and exchanging of pornography," the bill states on the second to last page.

The problem with that, says John Morris, general counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, D.C., is "how broad the reach of this is, and will lead to constitutional problems and economic problems." Morris used the example of a mom-and-pop business landing a contract to deliver toilet paper to a military base that includes overhead. In this scenario, they would have to pay to filter their computer networks, even though no one but the owner would ever use it.

That wasn't the only point of contention.

"The Supreme Court has made clear that government attempts to eliminate sexually explicit speech on the Internet raises serious free speech concerns," said Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington legislative office. "Congress should not pass such vague and potentially speech-restrictive provisions that are constitutionally suspect."

Ultimately, Congress voted in favor of the legislation by a 239-182 vote.

Image Credit: funny-potato.com

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