The Child Online Protection Act is a federal law in the United States of America, enacted in 1998 with the stated intention of limiting access to any material found on the Internet by minors. However, this law has had another intent; namely to protect children from being sexually abused by people known to them. As a result, even adults are being prohibited from viewing materials deemed to be inappropriate by the new law.
It is not easy to understand why anyone would need to restrict the free speech of children. Children do not express any sense of guilt or shame over what they view online. What is more, even adults have their own online lives. While many would criticize the new Act as encroaching on the rights of parents, it is only restricting the types of materials that are viewed by children. In other words, it does not prohibit adult websites from displaying child pornography.
The new Act also makes it a crime to knowingly send a child online to view child pornography. This includes knowingly receiving child pornography by an individual who has a valid right to receive it. In addition to these new criminal laws, there are numerous other areas of the law being expanded and redefined. For example, it is now illegal to advertise any type of sexual material whether it is showing or distributing it. In fact, it is also illegal to talk about sex to a child. In short, a person who talks about sex to a child is committing child pornography and could face up to ten years in prison.
There are many Internet service providers who are now facing tough penalties for child pornography. In one case, a Virginia child pornography case went to trial, but was ultimately dismissed. The case involved an alleged email between an adult and a minor, in which the minor talked about “rape, sex toys, and others.”
While not all Internet service providers are necessarily breaking the law, they are clearly violating it by allowing their customers to access child pornography websites. In fact, there are new bills currently in Congress that would make it illegal for Internet Service Providers to even discuss the issue with their customers. This new legislation targets both parents and child pornography websites alike. It is believed that this legislation could criminalize and shut down legitimate Internet Service Providers who does have child pornography on their websites.
In order to be legal, all Internet Service Providers and child pornography websites must get a separate license through the government. This means that children who visit these types of websites do not have the right to be seen by anyone else, including law enforcement officials. Unfortunately, in many cases, the children are caught by the police and criminal justice officials, who then have to decide what to do with the evidence they have been presented with. In many cases, child pornography is listed as material that can be downloaded by anyone without the permission of the actual adult who is posting it. This means that any time law enforcement officials pick up any evidence of child pornography on a computer, they run the risk of putting the child pornography collector in jail for what they believe to be child pornography.
This is why the new online protection act seems to be such an unnecessary law. If a site allows anyone to post materials that are considered to be child pornography, whether they have done anything illegal or not, they should simply inform visitors that the materials are not acceptable and remove them from their sites. This is the best way for child pornography websites to remain open and keep providing children with a safe place to play the games they want to play. This is especially important because kids are easily corrupted and given inappropriate materials if they are not kept in check when they are online.
Parents can protect their children by acting quickly if they find any type of child pornography on their computer. The new Act may make it illegal to share images of naked children through instant messaging or e-mail but there is no need to worry about websites that allow anyone to post materials to their servers being illegal. The new Act might make it illegal to transfer copies of child pornography from one computer to another but there are many other ways for a child to get information, whether illegal or not, on the internet. It is the parents job to keep an eye on what their children are doing on the internet and if they see anything out of the ordinary they should report it to the police or other concerned parties.