From Heather <>
Date Tue, 26 Sep 2000 23:18:50 -0700

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Friday September 22 05:15 PM EDT
COPA panel wants billions more for cops

By Ben Charny, ZDNet News

Also on the wish list: government-backed porn-filter testing, 
education programs and immunity for porn sites that follow the rules.

Spending billions more dollars for law enforcement and creating a 
porn-filter testing group lead the list of likely recommendations to 
Congress from a government-appointed commission charged with making 
the Web child-safe.

Members of the commission created by the Children's Online Privacy 
Act (COPA) are also expected to recommend that porn Web sites 
following industry-imposed guidelines be immune from criminal 
prosecution if a child gets access to smut.

The COPA commission met this week in Washington, D.C., to begin 
writing its long-awaited report to Congress. It will meet once more 
in October to vote on the report before presenting it to lawmakers.

Commission member Robert Flores, vice president of the National Law 
Center For Children and Families, said a visit to 
helped convince him that an independent body to review Web filtering 
software is necessary.

"If you go to (that site), you'll see a large number of technologies 
that are available. Some make a number of claims," he said. "But, how 
do you distinguish advertising claims vs. documented claims?"

More review

Filters are being reviewed, but by private groups such as Peacefire, 
which is a self-proclaimed advocate of Internet free speech. Child 
advocate Enough is Enough in Santa Ana, Calif., tried to create its 
own review boards, but it proved too expensive.

"It has been something we've wanted to do for years," said Enough is 
Enough Chief Operating Officer Monique Nelson, who testified before 
the commission two months ago in San Jose, Calif.

While a dollar figure has not been set, the commission is expected to 
ask Congress to dedicate billions of dollars more to law enforcement.

Flores said billions are needed just so some law enforcement agencies 
can catch up to the Web stalkers, which some surveys suggest send 
unsolicited messages to 20 percent of all kids online.

He estimated that the current annual budget for federal cybercrime is 
less than $200 million. It would take a yearly infusion of $1 billion 
to $1.5 billion for the next four or five years "just to get us 
moving," he said.

Incentives sought

One of the other recommendations gaining consensus is to provide 
incentives, such as immunity from criminal prosecution, for porn 
sites following industry standards on child-proofing.

"If you try your best and do everything you can, then you should be 
immune from prosecution," Flores said.

Commission Chairman Donald Telage, of Network Solutions Inc., said 
the commission is also likely to recommend an intensive education 
program, for parents, about the dangers lurking on the Internet.

The COPA commission isn't just getting a report ready for Congress. 
It is fighting for its very future.

Congress created the commission, but failed to fund it. The 
commission sometimes opens up meetings with pleas for donations. Many 
of the commissioners are funding their own trips across the country 
to different hearings.

And then there is the infighting between commissioners themselves, 
making the fact that they agree upon any issues something of a new 
thing for the group.

"Consensus, this group?" said Nancy Willard, director of Responsible 
Netizen, a program administered by the Center for Advanced Technology 
in Education.

"I was waiting for something... maybe flying machines"        - Foo Fighters
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