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DOJ pushes for new regulations on Web porn

Gonzales requests add-ons to bill in front of Senate

By Grant Gross
April 20, 2006 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - The Department of Justice (DOJ) will push for new legislation that requires all commercial Web sites to label every page that includes adult material in an effort to protect Web surfers from pornography, the agency announced Thursday.

The DOJ, in an initiative aimed at child pornography, also wants legislation that would prohibit commercial Web sites from initially displaying sexually explicit material without further action, such as an additional click, by the viewer. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called for the new laws in a speech at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia.

Gonzales also called for the U.S. Congress to triple current criminal fines levied against Internet service providers that knowingly fail to report child pornography on their systems. The new fines would be $150,000 for the initial violation and $300,000 for each additional violation.

The DOJ wants Congress to add the new provisions to the Children's Safety and Violent Crime Reduction Act, passed by the House of Representatives in March. The bill, now pending in the Senate, is a wide-ranging proposal targeting sex offenders, gangs and child pornography. The bill requires local law enforcement agencies to make sex offender registries available online, and it increases the penalties of sex offenses against children.

In his speech, Gonzales called for additional measures against child pornography and adult-themed material in general. He asked Congress to prohibit the practice, common at some sexually explicit Web sites, of hiding innocuous terms in a site's code so that search engines will point to them. The DOJ initiative would make it illegal for a person to knowingly deceive others into viewing obscene materials.

"Protecting children from these dangers is one of my highest priorities as attorney general," Gonzales said in a statement. He called child pornography a more serious problem than most people realize.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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