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Plan Would Let Parents Control Internet Access

June 22, 1995|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A plan being put together by two House members would give parents, not the government, the power to block children's access to erotic pictures and sexually explicit conversations on home computers.

The plan by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) and Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) calls for relying on technology rather than federal regulation to give parents a way to prevent offending material from coming into their homes.

Under the plan, the government would help people find available technologies so they can block sexually explicit and other potentially objectionable materials from their home computers.

The conservative Cox and liberal Wyden are taking an approach quite different from a plan the Senate approved last week.

The Senate telecommunications bill would ban indecent and obscene communications over the global computer network Internet and on computer services. People who originate such messages would be criminally liable, rather than the on-line providers such as America Online or Prodigy.

Wyden said the government could establish a toll-free number from which people could learn the latest in commercially available software or hardware. Or the government could refer callers to private services; some software programs already let users block certain computer communications.

"We want to keep government from engaging in intrusive regulation" of the Internet and computer services, Wyden said.

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