Snip from WSJ item: "The attorneys general of all 50 states have joined forces to pressure MySpace, Facebook Inc. and other Internet social-networking sites to put in place greater parental controls and age-verification tools so minors can't access the sites so easily." Sites are under fire to voluntarily implement stronger restrictions and perv-nabbing technologies, but the group is also pushing for new laws and "public educational campaigns" to be led by the Federal Trade Commission. Link.
Update: Here's an extensive critique of the "29,000 zapped predators and counting" stat MySpace is touting. Link.
Update: danah boyd, who has researched and written extensively on this topic, describes the AGs' actions as a witch hunt:
The AGs have been perpetuating a culture of fear around SNSs for a long time now, but most of their fears are ungrounded. Research by Ybarra, et al. has shown that safety efforts have focused on the wrong things. (A broader roundup of research in this area is discussed at the Internet Caucus' seminar on the topic; video, audio, and transcripts can be found here.) The AGs have also been screaming danger since they learned that 29K people on MySpace are on the sex offenders list. BBC reports that there are over 600K people registered in the States (meaning that less than 5% of sex offenders have profiles, indicating that sex offenders are far less likely to have profiles than average adults). On top of that, most sex offenders on the list have nothing to do with children. (Stephanie Booth does a great job of discussing who all is on these lists and why.) Combine this with the National School Boards Association report that less than .08% of teens meet someone offline without parental permission and you realize that very few teens are at risk. MySpace and Facebook are far far far safer than most places that teens hang out (including their own homes, schools, churches, etc.), but the AGs gain a lot more public credibility by screaming "danger!" when talking about social network sites than they do when talking about homes, schools, churches, etc.
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company’s consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims. The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are […]
Remember back to the time when people thought java was just a hip way to talk about coffee? Or you vaguely remembered from geography class that it’s an island in the South Pacific? We’ve come a long way since then and now that we’ve rocket blasted into the tech future, you’re going to need to […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]