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EFF "Censorship - Internet Censorship Legislation - Maryland" Archive

Last Updated Thu Mar 13 10:42:59 PDT 2003

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Maryland state senate bill 22: legislation to criminalize what is already a crime (distribution of child pornography via computer). Still pending as of our latest news, but may have passed or died by now (June 1996). SB22 prohibits (redundantly) online child porn, as well as sexual solicitation of a minor by computer. As with the Illinois bill, this appears to mean well, but, as usual, creates legal mayhem due to inconsistency with other statutes, and poses legal threats for innocent access providers. Also this bill, like a similar Kansas law, probably unconstitutionally redefines "child porn" to include even completely fake computer-generated art, as well as actual child porn and already-legally-obscene fake child porn of the hardcore sort. Creates major sysop liability. Though high-minded, the law is very poorly thought out and dangerous for all system operators. If one of your users does something Maryland prosecutors don't like, you could go to prison for it.
ACLU attacks SB22, an over-broad waste of time and effort that in the end holds system operators liable for the actions of users over whom they have no control.

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