June 09, 2005

Utah Censorware Law Challenge by ACLU-Utah, CDT ("The King's English v. Shurtleff")


SALT LAKE CITY--Citing free speech and interstate commerce violations, a broadly-based group of Utah bookstores, artistic and informative websites, Internet service providers and national trade associations filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of a Utah law meant to restrict children's access to material on the Internet.


The new law, passed by the 2005 session of the Utah legislature, has three primary components:

1) Utah Internet content providers must evaluate and rate their speech, at the risk of criminal punishment.

2) The Utah Attorney General must create a public registry of Internet sites worldwide containing "material harmful to minors" - speech that is unlawful to intentionally distribute to minors but that is constitutionally protected for adults.

3) It extends existing criminal restrictions on distribution of "harmful" materials to distribution on the Internet. Similar provisions have been uniformly held unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment by federal courts across the nation.

Text of lawsuit: "The King's English vs Shurtleff"

Anyone who knows the relevant Internet censorship court cases, knows that this Utah censorware law was dead-man-walking the moment it was born. The only issue was how long it would take for the resources to be spent to put it out of its misery. Kudos for ACLU-Utah and CDT or doing so.

Per my earlier "HB 260" post, the coverage of this case from the Religious Right might be interesting.

In terms of non-echoing, I skimmed through the lawsuit to see what technical censorware research was used. Much material about "virtual hosting", where many website share the same IP address. It seems to flow from an earlier CDT case in Pennsylvania, which makes perfect sense given that CDT is part of this case.

On a personal note, if anyone is inclined to be "helpful" and to suggest to me that I might find support here, please abandon that idea immediately. Between certain issues of their staff, and stories I haven't told, it's not going to happen.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware | on June 09, 2005 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

Subscribe with Bloglines      Subscribe in NewsGator Online  Google Reader or Homepage