Saturday, September 02, 2006

What I wish Pete Ashdown would have said about Internet pornography

Recently, I mentioned that I wouldn't vote for Pete because of his position on Internet pornography (that was buried in a post about how much I like his thinking on the feed-the-hungry reverse fundraiser). Pete left a comment on my post in his usual unassuming way, which is a refreshing attitude to see in a political candidate.

Here's the gist of what I had hoped Pete would have said:

"At Xmission, I've done a lot to give families the tools they need to control the information that comes into their house over the Internet. While we haven't solved the problem, we have made significant progress. The Federal Government can and should play a role in requiring internet service providers to give all parents the same tools. In the 10 years since the rise of the WWW, very little has happened in the private sector to solve this problem. It is time for the government to intervene. In addition, the Federal Government can and should fund research into more effective ways to identify and classify objectionable content. This is a particularly difficult problem since the United States Government can not regulate the creation of content throughout the world. But with some ingenuity and creativity we can and must do a better job of giving families the tools they need to filter content.

My opponent, and most other sentors, lack the experience and knowledge needed to understand or propose such legislation. I do. I have the vision and the know-how needed to give parents the tools they need to filter material that they find objectionable. Rather than make empty promises and spew hollow rhetoric, I have plans and an agenda based on my N years of experience as one of Utah's first [or Utah's first?] internet service providers."

The thing about Pete is that he's not a phoney on this issue. He's got the background to make some progress on the issue and he's done good stuff at XMission, but that's not what his platform is about. I respect that, but I wish it was different.


Daniel said...

I agree with you, Mike. Pete could be taking a stronger stand on this. On the other hand, I'm much more confident that he would listen to us on this issue and might actually do some of the positive things you list.

Pete Ashdown said...

Mike, colored me puzzled. The only difference between my stand and the stand you wish is that I regulate ISPs into compliance.

I have been putting filters into the hands of parents for much longer than this has been on the congressional radar. I use the same filters my company offers with my own children.

Why does the conservative ideal of the "free market" not apply in this case? If an ISP in Utah is not providing adequate filters for parents, the customer is free to move to many alternatives, including my own.