Thursday, August 30, 2007

The DOPA Act a Dopey Knee Jerk Reaction

by Danah Boyd

By a vote of 410-15, the US House of Representatives has passed the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA).

If approved by the Senate, this resolution will force schools and libraries to block social networking sites and chat rooms else lose their federal Internet subsidies.

Online activists decry what such a measure will mean for social networking sites such as MySpace. We recall the words of danah boyd, who posted these comments about the bill in May: "This legislation will not protect minors, but it will continue to erode their (and our) freedoms. There are so many amazing things that teens do with social technologies.

To lose all of this because of the culture of fear is terrifying to me. I found out about my alma mater talking to strangers online in the 90s. I learned about what it means to be queer, how to have confidence in myself and had so many engaging conversations. Sure, i found some sketchy people too, but i learned to ignore them just as i learned to ignore the guys who whistled and honked from their cars when i walked to the movie theater with my best friend.

We need to give youth the knowledge to know the risks of their actions, the structures to be able to come to us when something goes wrong and the opportunity to grow up and connect to their peers. Eliminating cultural artifacts because we don't understand them does not make our lives any safer, but it does obliterate so many positive interactions." At the 2006 SXSW Interactive Festival, boyd moderated the "Designing for Global and Local Social Play" panel.
titled by EA article provided by SXSW Interactive.

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