Friday, April 20, 2007

Yarro Suggests Utah Ban Public Internet Access

Corporate hack Ralph Yarro, of SCO fame, is now suggesting that a Utah Legislative Committee consider a ban on public internet access, if the providers of such access aren't compliant with CP80's "Internet Channel" resolution.

The problem with Yarro, and CP80's approach is that their "technical" solution to parsing the internet into "channels" is that it is not a very "technical" solution at all. Actually, it is nearly impossible. The resolution and research written by CP80 provides little as far as realistic solutions to the 3-Channel (Open, Limited, Very Limited) approach to internet access. They seem unaware that the Internet is not a tangible network, but rather the interconnectivity of billions of networks spanning the entire globe in a literal web of often randomly routed connectivity. What they suggest would require not only legislation and massive funding to enforce, but also a complete redesign of the very infrastructure of the web. Standardization of ratings and compatible technology would have to be developed. Managing software and the very nature of port to port connectivity would need to undergo a complete overhaul. And in the end, if one single country or community does not agree to the channeling guidelines, the channeling is rendered useless via the gap created.

And what would be the ultimate goal of the billions of dollars and years of research, and decade of reconstruction? The internet, CP80 suggests, would be broken into three channels of varying "access levels" thus removing the responsibility of parents to actually parent, businesses to actually manage their employees, and communities to work together to ensure that public access is used correctly. Instead, Yarro suggests a ban on public access, unless they receive a "seal of approval" under the CP80 legistlation. Pete Ashdown, while not invited to the meeting, had this to say:

I find it odd that they talk about a seal of approval if you don't provide porn to minors. That is already against the law. And if I do that, I should be thrown in jail, more of an incentive than some seal. [...] "I provide free access to Salt Lake City "locations" and to the city library. They can do that, and I'll just shut down my free access zones, and Utah's reputation will be damaged as a place that is restricting technology rather than expanding it. I also find it odd that the Legislature wants to discriminate between locally owned ISPs and national — AOL will not be held to the same standard.
While CP80's goal is noble, and not entirely a horrible idea, it is not technologically realistic when you're dealing with a worldwide community. Yarro, however, deserves no leniency for his actions. His comments before the committee are irresponsible and unrealistic, and serve to cut Utah off from a rapidly growing world of information, rather than address the actual problem of children and the internet. The major concern is that of easily accessible pornography and unattended use of the internet by a child. Why not simply address the issue of unattended use?

Why not reinforce the values of hands on parenting and common sense supervision of child? If your child accesses internet porn, be it in your family room at home, or at the Salt Lake City library, the question should be "where were you as a parent when that happened?" If you, as a business owner are concerned your employees are accessing porn at work, why are you not taking advantage of a managing opportunity, and already accessible solutions to the problem, such as software or hardware filtering, or routing port restrictions? Yarro's suggested access ban, and CP80's expensive and poorly thought-out legislative ideas serve only as an excuse (and continued justification) for irresponsible parenting and lack of technical understanding at home and in the business world. It's not Rocket Science. Barnes and Noble has entire shelves dedicated to the subject.

If a parent has children, and also brings internet access into the home, it is their responsibility to understand at least basic concepts of online safety and security for their children. As a state, Utah has an obligation to it's tax paying citizens to provide them with the best possible resources for business growth and public opportunity and education. CP80 and Yarro strive to allow continued failure in both areas, and simply rebuild the kingdom for want of a nail.

1 comment:

  1. This is a fantastic post, man. Just when I thought my opinion of Ralph Yarro couldn't be any lower (from the whole SCO/Linux circus) he manages to surprise me into thinking even less of him.

    He reminds me a lot of UnSpam CEO Matthew Prince in this way. Have a business plan? Need legislation to cement your monopoly? Just "convince" a legislator to sponsor it, mumble something about pornography and children, and bam! You've secured yourself a business where people are forced by law to pay you.

    Anyway, very nicely done. I'll have to add this blog to my list of reads.

    The Deseret Spectacle