By John Jalsevac
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia invalidating the Child Online Protection Act.
COPA would have required websites that commercially distribute pornography to take reasonable steps to ensure that minors (defined as children under 17) are unable to access pornographic materials online. The law was passed in 1998, but has been struck down as unconstitutional and never enforced.
Morality in Media president Robert Peters criticized the decision. “Today, if a child were to walk into an ‘adult bookstore,’ he or she would be told to leave, because it is against the law to sell pornography to children in real space,” said Peters. “But if that same child were to ‘click’ to most commercial websites that distribute hardcore pornography, he or she could view pornography free of charge and without restriction.”
Peters said that the decision by the Philadelphia Appeals Court that internet filters are a sufficient protection against online porn flies in the face of facts. According to a recent study, only 41% of parents said that they "use parental controls to block their children’s access to certain websites," despite the fact that for more than a decade government agencies (including schools), media outlets, online services, filter technology companies, and nonprofits have vigorously promoted parental use of filters.
“For any number of reasons, many parents will not use such [filtering] technology,” said Peters, pointing out that many parents simply lack the technical know-how, or are concerned that filtering technologies will filter out legitimate site as well as pornographic ones.