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L18 Metatag to Protect Children Online Is A Stupid Idea

Congress is once again proposing a website metatag that can allegedly be used to filter out web pages that are “harmful to minors.”

When politicians try to do something “for the children,” expect a child-like solution.

Who defines what is “harmful to minors?” The same elected representatives who troll for teenage pages and other sordid misconduct.

There are two fatal flaws in this feel-good useless waste of taxpayer funds.

1. See the First Amendment. Yes. The Constitution was not intended to protect porn. However, it also wasn’t intended to be shredded with vague euphemisms like “harmful to minors.” I believe that reading Barbra Streisand’s website would be harmful to my kid. Shall I insist that the L18 metatag be added to it?

2. As the point is made repeatedly by South Park, the government considers gratuitous violence okay for minors but even partial nudity to be the equivalent of snorting blow from the navel of a Las Vegas stripper. It is MPAA-style hypocrisy to prevent kids from seeing Playboy online with an L18 tag where the same legislation would presumably allow viewing of the Faces of Death website.

Yes. We need to protect our kids. But it is the role of parents to do so. Abdicating that role to ineffective laws passed by politicians with room temperature IQs isn’t the way to ensure child safety.

Hat tip to Declan McCullagh at

Mike Young, Esq.

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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