Senator Wages War On Online Porn

Obama
CBS
By Bryan Sanders of the CBS News Political Unit.

New legislation to restrict access to Internet pornography was introduced today as a new report finds use of Internet pornography rising, especially among children.

The Internet Safety and Child Protection Act, sponsored by Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, would establish strict age verification requirements for access to pornography Web sites and a federal "smut tax" of 25 percent to fund efforts to protect children from inappropriate material—and sexual predators—online.

According to a new study by Third Way, a progressive strategy firm that consults Democrats on ways to reach out to more conservative voters, there are over 420 million pornography websites on the Internet, compared to just 14 million in 1998, Although technology exists to prevent minors from accessing the pornographic Web sites, only 3 percent of these sites use the technology.

Reports show the largest consumers of Internet pornography are children between the ages of 12-17, an issue Lincoln's bill seeks to address. Strict age verification requirements, using screening technologies approved by the FTC, would become mandatory for all pornographic Web sites under the new legislation.

"While it is as difficult as ever for a teenager to walk into a store and buy a pornographic magazine, it is as easy as 'point-and-click' for an 11-year-old child to view streaming pornographic video online," says Sean Barney, the author of the Third Way report.