The 'dangers' of MySpace

An interview with Henry Jenkins, co-director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT, and Danah Boyd, a graduate student at Berkeley, offers some good insight on the perceived social dangers of MySpace and the federal government's attempt to cash on social fears of online predators with the new proposed Deleting Online Predators Act, which among other things would block access to social networking sites like MySpace in schools and libraries. (An L.A. Times reporter nailed the idiocy of this idea in one clean sentence: "It's not whether lawmakers should bar kids from accessing social networking websites but whether they can.")

One of Boyd's answers gives good background:

Recent federal legislation, Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) would require schools and libraries that receive federal aid “to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms.” The proposed law would extend current regulations that require all federally funded schools and libraries to deploy internet filters. The law is so broadly defined that it would limit access to any commercial site that allows users to create a profile and communicate with strangers. This legislation is targeting MySpace, but it would also block numerous other sites, including blogging tools, mailing lists, video and podcast sites, photo sharing sites, and educational sites like NeoPets.

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