Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 14:44:45 -0700
Subject: UPDATE: FBI Rebuffs the AFA
It's refreshing to detect the note of frustration that runs through the
latest press release from the American Family Association...
It seems the AFA is unaccustomed to having folks in Washington rebuff its
alarmist cries to "protect the children" by censoring free speech.
But indeed, that seems to be the case. The Columbus Dispatch recently
reported that the FBI *will not* launch an investigation of CompuServe
following the AFA's accusations that the service is "making pornography
available to children."
Of course, ol' Pat Trueman isn't giving up without a fight. Having been
thwarted by the FBI, he's now whining to Janet Reno and some members of
Congress that not enough is being done to uphold his cherished
Communications Decency Act.
-- The AFA asserts that, "The fact that CompuServe allows parents to block
pornography is not sufficient to block liability under the Communications
Decency Act." No doubt the judges in Philadelphia would be interested to
-- Trueman's absurd claim that "children have unlimited access to
pornography on CompuServe."
-- My personal favorite: "It does no good for Congress to pass laws to
protect children is the FBI is unwilling to enforce them... I hope you will
not stand by while the FBI guts the recently passed Communications Decency
Act through it's refusal to do it's job."
The full text of Trueman's fulmination follows below.
Work the network!
American Family Association
Washington, D.C. Office
Contact: Patrick A. Trueman
For Immediate Release Thursday May 9, 1996
The American Family Association is pressing its complaint against
CompuServe for making pornography available to children, despite comments
by the FBI in today's Columbus Dispatch that it will not initiate an
investigation. In a letter today to Janet Reno, AFA Director of
Governmental Affairs Patrick Trueman said, "If CompuServe's actions, in
providing pornography to children, is not a violation of the Communications
Decency Act, then what it?" Trueman asked Attorney General Reno to
personally review AFA's complaint against CompuServe. "Making pornography
available to children, as CompuServe has done, is exactly what the CDA was
designed to prevent."
"The fact that CompuServe allows parents to block pornography is not
sufficient to block liability under the Communications Decency Act,"
Trueman said. Congress anticipated that on-line companies would block out
all pornography that they may provide to their users on their service
unless an adult specifically requests it. CompuServe has turned the law on
its head, by providing pornography to all its users, including children,
claiming that it should be the parents' responsibility to block out such
material. By CompuServe's own figures, far less than 1% of parents have
initiated parental controls (only .128%). Trueman suggests that this is
likely because few parents are aware that their children have unlimited
access to pornography on CompuServe.
AFA is also contacting congressional sponsors of the Communications Decency
Act to alert them to the FBI's refusal to pursue the CompuServe matter.
"It does no good for Congress to pass laws to protect children is the FBI
is unwilling to enforce them," Trueman said in his letter to Members of
Congress. "I hope you will not stand by while the FBI guts the recently
passed Communications Decency Act through it's refusal to do it's job."
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