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Feds Emphatically Support Utah’s Child Protection Registry
By: Darklady (Courtesy of YNOT.com)
Posted: 11/7/2006

Washington, DC — A statement written on behalf of the United States government made it crystal clear today that it plans to stay the course in its support of Utah’s so-called Child Protection Registry in spite of concerns of redundancy and privacy risks expressed by the Free Speech Coalition and other civil rights groups.

The U.S. Department of Justice released a 21-page defense of the registry, stating that "the United States seeks to ensure that the preemptive provision in the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (‘the CAN-SPAM Act’) is interpreted correctly so as to provide due regard for the traditional police power of the states, without depriving the preemptive provision of its intended effect. Contrary to plaintiff’s position, the CAN-SPAM Act does not preempt the Utah Child Protection Registry Act."

The statement specifically took aim at the adult industry, insisting that claims by the FSC’s legal team that the registry violates the First Amendment are incorrect. Although the majority of unsolicited emails so-far penalized by the registry have been for non-erotic materials, the CAN-SPAM Act is believed by many to already addresses the matter, and email filters can be employed to unwanted materials, the DoJ stated that "This claim, if successful, would unjustifiably favor the dubious ‘right’ to send unsolicited sexually-oriented material directly and indiscriminately to personal e-mail addresses, heedless of whether they belong to adults or children, and regardless of the expressed wishes of the owner of the address over (1) the fundamental right of individuals to decline to receive unwanted material (sexually-oriented and otherwise) and (2) the right of parents to direct the rearing of their children — a right that the Supreme Court has recognized to be ‘basic in the structure of our society.’"

The Free Speech Coalition filed suit in November 2005 against Unspam Registry Services and the Utah officials responsible for enforcing the law in what is known as the Free Speech Coalition v. Shurtleff case. The registry, passed in July of 2005 after being enacted during March of the previous year, permits adults to file any fax numbers, instant messenger IDs, mobile phone numbers, and email addresses accessible by children with the intention that they be deemed off-limits to any online solicitation for adult-oriented materials. Currently, 170,000 addresses are included in the registry.

According to Matthew Prince, CEO of Unspam Registry Services, Inc. insists that the CAN-SPAM Act has been "clarified" and that "the potential legal loophole pornographers were trying to use in order to justify sending adult-oriented material to Utah’s children."

The case is pending before Judge Dale Kimball in U.S. District Court.


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