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Index of category youthrights

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Death Note witch trials
There's a popular anime series called Death Note whose plot revolves around a magical notebook (the "Death Note" of the title).  Humans whose names are written in the Death Note, die.  The book falls into the hands of a high-school student who uses it to go on a killing spree - starting with criminals he thinks the world will be better off without, but quickly moving on to killing the police too in order to protect himself from discovery.  This series is currently being shown on US television in translation, and it's already been very popular in the original Japanese, and as happens with popular anime series, there've been licensed products based on it.  Including notebooks styled to look like the Death Note. [478 words...] (4 March 2008)
On Kodomo no Jikan and instigation
A great deal has already been said about Seven Seas and Kodomo no Jikan/Nymphet.  People who want to know about that stuff already do.  There is just one thing relating to that mess that I'd like to comment on here; it concerns a point in Jason DeAngelis's first public statement on the subject.  He has since retracted some of the statement, but the principle illustrated is more general than just this one incident. [1151 words...] (31 May 2007)
Corporal punishment vs. torture
Here's a thought:  If you think that corporal punishment of children is okay, it seems like you have to conclude that corporal punishment of criminals, like they do in Singapore, is okay too.  After all, the criminals deserve it more.  And then if you think that corporal punishment of criminals is okay, it's just a small step to saying that torture of suspects (maybe only the very WORST suspects, maybe limited to the nonsensical "ticking time bomb" situation, if you're a little squeamish, certainly perpetrated by someone other than you...) is okay too.  You have to say that because the purported arguments in favour of torture are stronger.  The bad people were able to convince the US Congress to allow torture of suspects and not corporal punishment of criminals, for instance.  I'm not even clear on what the difference between "torture" and "corporal punishment" even is, except that torture seems to be less of a moral problem. [252 words...] (13 October 2006)
WWASPS critic loses suit
Slashdot is covering this story, but only from the point of view of "online defamation":  a jury awarded US$11.3 million to someone who claimed to have been defamed online.  It was a default judgement - the defendant didn't put in any defence - and it turned out that that was because she'd been forced to flee her home due to Hurricane Katrina during the relevant time period, and as a result she never received the papers notifying her of the suit.  There's a lot being said about the case, but as far as I know, nobody has yet drawn any attention to what I consider the most interesting part of the story. [755 words...] (13 October 2006)
Cyber Patrol break FAQ (version 1.11)
Frequently asked questions about The Breaking of Cyber Patrol® 4 and related court cases. (16 July 2006)
Morpheus porn filter blocks -150%
Dr. Edward Felten reviews the latest US government filtering study, which reports (although they describe it very differently in the summary) that turning on the anti-pornography feature in Morpheus causes searches to return more than twice as much pornography - though still much less than is available on the Web. (30 June 2005)
New WWASPS coverage
The number of search engine hits I've gotten on "tranquility bay", "wwasps", "human obedience schools", and similar topics has increased recently.  I wonder if there's been some new development that's causing a lot of people to look for information on this subject.  I'm not aware of any particular news, but here's a current article from the Missoula Independent on obedience schools in Montana, especially focusing on one called Spring Creek.  It's essentially a privately run maximum security prison for teenagers, part of the same network as the notorious Tranquility Bay.  There's also some discussion in the article of the most recent Montana obedience-school suicides.  For some of my other writings on this topic, see the obedience schools category. (16 June 2005)
No conviction for "luring" non-existent minor
This article in the Las Vegas Sun describes a Reno, Nevada man acquitted of chatroom child-luring because the 16-year-old woman he "lured" into an in-person meeting did not actually exist.  She was actually a false persona created by the local sheriff's department.  The judge ruled that you can't be guilty of "luring" a minor when no minor is actually involved, so no conviction; and the appeals court upheld that decision - continuing the US legal system's tradition of recognizing a difference between reality and fantasy.  There is an added wrinkle that makes it less strong, however. [402 words...] (16 June 2005)
Regarding Benedict XVI
So, much is being made in certain quarters of the fact that the new Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth.  He joined when he was 14 - in a time and place where not joining the Hitler Youth was likely to get you killed.  But let's suppose for the sake of argument that he'd done it because he wanted to instead of under threat of death.  Suppose he really believed in the Nazi ideology and actually thought gassing Jews was a good thing and so on.  What then? [185 words...] (20 April 2005)
More on Osaka student-tracking
A reader sent me this link to a September 2004 article on the Osaka student-RFID scheme.  The article is in Japanese, but includes some evocative pictures.  See also my previous note on the subject.  The previous previous note mentioned there turned out to be this thread on a Web BBS I frequent, not a lebwog posting at all. (28 February 2005)
Shipping pallets, razor handles, rapists, cattle, students, soap
Some time ago I read about a Japanese plan to attach RFID tracking devices to Osaka schoolchildren, and I thought I linked to it here but can't find the item even with my spiffy search page.  Now the Americans (well, Californians) have picked up the idea, and the ACLU is in a tizzy (linked document is their press release redistributed by EFF).  RFID tagging of human beingss also drew attention recently when Bruce Schneier was trolled by some Danish artists who pretended to have a long-distance RFID-implantation rifle for sale.  Read the comments on that one to see me give an incorrect derivation for "jumping the gun" and a lot of other silly folks confuse that phrase with "jumping the shark". [143 words...] (16 February 2005)
Pornography not just for boys anymore
Here's an article from Mainichi Interactive (in English) on the trend towards explicit sexuality in shoujo manga (Japanese graphic novels marketed to girls).  One point I find interesting is that this stuff is not at all new in shounen (aimed at boys) products, but apparently a line has been crossed now that the readers are female.  Also interesting are some of the comments from youthful interviewees - one of whom pointed out that hey, if we're sitting here reading manga alone, that means we're not "cool" enough to be out there doing this stuff with boys in real life, so "parents should feel at ease".  Another fingers sex-related Internet spam as a worse problem.  The difference between fantasy and reality seems to be a lot clearer than it is for many North Americans.  Notice also the tone of the article in the third paragraph; I don't know whether that adjective-heavy style is direct from the original Japanese or introduced by the translator, but I think somebody over at Mainichi has been spending too much time reading the wrong kind of fanfic. (14 December 2004)
VeriSign helps expose chatroom cops
Imagine for a moment that you're one of those creepy people we've heard so much about:  a chatroom pervert.  You've "stalked", you've "groomed", and now your prospective victim, who claims to be a 12-year-old girl, has finally agreed to meet you in person.  Now you face a dilemma:  do you make the date?  Thing is, she might not really be 12.  She might not even be a "she".  Maybe she's someone much like yourself, in which case the two of you can grin uncomfortably at each other and walk away; but maybe she's actually a male undercover cop, in which case the consequences of trying to date her may be more serious.  How do you know?  Well, thanks to VeriSign, now you can be sure. [981 words...] (27 September 2004)
Vaccinations against vice
My apologies for running another article off of Slashdot, against my usual policy, but I just wanted to point out that I predicted this in December 2000.  [Vaccinations against vice] (25 July 2004)
Curfew delayed in Huntingdon, Quebec
This really takes me back.  It's been years since I wrote or thought anything about youth curfews, but they were a significant part of ASFAR's (Americans for a Society Free from Agre Restrictions) platform back when I was involved in that organization, circa 1997.  Today's story is that the town of Huntingdon, 65km southwest of Montreal, passed a bylaw to confine persons under 16 to their homes between 10:30pm and 6:00am.  Now they've suspended enforcement, pending a lawsuit brought by local Liberal MP André Chenail.  I'm impressed.  Not many, and not enough, MPs would be willing to take such a stand - especially not on behalf of constituents who aren't allowed to vote.  [Curfew delayed in Huntingdon, Quebec] (6 July 2004)
Chat room safety device has nothing to do with chat rooms
This item is all over the "intellectual property and inventions" aggregate feed this morning.  I chose the Scotsman.com coverage because it has a little more detail than others.  The story is that a beautician in the UK has invented a "chat room safety device" and won an award for it.  Except...  the "chat room safety device" has nothing whatsoever to do with "chat rooms", and very little to do with "safety". [351 words...] (31 May 2004)
Legal culpability and brain development
This article from Science News discusses recent research on human brain development showing that there are measurable differences between teenagers' brains and those of older adults.  The killer app is an upcoming US Supreme Court case which will test the constitutionality of applying the death penalty to teenagers, as is done in the US. But, of course, there are a lot of other questions I'd like to ask. [1084 words...] (27 May 2004)
Conspiracy theory of the moment
So, the latest round of Microsoft worms has been spamming us all into the ground recently.  The common wisdom is that the most pernicious recent worms are the work of semi-professionals.  They're basically well-written, and they appear to be designed specifically to give the worm authors a broad base of compromised machines that can be applied to some useful purpose (for instance, spamming).  I've heard plausible theories that organised crime is involved.  In other words, the latest round of worms are not the work of script kiddies.  Well, in this story from KOMO TV's Web site, we hear that the authorities have arrested yet another script kiddie; and just like the last one, he or she is (if guilty at all) only responsible for a minor variant that caused negligible damage in comparison to the main worm infestation.  So, if this is not script kiddie work, why do the authorities keep arresting script kiddies? [686 words...] (29 September 2003)
Face recognition for the children
This story is all about fighting child pornography, and of course we're not allowed to say that there's anything wrong with such efforts.  But just try zooming in on a few details of the proposed program.  Face recognition applied on a large scale.  Profiling and tracking of whom suspects have communicated with (note that's intended primarily to cover possible victims, not just other suspects).  Worldwide sharing of the resulting databases.  Are these good things?  [Face recognition for the children] (24 September 2003)
US Supreme Court rules libraries must filter
The US Supreme Court has overturned the lower courts' rulings in United States v.  American Library Association, and upheld the Constitutionality of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).  This means that all libraries in the USA that receive Federal "e-rate" funding for Internet access, must apply censorware to all their computers to prevent the viewing of material "harmful to minors" - including computers for staff only, computers used only by adults, and computers that aren't funded by the e-rate money.  There's a vague provision for adult library users to request the unblocking of material for "legitimate" research purposes, but restricting all users to the level considered suitable for children, must be the default.  See the LawMeme comments linked above, the decision in PDF form, the ALA press release, the EFF press release, Seth Finkelstein's blog, and all the usual suspects.  [US Supreme Court rules libraries must filter] (24 June 2003)
ACLU creates DMCA/censorware test case
The ACLU is now working on what might be the DMCA test case that cp4break wasn't:  Edelman v.  N2H2, complaint linked above.  The story here is that Ben Edelman is a researcher who wants to break N2H2's "Bess" filtering program and not end up in jail for DMCA or license agreement violation, so he's seeking a judgment from the court to say that it's alright for him to do that.  The Library of Congress ruling on DMCA exemptions supports the idea that his actions should be allowed, and it appears to have been influenced by my writings, so I guess I can claim to have had some part in this.  That ruling is pretty strong as to the DMCA issues; but the license agreement issues (Bess's clickwrap forbids reverse engineering, I think illegally) still need to be cleared up.  More coverage on news.com.  [ACLU creates DMCA/censorware test case] (25 July 2002)
On a less serious note
I have mixed feelings about the amazing revelation in today's Ozy&Millie.  Spoiler warning. [164 words...] (25 July 2002)
In memoriam Josh Gilbert
Right now I'm in the middle of compiling a contact list of people who could give talks about the legal and social issues of computing, specifically relating to my own interests in intellectual property, freedom of expression, and youth rights.  I thought I'd include Josh Gilbert, founder of the Canadian Youth Rights Association.  I tried to look up his current contact information, and got an unpleasant surprise:  he killed himself just over a year ago. [441 words...] (11 July 2002)
More Young Offenders Act stuff
The House of Commons spent almost all of yesterday talking about C-7.  I suppose I should sit down and actually read through this stuff, especially as it probably has some relation to youth rights, but so far, I just haven't gotten around to doing that.  Without taking a position on other things he said, I would like to post a quote from Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): [288 words...] (5 February 2002)
Age discrimination links
Links to youth rights resources, from the Nauthiz Equal Access Campaign. (1 January 2000)
Temporarily gone
Campaign against age discrimination by internet service providers. Comparison of ISP policies on access for young customers; commentary; youth rights links. (1 January 2000)
Copyright © 2008 Matthew Skala
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