Over at learning.now, Andy Carvin talks about a possible Utah law aimed at protecting minors from inappropriate online content.

  • The legislation, known as HB 139, was introduced last month by Bradley Daw. According to the latest draft of the law, “A person may not provide wireless Internet access to the public unless the person restricts access to prevent a minor from accessing material harmful to minors.” It would require operators of open wifi networks to “use a reasonable method for ascertaining the age” of a user, such as requiring a credit card number to secure access.

One more scary way that legislators and others are working to limit, rather than increase, internet access. This could affect coffee shops, airports and other businesses that use free internet access as way to attract traffic. Could it affect us?

Andy mentions that Daw is “re-working” the bill to include filters instead of denying total access. But we know how filtering systems can impact access in schools and libraries, i.e. letting imappropriate material through while making it difficult at times for useful information to be available.

I work with a group of tech integration specials once a month at the same time that a group of wires and pliers guys meet. There are often strained conversation between the two groups. Integration specialists, often former or present classroom teachers, urging more access to tools such as wikis and blogs while the hardware guys work to find ways to limit access. Often the classroom teacher loses. Many teachers eventually just give up.

Not sure what the answer will be but what’s scary is that attitudes such as those held by Daw will begin to find their way into the school system.

Can’t we all just get along?