Jacking in from the "Last Safe Harbor" Port:
U.S. Capitol, Senate Gallery -- It's all over. Fuck it.
The Senate this evening, by a vote of 84-to-16, passed a draconian measure today that restrains First Amendment rights in Cyberspace.
Say a "dirty word," go to jail. It's all over. Under this amendment to the telecommunications reform bill now being debated in the Senate, the first sentence of Dispatch would land both you and me and possibly the system that zipped it though the Internet to your Email box in jail for two years and cost all of us $200,000 each. And no, it wasn't billed as a budget deficit reduction act.
The amendment was offered by Senator James Exon (D-Neb.) in conjunction with Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) as an amendment to the Communications Decency Act that was first added to the telecom reform bill. That bill's principal author was Sen. Exon.
The last ditch stance to defeat the Exon amendment, a proposal by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), which would have substituted Exon's abridgement of first amendment rights with a more sane approach of studying the problem and suggesting technical solutions to the problem of pornography on the Net was never even voted on, due to some procedural wrangling by the Senate leadership.
A more detailed report of this floor action will follow later tonight.
In the meantime, Dispatch is moving its operation to Belize.