Yes, you heard that right: as if Sarbanes-Oxley isn’t unenforcable enough, according to Declan McCullagh at CNet Senator John McCain is planning to introduce legislation (the "SAFE" act) which will make certain files (initially child pornography, real or fake, the line is as blurry as they get) illegal. Apparently existing laws which require the reporting of illicit images are not enough, and so fines of up to $300,000 will be assessed against any service that allows user to send or receive communication which does not report any files on the government’s black list.
Now I’m not sure if McCain was drinking one night and thought up this brilliant plan or actually has any IT people working for him… but how on earth does anyone expect this to actually be implemented? Do they plan to mandate that this check against a global blacklist become part of the server operating system, thus making certain operating systems illegal? How do they plan to build this black list? Someone needs to send a message to the moon or wherever McCain is hanging out these days and tell him to stop legislating technology at LEAST until we get the current mess with SOX sorted out. More unenforcable and vague legislation is NOT what we need, all it does is make consultants a lot of money and suck productivity out of the economy.
If Washington insists on legislating on technology, they need to establish a Department of Information Systems or something which has knowledgable, elected officials voted in by people who know a thing or two about technology. Washington has a bad habit of tripping all over itself any time it touches technology, this is a bad situation that keeps getting worse, and it needs to be fixed. I hope this legislation dies, but if it does not I hope it kills McCain’s presidential run on grounds of crippling the economy.