Книга: Code 2.0



By the mid-1990s, parents’ concern about the effect that violence on television has on their kids had caught the attention of Congress, and Congress responded through legislation. But given the state of First Amendment law, it would have been difficult for Congress to block violence on television directly. Thus, Congress sought a way to block violence on television indirectly. It sought to require that those broadcasting television conte nt tag their content with labels that signaled the level of violence in the film, and it mandated that the television industry develop a technology to block content on the basis of those labels.

This was the “V-Chip”, mandated as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.[59] The V-chip would facilitate the automatic blocking of television broadcasts, based on criteria of content that have not yet been completely determined. The crudest proposals involve something like the Motion Picture Association’s movie rating system; the more sophisticated envision selections based on a much richer set of factors.

This again is Congress regulating code to affect a targeted behavior (providing violent programming) rather than regulating that behavior directly. The constraint on direct regulation here is similarly a regulability problem. But the lack of regulability in this context comes from constitutional limits, not the inability to track those being regulated by the technology. The constraint of the Constitution thus pushed Congress to require technology to empower parents. By giving parents more power to discriminate, Congress indirectly discourages an ill (exposure to violence) that it is constitutionally unable to regulate directly.[60]

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