DOJ tries again to revive Web porn law

June 10, 2008 6:13:39 PM PDT
Justice Department lawyers are trying to revive a decade-old law aimed at keeping online pornography from children, even though courts have said the law blocks too much legal speech. The 3rd U.S. Circuit judges hearing the case Tuesday questioned the law's effectiveness. They noted estimates that half of all online porn is posted overseas, beyond the reach of U.S. law.

Free speech advocates also say the Child Online Protection Act misses the mark today. They say it does not cover chat rooms, You Tube and other interactive sites that have emerged since 1996.

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union say Internet filters block 95 percent of the offensive content and can be set to comport with a child's age or a parent's sensibilities.

But a Justice Department lawyer says only half of all families use such filters. He says the nation needs "a belt and suspenders approach" to the complex problem.