Obama internet giveaway may open Pandora's box of porn
By Michael R. Shannon
President Obama has a new administration initiative, supported by tax dollars, to close the Internet pornography gap. The divide is caused by ill–gotten gains that give too many Americans fast, broadband access to the booming porn industry; while other Americans are reduced to lurking in seedy newsstands, sneaking peeks between the pages of lurid magazines and hoping the clerk doesn't notice their free browsing.
ConnectHome "will bring high–speed broadband access to over 275,000 low-income households across the US."
That's good news for pornographers. They can always use new customers. Thirty percent of all data transferred on the Internet is porn according to The Huffington Post. While porn sites have more visitors than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.
HuffPost also contends poor people are already online and elevating their heart rate. Mississippi is dead last in per capita income, yet this state leads the nation in average time — almost 12 minutes — spent per porn site.
There are a number of possible explanations. The extra time could be due to initial stupefaction on the part of Mississippi viewers or the Internet connection could be so turgid that viewers don't want to waste time waiting for a new site to load. It's even possible there's a single Internet terminal in the library and viewers have to hot–seat the only chair.
Certainly closing the porn gap is not the official reason for the program, even though it's likely to be the result.
Once again "it's the children." Cnet.com explains, "The effort will initially connect nearly 200,000 children to the Web." Or as administration flacks put it, "While many middle-class U.S. students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends."
Still there is nothing preventing low–income students from logging on after they finish their free school breakfast or doing the work in study hall. They could even join a homework club and do the assignment after school before trudging home to their www.desert.
But this is an administration that discourages initiative and responsibility and encourages lining up in the freebie queue.
Yet the clichéd reason isn't true, as we've come to expect from Obama. The Tennessean looked at Nashville and found that of the 5,200 homes targeted, only half contained any children, school–age or otherwise.
Administration dreamers no doubt believe the students will be spending the majority of their time on LetsAskArchimedes.com and not joining the epidemic of teens exposed to pornography. Those unable to resist the temptation to browse on the wild side have a grim fate in store, courtesy of Obama.
Webroot.com writes, "Pornography viewing by teens disorients them during the developmental phase…when they are most vulnerable to uncertainty about their sexual beliefs and moral values. A significant relationship also exists among teens between frequent pornography use and feelings of loneliness, including major depression."
Parents concerned about the feds opening a sewer in the living room will discover blocking software and other parental monitors — assuming the kids have parents who will monitor — add additional cost to this "free" program.
Obama personally announced ConnectHome in a visit to Durant, OK. There the hapless Department of Agriculture (?) will be giving $50,000 to the Choctaw Nation for it's web–in–the–wigwam program.
The amount is small, but Air Force One touched down exactly 2.2 miles from the Choctaw Casino Resort, an Indian gaming establishment that grossed an estimated $461,666,666.00 in 2010 according to NewsOK.
Since the Choctaw Nation claims "Almost all the profits of the tribe's business enterprises are poured back into services for tribal members…" wouldn't 50K for Internet be included?
The rest of the 27–city program is being paid for by various Internet providers and cellphone companies that know which side their bread is regulated on, but don't expect ConnectHome to stay tax dollar free.
The FCC is already talking about expanding the Lifeline program to pay for Internet service. Lifeline is a spectacularly wasteful and incompetent federal program I've written about here and we pay for it to the tune of $2.2 billion yearly through cellphone taxes.
The Boston Globe quotes Jascha Franklin-Hodge, the city's chief information officer, "Many students, especially lower-income students, may be able to get online in school, but when they go home, for reasons of affordability and access to equipment, they're not able to get online."
It may turn out those kids were the lucky ones after all.
Introducing another social pathology to join all the others low–income homes already suffer from hardly seems like an improvement, but that's the way government works as it "helps." Meanwhile the rest of us can sit back and watch Obamaphone meet Obamanet.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at mandate.mmpr (at) gmail.com. He is also the author of Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!).