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McCain's Securing Adolescents from Exploitation-Online Act

From ZDNet comes news of John McCain's latest attempt to crack down on "illegal" images. It also comes just as McCain begins his bid for the presidency in 2008.

A forthcoming bill in the U.S. Senate lays the groundwork for a national database of illegal images that Internet service providers would use to automatically flag and report suspicious content to police.

The proposal, which Sen. John McCain is planning to introduce on Wednesday, also would require ISPs and perhaps some Web sites to alert the government of any illegal images of real or "cartoon" minors. Failure to do would be punished by criminal penalties including fines of up to $300,000.

The Arizona Republican claims that his proposal, a draft of which was obtained by CNET News.com, will aid in investigations of child pornographers. It will "enhance the current system for Internet service providers to report online child pornography on their systems, making the failure to report child pornography a federal crime," a statement from his office said.

To announce his proposal, McCain has scheduled an afternoon press conference on Capitol Hill with Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat; John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted; and Lauren Nelson, who holds the title of Miss America 2007.

Civil libertarians worry that the proposed legislation goes too far and could impose unreasonable burdens on anyone subject to the new regulations. And Internet companies worry about the compliance costs and argue that an existing law that requires reporting of illicit images is sufficient.

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How would this affect Interent companies / databases that are not based in the US? Can we legislate the whole net?