I have nothing to back this up at this time, but I have been hearing rumors on Capitol Hill this week (and from others) that, in the wake of the Foley scandal, Congress might be considering regulating instant messaging. Specifically, someone might introduce a bill that would seek to limit access to IM services by minors.
When I first heard this rumor I thought it seemed outlandish, but upon further relection, I can see how some lawmakers might view it as a logical extension of their efforts to regulate social networks or to age-verify all minors before they get onto those networks. IM is a much more complicated thing to take on, however, and if Congress is going to regulate it, what are they going to do about e-mails? Hell, better stop the kids from talking on phones too!
Wouldn’t it just be easier to punish that freak Mark Foley and be done with it? Regulating the Internet or IM isn’t going to solve the problem posed by perverted congressman or any other perverts for that matter.
Again, I have nothing to back this up at this time but if I hear more about this effort to turn IM into the boogeyman du jour I will let everyone know.
Update: My friend Leslie Harris talks more about this issue over at CDT’s PolicyBeta blog.