Vice President Al Gore Lauds Telecom Law
THE huge telecommunications bill signed into law by President Clinton yesterday will profoundly alter the way televisions, telephones, and home computers interact - and ''lead to the completion of the information superhighway far sooner than anyone had thought possible,'' according to Vice President Al Gore.
Long the administration's point person for information technology reform, Mr. Gore had little but praise for the massive telecom legislation at a Monitor breakfast on Thursday.
''The Berlin Walls of the telecom industry come tumbling down - today,'' said Gore at the breakfast, which honored Monitor columnist Godfrey Sperling Jr. and his 30-year tradition of hosting the early morning events.
The vice president did say that the administration continues to have concerns about the constitutionality of a bill provision intended to outlaw the transmission of indecent material to minors over computer networks. But large majorities of both chambers of Congress were in favor of the provision, Gore pointed out. ''We have agreed to let it stand or fall on the decision of the courts,'' he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already announced its intention to file suit over the issue. In contrast, Gore was enthusiastic about the ''V-chip'' provision of the telecom overhaul, which requires TV sets to be marketed with a computer chip that blocks out objectionable content.
The V-chip ''is not censorship,'' Gore said. He judged it a use of technology that gives parents a new way to control their children's environment. For many parents, it isn't practical to either toss out the TV, or monitor every show their children watch. ''The V-chip isn't perfect. But it allows parents to make choices.''