I like how they didn't invite the EFF or the ACLU to this conference.
It would appear that the US Senate is pushing to turn the Net into a nice, safe, sandboxed playground that are constantly monitored because they don't like what you can find on it. It should come as no surprise that they're invoking the protection of children to justify the installation of near-ubiquitous content monitoring and filtering so that They can decide what you should or should not be allowed to look at. They seem to like using children as an excuse, because no one in their right mind would not want to protect kids, right? Parents, they say, are utterly incapable of keeping tabs on what their kids do when they're using computers, which is utter bollocks. Parents need to be parents, which is to say that they need to take an interest in what their kids are up to, set rules of behavior, and most importantly enforce those rules to teach their kids that there are things that they shouldn't be getting into.
The question that now remains is this: Who gets to decide what is or is not filtered? Who determines what people should be protected from, as opposed to what people should make up their own minds about? At what topics will they stop? Alternative politics? Grassroots news? Alternative spirituality? Pictures of someone whacking a pinata?
Who gets to decide what 'protecting' means?
In the immortal words of Andrew Stuttaford, "Rule 1: When someone talks about 'the children' watch out for your wallet. Rule 2: When someone talks about 'the children' watch out for your freedoms. And now, it seems: Rule 3: When someone talks about 'the children' watch out for your democracy."