Thursday, March 25, 2004
The Internet and Alcohol
The ambiguous influence of the Internet on vice regulation is highlighted by two recent alcohol-related stories. The first comes from Michigan, where a group is forming to try to counter the potential for kids to circumvent age controls by using the Internet to purchase alcohol. (The linked article does not actually mention any cases where this circumvention has been successfully (or even unsuccessfully) employed, however -- perhaps the chief motivation for the group to act at this time is to influence the ongoing litigation concerning Michigan's controls over out-of-state, mail-order alcohol sales.) The second story comes from Cabrini College in Pennsylvania, where nine students were disciplined for drinking in their dorm rooms. The initial evidence of their drinking consisted of photos placed on the web (at webshots.com) -- and we all know that anything on the web is completely reliable. The students were each fined $50 and placed on housing probation, and one student lost her work-study job! Well, at least that student can take heart in knowing that she didn't have to face a Texas judge.