Gore: Do it Yourselves

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WASHINGTON: This "small government" thing is really catching on. At a conference Tuesday on making the Internet safe for children, White House techie Al Gore told the online industry to stop worrying about the Big G, and get to work themselves. "There is a danger for this effort to degenerate into a discussion about how to avoid regulation," he said. "To be successful, it must be elevated to a discussion about how to meet the needs of America's families."

In like-minded comments Monday, President Clinton sounded almost like a disinterested party. "I hope it works," Clinton said of the industry's efforts. "I encouraged them to do it, and I'm glad they're doing it. I wish them well."

So what are they doing? For starters, industry representatives have promised to inform on activities involving child pornography to law enforcement officials, all the while combing their own sites for evildoers. But the focus of the conference is technology: computerized baby-sitting that can allay the fears of parents (and the government officials who need their votes) without turning the Web into an edge-less wasteland.