I see the hysteria over the well-being of "the children" no different than the
hysteria over the well-being of Internet artists. Digital sanctuaries and
kid-friendly Internet domains are just another way of falling to the
regulatory shenanigans of the Rollings Bill. Those smart chips are
going to be used for more than reading DVD-specific code. They
will be used to segregate and track people all over the Internet.
Instead of talking about a digital sanctuary, whether for kids or artists,
we should be talking about digital ghettos, reservations and encampments.
They will not be there to protect our freedoms. They will be there to delimit
the fiefdoms of the corporate lords of the Internet.
If there was ever a doubt that the Internet was a territory that could be
conquered and divvied up, well, I think this proves all the doubters wrong.
House Passes Kid-Friendly Internet Bill
Tue May 21, 2:41 PM ET
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday
approved a proposal to create a kid-friendly Internet zone free of
violence, pornography and other adult material.
By a vote of 406 to 2, the House approved a bill that would set up an
area within the United States' ".us" Internet domain allowing only
Web sites deemed appropriate for children 12 years old and younger.
Web sites bearing a ".kids.us" address would have to certify that
they do not contain sexually explicit material, hate speech, violence
or other material not suitable for minors.
"The wild West of the World Wide Web will get tamed somewhat," said
bill sponsor Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican, at a press
In the Senate, North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan said he will
introduce similar legislation later in the day with Nevada Republican
Unlike previous attempts to screen out online smut, the bill would
regulate content only on a corner of the Internet that falls directly
under U.S. government control. Better known domains such as ".com"
and ".net," as well as the rest of the ".us" domain, would not be
subject to restrictions.
"If you're in Tennessee, Taiwan or Timbuktu, you can publish or speak
any content you want on the Internet," said co-sponsor Rep. Ed
Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, in remarks on the House floor.
The bill represents the latest attempt to keep children away from the
sexually explicit material easily available to anyone with a computer
and an Internet connection.
The Supreme Court had thrown out an early attempt, the 1996
Communications Decency Act, as an infringement on free speech. A
second, the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, remains sidelined by a
More recently, lawmakers had hoped the international body that
controls domain-name policy would set up a ".kids" domain.
After the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers passed
on the idea in November 2000, Markey and Shimkus introduced a bill
that would force it to set up a ".kids" domain.
But they backed off from that plan last fall after witnesses told
them it would be difficult to dictate policy to ICANN (news - web
sites), which is not under direct U.S. government control.
The revised bill would place a ".kids" subdomain under the control of
NeuStar Inc., the Washington-based telecommunications company that
won the contract to manage the ".us" country-code domain last fall.
NeuStar would be expected to police the subdomain to ensure it
remains free of inappropriate content, and it would answer to the
Commerce Department (news - web sites)'s National Telecommunications
and Information Administration (news - web sites).
Web sites in the domain would be prohibited from linking to sites
outside it, and they could not set up chat rooms, instant messaging
(news - web sites) or other interactive services unless they could
certify that they did not expose children to pedophiles or pose other
If privately held NeuStar were to lose money on the venture, it could
give control back to the Commerce Department, which would seek