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Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002

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Citation Edit

Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-317, codified at 47 U.S.C. §941.

Overview Edit

The Act represents an entirely new approach to government regulation of the Internet — dividing up the Internet into "cyberzones." While Congress’ previous focus in protecting minors on the Internet had been on keeping children out, the focus of the Dot Kids Act is to keep children in. The Act directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce to create a new, second-level domain (.kids) within the United States country code domain (.us) dedicated solely to age-appropriate children’s content.

The Act creates a new domain that provides access only to material that is "suitable for minors" and "not harmful to minors." The statute's definition of "harmful to minors" is essentially the same as in the Child Online Protection Act COPA. Its definition of "suitable for minors" is "not psychologically or intellectually inappropriate for minors" and "serves (i) the educational, informational, intellectual, or cognitive needs of minors; or (ii) the social, emotional, or entertainment needs of minors." Participation is voluntary, and the Commerce Department monitors the sites.

Section 941(c) of the Act sets forth a dozen requirements for website owners to meet in order to register in the new domain, but only two are specific content-related requirements. Subsection 10 requires a written agreement with the registrar that any "two-way and multi-user interactive services" would comply with the domain's "written content standards," while subsection 11 requires a written agreement that prohibits hyperlinks that take users out of the dot kids domain. The "written content standards," as established and administered by current domain registrar Neustar, state that "the following content is NOT permitted within the kids.us domain: Mature/adult content, Pornography, Explicit language, Violence, Hate speech, Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling, Weapons [and] Criminal activity."[1]

Critics have complained that the cost for obtaining a dot kids domain name, and paying for required content review, is too expensive, and the content requirements are too restrictive.[2]

Privacy Edit

While the Act does not mention privacy, the guidelines specifically call for compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) from all registrants.

Web address Edit

The URL for the new domain is http://www.kids.us.

References Edit

  1. See NeuStar, Inc. kids.us.web page. Specific content policy information is available here.
  2. See, e.g., David McGuire, "Firms Ignore Kids-Only Internet Domain." Washingtonpost.com (Feb. 20, 2003).

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