On April 9, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved, by voice vote, legislation (H.R. 3833) that would create an Internet domain especially for children. The bill passed the Subcommittee on Telecommunications on March 7 (see The Source, 3/8/02).
Sponsored by Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Edward Markey (D-MS), the bill would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) within the Commerce Department to create a secondary-level domain within the .us country code, “kids.us” for children under the age of 13.
A substitute amendment by Rep.Shimkus, approved by voice vote, addressed concerns expressed by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) regarding the ability of NTIA and its contractor NeuStar Inc. to ensure that the Internet zone would be free of offensive material. The amendment would enable NTIA and NeuStar to suspend operations of the new domain if it failed to meet the standards outlined in the bill.
The legislation compares the protected environment within the U.S. country code Internet domain for children with the creation of a children’s section in the library that would promote positive experiences for kids and their families. The material allowed on the domain would be deemed “suitable for minors,” which means that the content would be educational and informational and would meet the social and entertainment needs of children under age 13.