On March 7, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet easily approved, by voice vote, legislation (H.R. 3833) that would establish an Internet domain specifically for children. Sponsored by Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Edward Markey (D-MA), the bill would require the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIS) at the Department of Commerce to create a secondary-level domain within the .us country code, “kids.us,” for children under the age of 13.
Subcommittee Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) compared the children’s Internet zone to a “safe playground with fences around it.”
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) said, “It creates a virtual ‘green light’ district where children can benefit from the World Wide Web in a safe environment.” He compared the .us country code” to the “made in the U.S. label that connotes certainty, fairness, and reliability.”
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) said she was troubled by the prospect of allowing the government to control an Internet zone.
H.R. 3833 is a revised version of legislation (H.R. 2417), also sponsored by Reps. Shimkus and Markey, that would have created a generic, top-level global domain, “.kids,” for children under 18 years of age. That bill would have required the NTIA to work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). However, the ICANN and NTIA expressed some concerns about the use of a .kids domain in other countries (see The Source, 11/2/01).