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- 1st Amendment
- Internet Freedom
- Children, Protection
- - COPA
- - CIPA
- - CPPA
- - Child Porn
- - Child Porn, Reporting
- - Protect Act
- - V Chip
- - Deceptive Content
- - Sex Offenders
- - Privacy
- - Notification
- SPAM Labels
- Good Samaritan Defense
A great deal of content regulation is done with the governmental interest of protecting children. These laws seek both to protect children from harmful content, and, in the case of child pornography laws, protect children from being the subject of offensive content. Also included here are laws that protect children's privacy, and support Internet access for children at schools and libraries.
"An analogy is the relationship between swimming pools and children. Swimming pools can be dangerous for children. To protect them, one can install locks, put up fences, and deploy pool alarms. All of these measures are helpful, but by far the most important thing that one can do for one’s children is to teach them to swim." National Academies of Science, 2002
These content laws demonstrate a tension between the value of the Internet; and problematic content. [NAS 1] [COPA Exec Sum] [CIPA Report Exec Sum, Sec. II.A.] There is also a tension between a strong government interest of protecting children and the First Amendment. [COPA II]
Reports have identified the way in which content over the Internet causes risks for children:
- Harder for parents to supervise use
- Easier access to offensive content
- Access to content that is more extreme than content available in other forms
- Accidental access to objectionable content (ex/ content can be pushed at the individual through pop-ups, spam, mouse-trapping)
- Interaction with strangers / sexual predators
[NAS Report] [CIPA Report Exec Sum]
Online Safety Tools
- Software Solutions
- Embedded in some operating systems: Windows Vista, Window 7, Mac X
- Provided by network service providers
- Bundled in off-the-shelf safety softwate
- Whitelists: providing access to appropriate content [CIPA I.A.]
- Blacklists: filtering or blocking access to inappropriate content [NAS 10] [COPA II.B.3] [CIPA I.A.]
- Dynamic Filters
- Monitor, Reports, Time Control [NAS 11] [COPA II.F.15.] [CIPA I.A.]
- Time Control: Control amount of time online per day and when online
- Monitors can report activity of individual online
- Reports give parent information on what has been done, when sites have been accessed, any attempts to tamper with software
- GetNetWise, Tools that Monitor Computer Activity
- Restricting the supply of inappropriate content including creating incentives for the mature content industry to restrict access to adults [NAS 11]
- Labels and Tags [COPA II.C] (can be used with both white and black lists)
- Created by content creator or owner
- Watermarks, Metatags, Embedded information
- Semantic Information or/and reference numbers
- Flags & AUPs: Community flags violations of community standards, host investigates and enforces as appropriate
- Greenspace (Whitespace or Safezone)
- Site Settings
- Education [NAS 9] [COPA II.A.2]
- Kids, Parents, schools, Libraries, Social Welfare orgs
- Education teachers - not just online safety, but how to take advantage of and incorporate online resources into curriculum [CIPA Study Sec. IV.A]
- Materials produced by NGOs
- Materials made available at network service provider sites
- Reviews of online content and applications
- Common Sense Media, Website Reviews Kids Websites,
- Best practices
- Parental, including best practice guidelines for parents and technology
- Education of children [CIPA Study Sec. IV.A]
- Supervision of children [CIPA Study Sec. IV.A] [NAS 9]
- Teaching online literacy
- Use of onlie monitors and reports
- Placement of computer in household / out in open [CIPA Study Sec. IV.A]
- Review of social networking accounts
- Family AUP
- Model Family AUPs Available from NGOs
- Schools: Internet Safety Policies (see CIPA)
- Acceptable Use Policies
- Posted - and splash page at log in that must be agreed to [CIPA Study Sec. IV.A.]
- Placement of computer in household / out in open [CIPA Study Sec. IV.A]
- Industry and industry initiatives
- Age Verification [COPA II.D.] [CIPA I.A.]
Chart from Executive Summary of COPA Commission Report (2000)
"Technologies and methods identified in the lower right quadrant are most effective and accessible while imposing fewer costs and adverse impacts. Those identified in the upper left quadrant are relatively ineffective and create the most adverse effects. After consideration of the information gathered through hearings and comments filed by a wide range of parties, the Commission concludes that no single technology or method will effectively protect children from harmful material online. Rather, the Commission determined that a combination of public education, consumer empowerment technologies and methods, increased enforcement of existing laws, and industry action are needed to address this concern. "
Table of What Federal Agencies Have Responsibility over What Child Safety Issues
|Reporting of Child Porn by ISPs||
|Other Offensive Content (indecency, content harmful to minors)||
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
|Sale of Goods, Contraband||
|Education, Online Safety||
|Law Enforcement, Investigation Forensics||
|Educational (Academic) Materials||
Child Protection Laws Chronologically:
- S 431 KIDS Act of 2008 A bill to require convicted sex offenders to register online identifiers, and for other purposes (legislative background info on sex offenders webpage)
- Broadband Data Improvement Act Title II: Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act
- Protecting Children in the 21 st Century Act, Pub. L. No. 110-385, Title II, 122 Stat. 4096 (2008)
- S.1492 Broadband Data Improvement Act
Title: A bill to improve the quality of federal and state data regarding the availability and quality of broadband services and to promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all parts of the Nation.
Sponsor: Sen Inouye, Daniel K. [HI] (introduced 5/24/2007) Cosponsors (22)
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 110-385 [GPO: Text , PDF ]
Senate Reports: 110-204
- Introduced by Sen. Inouye and amended to include Sen. Steven 's Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act ( S. 49 ) - although perhaps in title only as the amendment varied greatly from the original language introduced by Sen. Stevens.
- Sec. 212 calls on the FTC to engage in a public awareness campaign "to promote the safe use of the Internet by children." The FTC already has such a campaign known as OnGuard Online
- Sec. 213 calls on the FTC to file a Report with Congress with regard to its activities pursuant to Sec. 103 (perhaps a typo).
- Sec. 214 calls on the Department of Commerce to establish the Online Safety and Technology Working Group, which will look at industry efforts to promote online safety, and submit a report to congress within one year.
- Sec. 215 imposes a new requirement on school and libraries that receive subsidies from the FCC's erate program; they must teach Internet safety as a part of their Internet Safety Program. The State of Virginia and many other schools systems already had implemented such educational programs.
- Sec. 216 gives us yet another statutory definition of the Internet. It happens to be verbatim the same definition as codified with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
- Sec. 221 amended FCC enforcement authority in order to give the FCC authority to prosecute the transportation, distribution or possession of child pornography.
- PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008: Allocated additional funds for law enforcement, and duplicated the reporting requirements of the Child Protection and Sexual Predator Punishment Act of 1998 (legislative background info on the PROTECT Act 2008 webpage)
- HR 4472 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (legislative background info on sex offenders webpage)
- PROTECT Act of 2003: Sought to correct the unconstitutional flaws of the CPPA.
- included the Truth in Domain Names Act of 2003 - which makes it criminal to use domain names to trick people into seeing obscenity or children into seeing content harmful to minors.
- S.2537 Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002 creating a separate domain space fo kid friendly webpages .kids.us
- Children's Online Protection Act (COPA): A congressional response to the Communications Decency Act being ruled unconstitutional, COPA attempted to restrict the transmission of material “harmful to minors” over commercial world wide web sites. Litigation is ongoing but at every stage COPA has been ruled unconstitutional
- Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA): CIPA requires that schools and libraries which receive subsidies from the FCC ERate program have in place an Internet Safety Program.
- Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA): Sought to make electronic images of child pornography illegal regardless of whether they actually involve a child. Since the articulated government interest is to protect children, if there is no child involved, then the government interest is not met and the censorship is overbroad; this was ruled unconstitutional.
- Child Protection and Sexual Predator Punishment Act of 1998: Requires ISPs to report known instances of child pornography.
- Communications Decency Act
It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens
Google Talk DC: Born Digital with John Palfrey
An Overview of Challenges in Congress & the States July 2009