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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    USA Goverment Relations Congress May Require ICANN to Create .kids
    posted by michael on Friday June 29 2001, @05:41PM

    Newsbytes reports that two members of the US Congress today introduced a bipartisan bill to require ICANN to create .kids. The bill would prohibit the Department of Commerce from adding any other ICANN-selected domains to the root until .kids was created. Newsbytes quotes an aide to one of the bill's sponsors as saying that the ICANN domain-selection process has "been so unresponsive to the general public interest that this is where it inevitably goes."

    Members of Congress often introduce bills that have no hope of passage just to score political points, but this is the sort of seemingly costless idea (involving no direct expenditure and almost no political cost either) that sometimes becomes impossible for anyone in office to oppose. It's striking that the bill is being introduced by Rep. John Shimkus, a very conservative Republican, and Rep. Edward Markey, a very liberal Democrat. So, who knows, it might pass. But, then there are the constitutional questions...

    Ordinarily the First Amendment to the US Constitution makes it impossible for the US government to create any type of censorship regime, but the rules are somewhat different if it can show that it protects children, or empowers parents or schoolteachers to do so, and that there are plentiful alternate channels for uncensored speech. So here too, depending on how the bill is drafted it might pass muster.

    Almost any attempt at government-sponsored speech regulation is litigated in the US, often with the help of groups such as the ACLU. Since the bill calls for ICANN to pick the .kids operator, it is possible that such a case would provide an occasion to determine the extent to which ICANN is legally a "US government actor" -- a critical and unsettled legal issue at present.

    The bill is HR 2417, but it is not online yet at Thomas, the Library of Congress's web site. Just a message saying "Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from the Government Printing Office a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed."

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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Congress May Require ICANN to Create .kids | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 21 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Congress May Require ICANN to Create .kids
    by hofjes on Saturday June 30 2001, @01:18PM (#1026)
    User #60 Info
    Does the bill require that all content propagated via a .kids domain be kid-safe?

    Does the bill provide for enforcement of kid-safe content?

    What penalties are provided for making available content that is not kid-safe?

    What is kid-safe anyway?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Congress May Require ICANN to Create .kids
    by hofjes on Sunday July 01 2001, @06:12AM (#1030)
    User #60 Info
    Because their constituents are very fond of protecting kids from the dangers of the Internet.

    Very few people understand the DNS and content control. By passing this bill, congress-people can say they did something "big" to protect kids, and 99% of people will believe them.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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