Friday, August 03, 2007

C|Net : Senators take another stab at shielding kids online

Senators take another stab at shielding kids online
Here's another bill to add to the heap of congressional proposals offered in the spirit of combating child pornography and keeping kids safe from predators on the Internet.

It's called the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, and it was proposed on Thursday by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)--along with Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas).

But this one doesn't seem to be as aggressive as some previous approaches, which called for requiring everything from labeling Web sites containing sexually explicit content to wiping out access to social-networking sites and chat rooms on school- and library-based computers.

If the 11-page bill seen by CNET on Friday becomes law, ISPs would face tripled fines for failing to report child pornography on their servers--up to $150,000 for failing to report child pornography the first time and up to $300,000 for each subsequent failures. But unlike an earlier draft proposal by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), however, this version does not attempt to expand those reporting requirements to include other Web operations, such as commercial Web sites and personal blogs.

The ISPs would, however, also have to include a variety of information in their reports that is not required by existing law, including any relevant user IDs, e-mail addresses, geographic information and IP addresses of the involved person or reported content.

In addition to proposing that both schools and federal regulators institute online safety educational campaigns, the bill would establish an "online safety and technology working group." Composed of businesses, public-interest groups and relevant federal agency representatives, they would be charged with exploring the state of various industry efforts dealing with, you guessed it, online safety...

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