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Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership

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Dot Kids Dot US Domain Passes Senate

On November 15, 2002, the Senate passed H.R. 3833, the "Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act," which requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to oversee implementation of a new second-level ".kids" domain within the ".us" top-level domain. This bill was already passed by the House, and the President is expected to sign it into law.

The law sets out very restrictive rules for content in the new second level domain. Material is restricted to "only to material that is suitable for minors and not harmful to minors," defined as children under 13 years of age. Additionally, sites within the domain are prohibited from providing two-way or multi-user interactive services, such as chat or instant message services, unless they certify that such a service will be designed to reduce the risk of exploitation of minors. Another controversial feature of the Dot Kids law is that it prohibits hyperlinks in the domain that take users to other domains, such as .com or .org.

Neustar, the registry responsible for the entire ".us" top-level domain, must now develop written standards for content within the new domain, as well as rules for enforcing the standards and removing content that violates them. The domain must be operational within one year of enactment of this bill. We will be monitoring as it moves through the implementation process.

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