DOPA attempts to deal with online predation by requiring schools and public libraries to bar access to “commercial social networking websites” and “chat rooms.” However, the bill’s definition of what constitutes such sites is such that the list of sites that could be blocked is extremely broad. Here’s how DOPA defines social networking sites:
(i) is offered by a commercial entity;
(ii) permits registered users to create an on-line profile that includes detailed personal information;
(iii) permits registered users to create an on-line journal and share such a journal with other users;
(iv) elicits highly-personalized information from users; and
(v) enables communication among users.’.
Congratulations, Congress! You’ve just potentially barred everyone from using Amazon.com (not to mention the Ars OpenForum) at schools and libraries. The Federal Communications Commission will be tasked with the unenviable job of deciding which sites are harmless and which are presumably rife with online predators and should be blocked.
UPDATES: Congress errs in bid to ensure safe surfing & Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist with the Pew Internet & American Life Project testifies to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications.
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