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House OKs Wiretapping and New .kids.us domain 173

Posted by timothy
from the dropping-the-velvet-glove dept.
proj_2501 writes: "Yahoo! has a story about how the US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved two new bills: one for the creation of a federally overseen TLD called .kids.us (participation is voluntary), and the other for more ease of wiretapping to supposedly prevent dangerous meetings between kids and 'child predators'." Remember, an equivalent bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
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House OKs Wiretapping and New .kids.us domain

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  • "Wiretapping" and "Won't someone think of the children!??"

    This makes me ill.
  • by eyegor (148503) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:32AM (#3564640)
    Why do they persist in eroding my rights in order to keep me "safe"?

    Every time they decide we need protecting, they strip away yet another preciously gained right. Once they're gone, good luck getting them back.

    I propose a new form of energy. We can harness the power of the founding fathers spinning in their graves. Given what's going on these days, we should be able to replace Three Mile Island. The only problem is that we need Sen. Hollings around to craft more legislation.
    • "Why do they persist in eroding my rights in order to keep me "safe"?"

      They`re not. They are attempting to give the impression that they are worth voting for, rather than the other party, because they are "doing something about child abuse". Doesnt matter if it will work, or erode your rights or whatever. They just need something where they can say "we are doing this".
    • I'm not going to address the 'wiretapping' issue in this post. I'm mostly opposed to it for censorship reasons.

      However, I do favor a .kids.us domain simply for an easy to select group of online entertainment for children. Makes it "REALLY" easy to filter at the firewall level. This new domain simply could not and will not help with instant messaging, but not all children use it (believe it or not).

      Some children simply want to play the games offered by current kids web sites. Maybe some of the mismatched banner ads could disappear from current 'children' web sites. I saw a nickjr.com page that popped up an ad for new Ford trucks. WTF??? Talk about poor target marketing. Why not just make it a Casino ad instead.

      I have a hard time envisioning doubleclick.kids.us. However, if they pop up koolaid ads or something, I wouldn't be 'nearly' as disappointed.

    • Well I think this kids.us domain is a great idea. I doesn't interfere with adults communicating in any manner they chose, and that's a good thing.

      If some people want (for themselves or for their children) to have only access to "clean" stuff, well they now have the opportunity for that. There is a special little corner set aside for them, and that ought to stop the complaints. "Keep the children save" - alright do that, just make sure your kids can only access kids.us.

      So I think this could have the effect of shielding the rest of the net from censorship.

      I have to say I'm especially impressed that they propose it in the form ".kids.us" rather than ".kids". Different countries have different social standards, and this is a good way of handling that.

      The wiretapping is another matter, though.

      • Or are we likely to all be forced down to a "safe" common denominator. At work will you company restrict you to "safe" sites so they don't get sued for creating a dangerous workplace.
        • At work will your company restrict you to "safe" sites

          That's a danger, but I think with a domain like .kids.us, that's actually a diminished danger. Technical websites will not go to the trouble to get an additional kids domain, because they have no 13 year-old audience. There'd probably be additional costs, fullfilling the requirements. I run a (fairly successful) site for my field, and I know I wouldn't bother.

          So, I think this won't enable companies to allow "kids.us"-only access. If they could restrict access like this, then they don't need web access in the first place.

          On the other hand it will take away the main argument for the censorship effort. Once this is established, the argument that "we need to protect the kids", can no longer be used. You can now point to this domain, and say "here is the kids area".

          Certainly, there'll still be other angles, like the "obscenity" argument, but those are a lot less powerful in the public opinion.

          Also this might help to erode the market for filtering-software, since that filtering would be now very easy. A very good thing really. Developing content filters is a threat to freedom all over the world.

          I think what would be dangerous, and potentially lead to the scenario which you are worried about, is something like the .xxx domain. Because this concept would declare all of the web as the "clean" zone, with the exception of the xxx area.

  • Prevention? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNecromancer (179644) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:33AM (#3564650)
    I don't get it: how is this legislation going to prevent children from chatting online with child molestors?

    Seems to me that this new .kids.us will just be another dead area on the Internet, and that kids will find it boring (aka - no chatting) and return to the same areas they were surfing before.

    • Re:Prevention? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nob (244898)
      Plus the domain isn't going to help any with the main chatting system of kids, instant messaging. (Although the wiretapping may help in this area some.)
    • Someone mod the parent up please.

      My guess is that filetering software will be modified to have "only allow access to .kids.us domains" options.
    • Re:Prevention? (Score:1, Interesting)

      by rtscts (156396)
      Read the article:

      The domain measure, approved on a 406-2 vote, would have the federal government oversee a ".kids.us" domain on the Internet that would have
      only material appropriate for children under 13. Web site operators' participation would be voluntary. Parents could set computer software to limit a child's access to only addresses ending in .kids.us.
      So, it's like a whitelist in DNS. If your site is approved for under 13's, you get to keep your domain.

      and it would not provide any access to interactive features, such as chat rooms.
      Everything that goes onto a .kids.us domain must be approved by the site operators.

      This is GOOD law! It provides protection for the kiddies (GOD DAMNIT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!), it doesn't give the Govt any more censorship powers, and it doesn't put a burden on ISPs, adults or the rest of the Internet/world.
      • The parent was NOT a troll. Read the last line.

        Anything that will quell the rantings of the idoitic "masses" who want what equates to Internet cencorship should be seen as A GOOD THING.

        Will this really accomplish its purpose? Maybe, but who cares. It's voluntary, and it can be pointed at as an example: "look...we're trying this. No go away for awhile."
    • Couldn't content providers make java-based web chat rooms on something like chat.kids.us? It would be more like IRC than AOL Instant Messaging, and by using the service you agree to be bound by the decisions of aggressively sensitive/paranoid moderators. They could register users with verifiable contact info (parents' CC #), content is logged, and if you even think of talking dirty to the kids you get banned.
    • My wife is a teacher and is constantly butting heads over the net nanny software the school district installed (this from the same boobs that (a) repeatly assigned duplicate IPs (b) moved to Outlook, which keeps half the network down with viruses). This filtering stuff has interesting side effects--like no one being able to do web research on the planet Venus: Because it crops up in so many adult sites, it got added to the exclusion list!
    • Re:Prevention? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chasing Amy (450778) <asdfijoaisdf@askdfjpasodf.com> on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @03:19PM (#3567275) Homepage
      > I don't get it: how is this legislation going to prevent children from chatting online with child molestors?

      It's not. It does, however, let the congresspeople say to their sheeple "Look what I'm doing to prevent the big bad Internet from hurting children! No, I don't come to Washington each year just to fondle my interns, use my salary (your tax dollars) to pay for call girls and dinners at Morton's, and erode your freedoms to fit my opinions--I actually pass legislation!"

      > Seems to me that this new .kids.us will just be another dead area on the Internet, and that kids will
      > find it boring (aka - no chatting) and return to the same areas they were surfing before.

      Sure, but I can't say I mind that part. If it passes--well, then they have one less thing to complain about when they try to pass CDA-style laws to restrict my freedoms to read and write what I wish on the net. So, I think the kids.us domain would be great--then whenever the need for a "kid-safe" Net is touted by censors, we could say "Fuck no! There's already a kid-safe internet! Remember that kids.us domain you wanted? You got it, it's the 'kid-safe Internet' you wanted, so shut the Hell up." Or something like that.

      See, I see the potential for kids.us to be used *by our side* to defeat the censors' rationales for stepping on our rights. It's an opt-in system--people can get such a domain if they intend to appeal to kids and are willing to abide by whatever content restrictions Congress wants to impose on that subdomain. If you want to *not* abide by such restrictions, just don't get a silly kids.us address, get a .com or .net or .us. Participation is entirely voluntary both for site-ops and for parents. The way I see it, it gives their side very little since kids will always be able to find an "unhindered" Net connection somewhere, and gives our side a lot since it takes away one of the censors' big arguments. I like the potential.

      As for the bill making it easier to wiretap people "suspected of engaging in child pornography, of trying to get children to perform sexual acts for money or of traveling to or bringing children for sexual activity"--I object to this because it's *already* embarrassingly easy to get a wiretap warrant, to the point of being a joke. Some judges--and the police and FBI know exactly which ones to go to--will give a wiretap warrant the minute the prosecutor says "child(ren)." No showing of cause needed. So, making it esier is in no way necessaqry, nor welcome. Kids.us isn't much of a threat or violation of my rights. However, a bill letting police excuse an invasion into my privacy by merely saying "we suspcted him of child porn/abuse/talking mean to a child online," without any evidence or cause whatsoever--well, that's a violation. If you want to invade someone's privacy and wiretap all their communications, sorry, but you should have to show cause.

      What I really find laughable though is that the people pushing this legislation with the excuse of this girl in Connecticutt who was murdered clearly had it drafted and were just opportunistically, predatorily waiting around for a child to die at the hands of an adult she met online. Talk about being predators--that's what the bill's authors are, using the death of a child for their own gain. Sickening.

      Not to mention the fact that this girl who was murdered wasn't the innocent poster-child she's being made out to be. In reality, that particular girl had been meeting and having sex with strange men she met on the Internet for some time, and had been bragging about her sex life to her classmates. It was only a matter of time before she met one who's a killer as well as a child molester. A sad story, indeed, but not one of an innocent child lured by the Big Bad Internet--rather, of a child who'd already been corrupted, probably by past offline abuse or neglect, who turned to the Internet to find adult sexual partners and bragged about it to her classmates. Something was definitely very wrong in her life, but her unfortunate use of chatrooms was a symptom of it, not the cause of it.

      The real predators are our Congressmen. To use a child's death for political gain is disgusting, and the congressmen who introduced these bills are as predatory as the child molester who killed her.
  • An equivalent bill does not need to be introduced in the Senate. This House bill now gets placed on the Senate agenda for debate. No one needs to introduce an equivalent bill, it is done so automatically.
  • So do they have the same cool cloaking-ability as the adult predators?
  • by HiQ (159108) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:38AM (#3564666)
    So when I register sites like:
    government.kids.us or
    bush.kids.us
    I'm actually saying that the government and Bush are fooling us?
  • Ha! Isn't always that kids understand technology before adults can - surely they only want to find out how to advance even faster from all the stuff these kids know :D I can see it now... as if technology wasn't fast enough now... five year old kids get tapped discussing how to build nano-fibres - just don't tell the olds cos this will really freak them :) Seriously though, just in case that is a bit off topic I would prefer my kids (assuming I had some) being watched over than have some sicko getting them!
    • How do you know the guys watching arn't the sickos? It's not like they will give you background checks on these guys or that you'll bother to check. Knowing the government they will probably pay convicts $1.00 an hour to do it.
      • valid point.

        I think it would be wise for parents to use this service, no matter how flawed parts may be in conjunction with other software that limits what kids can and can't do. However the problem with that (as I quite lamely attempted to joke at in my message) is that quite often the kids are more savvy than the parents. I am in my late teens and second year computer science student and I recall when I was much younger, around 13 and I knew there was no way my parents would be able to use such software because I knew more than they did about the topic. Hopefully, assuming we don't get sickos running it, it will add that layer of protection that parents who don't understand computers can rely a little on.

        However... how would you restrict such access without software the kids could screw around with?

        • However... how would you restrict such access without software the kids could screw around with?


          i think you've hit the nail on the head here. there isn't any legislation or software that can replace good parenting. i'm sure the legislators and software manufacturers will continue to try, but they will also continue to fail. it's sad really.
        • However... how would you restrict such access without software the kids could screw around with?

          Introducing the new KidPC. No 'install' rights in the OS, and an embedded browser that returns ONLY .kids.us websites. Your child is now safe. You may return to the couch, and the latest rerun on Cops.
  • .kids (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nervlord1 (529523)
    the .kids doesnt strike me as all that bad, its a good way to help keep kids off sites they really dont need to visit, without censoring the rest of the net

    Wiretapping is crap, but, i dont mind the .kids thing

    think about it
    • heh. Frankly, i have to agree with some previous posters- kids will see it as another dead, no-fun area, and find ways around the blocks. And what was that about "no interactive features"? No chat rooms? The kiddies who go online *for* chat rooms are going to see this domain as basically useless. And besides, there's still IM. And i had to laugh at John Shimkus' remark: "libraries have children's book sections, why can't the Internet have the same type of section devoted to children's interests?" O fer crissake. How many of you actually stuck to reading the books in the children's book section when you were a kid? I sure as heck didn't.
      I still argue for more parental involvement. Why are these kids able to meet online friends IRL without the parents being there?? What was a *6th-grader* doing meeting a strange person without her mom or dad? The computer is not a babysitter. Parents should be enough involved in their kids' lives to know what's going on, and they should develop a relationship in which the kids trust them enough to tell them. It can happen. This bill looks like just another way for parents to plead ignorance when something awful happens to their kids that their involvement could've prevented. "But i had her computer set to only go to kids.us domains! How was i to know she'd gotten around the block??" Come *on*. Take responsibility for your own lack of action.
      • With an explicit "safe area" (which the big corps like Disney and yahoo can be certain to enter, even if no one else does) that kids will find lame, it can become now directly obvious to the "save the children" people that it is the children who are struggling out of their network straight jacket.

        This means that it is no longer a case of "these evil people are sending bad stuff to our kids" and instead becomes a matter of "our kids are actively hunting for this bad stuff". Maybe it won't cause a complete and total reexamination of attitudes on everyone's part, but it might make those parents stuck in "my sweet, innocent darling wouldn't try anything bad" mode move on to more realistic positions.
  • hi,

    the article made me think of something about telephone wiretaps.

    if me and my buddy each had a scrambling doodad that made my voice encrypted, and then on his end decrypted, how long do y'all figure it would be before someone showed up at my door asking what i was doing?

    and do they make something like that? (thats just for the sake of interest)
  • I wish they would just hurry up and take away the rest of everyone's freedom. It's much easier to deal with all at once then to be slowly ate away at over time.
  • I don't like the repurcussions of this if it passes. I forsee the government in the lead role of a favorite children's book of mine: "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..."
  • by MattBurke (58682)
    wouldn't kids.us be a second-level domain to the tld .us ?
  • by shippo (166521) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @08:51AM (#3564719)
    Adds an whole new meaning to underage pr0n!
  • Isn't it actually .kids.r.us? You know, to go along with .toys.r.us?
  • and what army? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by johnot (240709)
    "it should reduce the chance of accidental exposure to pornography and to other Web sites considered harmful to children"

    Who has the authority to decide what's harmful and what isn't?
    I mean, some things are blatantly obvious, but where is the line drawn? How much does a site have to overstep bounds before they can go after it?

    `"I have repeatedly said that libraries have children's book sections, why can't the Internet have the same type of section devoted to children's interests?" he said.'

    What team are we going to have on the payroll to monitor an entire TLD?

    And how long until it gets unmanageable and degenerates into nothing better than the rest of them?

    A good idea, but trying to manage content seems like it would get out of hand quickly.
    • Well, it wouldn't get unmanageable. The wait to add more content or to ask permission to change your current content would just become longer and longer and longer until the whole thing stagnates.

      Which isn't a horrible problem, since nobody is forced to put kiddie content in .kids.us, and nobody is forced to surf only there. Taxpayers are forced to pay for it, of course.
    • "it should reduce the chance of accidental exposure to pornography and to other Web sites considered harmful to children"

      Accidental exposure to pornography? Most people who take any notice of porn wanted to see it in the first place (that includes children). Everybody else is quite capable of thinking "that's a porn site, I didn't want to go here, I'll click Back".

    • Re:and what army? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Steve B (42864)
      Who has the authority to decide what's harmful and what isn't?

      I'd like to see the NRA put a nice Eddie Eagle page in kids.us. When the liberal Democrats on the hill hear about that, pass the popcorn....

  • The domain measure, approved on a 406-2 vote, would have the federal government oversee a ".kids.us" domain on the Internet that would have only material appropriate for children under 13. ... Parents could set computer software to limit a child's access to only addresses ending in .kids.us.

    Well, there goes the internet as an educational tool for children. The internet was almost like the answer to what the government thinks is appropriate for our kids.

    So I'm sure we'll have buytoys.kids.us and gap.kids.us, but they either expect thousands of educational websites to grab a new TLD, or kids to look at nothing but cute online shopping wishlists. Or they don't care, but want to be seen doing something.

  • Wouldn't it be better called teens.us, per COPA [copacommission.org]? ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Teenagers are sexual. Online teenagers from 13 upwards are very sexual with each other. How is any form of wiretapping meant to tell who is a teenager and who isn't, and what is normal sexual activity and what is not?
    The internet is a dynamic which few of law-passing age understand.
  • If the major sites for children start going I think all of them will have to go to .kids.us. For instance if Disney has a Disney.kids.us and they want to link to Nickelodeon's website the Nickelodeon website will have to be .kids.us else the child will not be able to view it (assuming that the parents only let the children view .kids.us). This will certainly require a lot of website updating as new companies and individuals take up the .kids.us.
    • If the major sites for children start going I think all of them will have to go to .kids.us.

      You're probably right, but I don't see much incentive for any of the existing brand names to go this route.

      The "tld" .kids.us will really just be a media network that approves the content on its third level domain users as being friendly to children. I think that the censorship charges are overblown - its just a another targeted content "site" but it happens to be run by the government rather than Yahoo, Geocities, AOL, or OSDN. The only real issue is that this government funded network will be in competition with existing kid friendly sites and networks.

      Most parents already trust Disney and Nickelodeon - they could just restrict kids to those sites if they'd like. They don't need a .kids.us to tell them they're safe.

      Right now Disney or AOL could easily (maybe they have) come out with a "Disney or AOL network for kids" and advise parents only to let their kids have access to their sites. They would control the content, most of it would probably be theirs, maybe they would even set up a third-body system that approves some offsite content as well. That should be their right in private enterprise - but the government, using public money, may now be in competition with that right.

      If I'm Disney, there is really no benefit for me to try to lend my brand to .kids.us. Most of the sites there will be unknowns leveraging the .kids brand to try build there own brand from nothing. Lending my brand for use on the network just gives my competition credibility while doing nothing to help mine. I'm better to compete using an alternative where I control the content, not the government.

      How many parents would restrict their kids to .kids.us if big players like Disney and Nickelodeon weren't there? Probably not that many.

      Even without them, if aggressively marketed, the kids.us domain could still create a good community of not-for-profit and small innovative sites focusing on kids (of course it will also be full of crappy ones, just like any other similar community). The only question is, should the government be running this community?
    • Oh, you mean they're going to have to re-hire some of the web developers they have let go over the past couple of years?

  • One of the first things I teach my Unix sysadmin students is to get rid of the following alias that seems to be the default in so many Linux distros:

    alias rm "rm -i"

    Why? Because once they start depending upon this alias to do all the work for them by prompting for every file to be deleted, they'll be in for the surprise of their life when they end up on a machine that doesn't have rm set up to do their thinking for them.

    So here we have kids.us -- a supposedly "safe haven" for parents to send their children on the net. Parents can now rest easy, knowing their responsibility towards monitoring their child's behavior has been alleviated by the thoughtfulness of Uncle Sam. Just like the example above, there's no need to keep track of your child on the net so long as they stick with kids.us sites, because the government is one step ahead, protecting their children by ensuring only kid-safe content is found on kids.us websites.

    What a farce. The only purpose this new domain serves is to entice parents to let down their guard, making it easier to bombard children with supposedly "kid-safe" content, just like sysadmins who depend upon an aliased version of rm to absolve them of responsibility. We as humans always seem to be looking for someone else to shoulder our responsibilities. When will we begin to learn to take responsibility for our own actions?

    • Re, "The only purpose this new domain serves is to entice parents to let down their guard..."

      Just like a playground. Many playgrounds, small parks intended just for children, were first established during the Progressive era about a hundred years ago to give children in densely populated cities a place to play besides the street.

      You can still let your kids play in the street if you like, with you watching (or not). Or you can take them to the playground.

      Using the internet with your supervision for a project -- Going downtown with you holding the child's hand, on your way to a specific event (shopping, public library, concert)

      Surfing the net unsupervised -- Turning the child loose downtown (not necessarily a bad thing depending on the child and the part of town)

      Limiting access to kids.us -- Taking the child to "Little Gym" or one of those indoor play parks, where you can leave them safely while you do something else.
    • You mean kid safe content like disney.kids.us telling kids that being able to copy your own files on your own computer unchecked promotes piracy because that same program can be used to copy copyrighted music or movies?

      • Umm...no (I think).

        I say "I think" because I wasn't even thinking about piracy. I was ruminating about parents who will gladly abrogate their responsibility (as deftly worded by another poster) given government assurances that kids.us is "safe." The responsibility I was referring to was keeping track of where your child is visiting, who your child is chatting with, and what your child is doing. I was thinking more along the lines of a pedophile setting up shop under a kids.us domain, where unsupervised children would be easy prey. Or impersonating a child to gain access to a supposedly "safe" chatroom.
  • House OKs CB Radio Protection for Kids
    Wed May 22, 1:35 AM ET
    By DENNIS MORAD, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Citing the recent death of a Connecticut child who apparently fell victim to a man she met using a Citizens Band (CB) Radio, the House voted overwhelmingly to establish a new channel for kid-friendly chat and to expand surveillance authority to target CB predators.

    The channel measure, approved on a 406-2 vote, would have the federal government oversee a ".kids" channel on CBs that would have only material appropriate for children under 13. CB operators' participation would be voluntary. Parents could set CB radios to limit a child's access to only the kids channel.

    "Sometimes I think the Citizens Band Radio should be renamed the Wicked Mans Radio," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.

    Supporters of the channel bill, sponsored by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., say it should reduce the chance of accidental exposure to pornography and to other conversations considered harmful to children, and it would not provide any access to interactive features, such as the ability to talk back.

    Groups opposing the domain, including the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites), have called the legislation a backdoor attempt at censorship.

    Shimkus said parents need to be aware of what channels their children are scanning.

    "I have repeatedly said that libraries have children's book sections, why can't CBs have the same type of section devoted to children's interests?" he said.

    "The threat to our children is real," its chief sponsor, Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., said.

    Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., argued against expanding wiretap authority, voicing concerns that even current limited use by law enforcement typically results in overhearing innocent conversations.

    "It ought to be necessary," he said of wiretapping authority. "It's not enough for it to be helpful for law enforcement."

    A similar wiretapping bill passed the House last year but died in the Senate.
  • Ummm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @09:06AM (#3564775) Homepage
    WTF does the government have to do with creating domain names??? And to pass a law about this? This is as obscene as business method patents.

    This is like those local governments that think you need a separate law to cover driving while yapping on a cell phone. Isn't wreckless driving, or driving while distracted enough? Why does our government, and our lawyers, and courts lack so much common sense??

    • Re:Ummm (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      WTF does the government have to do with creating domain names???
      Well, if you go back far enough, quite a bit actually. But in this case, the US Government should be the one in charge of the .us domain name, so kids.us makes perfect sense. Congress' job is the pass laws. That's what they do. They're the legislative branch of the government.
    • by ghjm (8918)
      No, actually wreckless driving is a good thing. Far better than the alternative, wreckful driving.
    • Why does our government, and our lawyers, and courts lack so much common sense??

      Considering that with each such law we end up with less freedom while they end up with more power, while we keep re-electing them, one has to wonder who is the one that really lacks common sense. Or any sense at all.

      Say you're in a shopping mall and some teen keeps tripping on escalators and bumping at your feet. With each 'accident' the partner of the 'inept' teen takes something out of your pockets. Would you call the falling teen an uncoordinated fool, knowing that after each fall you end up with less money?

      Now, this would be the same as calling the big swindlers in Washington and New York inept fools, just because their outward rationales for their decisions don't make much sense -- their actions and means chosen seem always out of sync with the stated noble goals.

      But when you observe the seemingly unintended side effects of those decisions, you realize that these rationales and noble goals are mere distractions, just like the fall of the 'inept' teen, so the truly intended purposes can unnoticably unfold while we tangle in their verbal smokescreen.
    • WTF does the government have to do with creating domain names???
      <SARCASM>Yeah, it's as if they think that they funded the creation of the Internet and might have a say in its operations! What has gotten into them?? </SARCASM>

      It must be nice to think that the Internet spontaneously self-assembled and that the gummint has no business gettting involved in it. Preposterously wrong, but nice.

    • Re:Ummm (Score:3, Funny)

      by Observer (91365)
      WTF does the government have to do with creating domain names???
      Back in the 19th century, Michael Faraday was asked by a member of the audience at one of his popular Royal Society lectures on the new science of electricity, of what possible practical use this new thing could be.

      The questioner was Gladstone, later to be Prime Minister, at the time the finance minister.

      Faraday's caustic answer: "One day, Sir, you shall tax it."

  • Lameness filter encountered. Go here. [godaddy.com]
  • The kids.us designation is only as good as the DNS propagation.

    Still, having sites designated as "kids only" and having restrictions in browsers (controlled by the parents/legal guardian to turn on/off).. you tell me what the "free speech" problem is in that.

    Goes back to the on/offswitch argument with the V-Chip. I mean the power switch.
  • Only parents who are already paying attention to what their kids are doing on the Internet will filter based on the .kids.us TLD. The kids who really need some protection in this manner still won't get it because if the parents were paying attention, the kids wouldn't need it in the first place.
    • I don't expect filtering to take off. The parents will want to surf the net too. There will have to be a very easy way turn the filtering on/off which of course would make it easier for kids to bypass. If parents have to do anything more than push a button to toggle the filter, I can't imagine many parents would even bother.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have heard the horror stories of child molestations, whether with family or strangers. The children who fell victim to those are as adults often unable to adapt and cope as easily as their unmolested 'counterparts'. Many die with a feeling of hopelessness and this has GONE ON FAR TOO LONG! For centuries this crap is allowed by the government and I for one am glad that the government is finally stepping up to the plate to 'do something about it.'

    Now with this regulation, the internet will finally become the safe haven for children that it should have been a millenia ago. Those useless existing laws for punishing molesters and pedophiles should be punished by joining the ranks of all those other laws that sit gathering dust while our most benevolent and intelligent government cooks up new ones that in essence do nothing new. Hey, I think I wanna tune my radio! Nahhh, lets just buy an entire new entertainment system that already has the channel I want tunned in. I am so glad that our logical government ignores foolish things like 'history' and 'past performance' so that they can give us these new laws that only address one particular means of child/sicko meeting while giving us that false sense of security that 'everything is taken care of'.

    On an unrelated note, I hear the Senate has officially approved the 'Soma Reformation Act' which will allow us to take part in the chemical utopia brought forth by our caring and responsible government officials. Taxes got you down? Had your property illegally siezed in the name of 'the children'? Just pop some Soma and it will seem A. O. K.!

  • Speaking of Second Level Domains (SLDs)... we haven't heard a peep out of New Net [new.net] in quite some time. They too are selling second level domains. And, they even have a .kids SLD going. I think that the people who are buying these domains are morons. We should all set up an SLD so that every domain on the Net answers to "www.[insert name here].kids.tld".
  • ...is politicians seeking to ensure that by the time they reach adulthood we will all be treated as children by the state.

    Who is going to protect them? Only we can and only by taking responsibility for the government that we create. Politicians are chosen from among the people and it is the people who elect them. Be responsible by being active in the political arena and aware of what is going on. B.S. legislation exists largely because most people DON'T VOTE. Politicians know this, boy do they ever. You wouldn't believe the kinds of statistical research they have done to find out who their real constituents are. Why do you think politicians from both parties kiss the ass of the elderly? Because the elderly VOTE! We can bitch and moan about campaign finances and political corruption due to the influence of corporations, but at the end of the day it is still the citizens who do the electing.

    The system can work for us or against us. Your choice.

    Lee
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @09:31AM (#3564890) Homepage
    • [ Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill] said parents need to be aware of what Web sites their children are surfing

    To which we all heartily agree, but the article claims:

    • Parents could set computer software to limit a child's access to only addresses ending in .kids.us.

    Say what? That looks like the existing "put a token filtering system in place, then abrogate your responsibility" method so beloved of AOL and the NetNanny brigade. But did our elected representatives just mandate that and slip through mandatory domain locking in browsers while nobody was looking? Let's check the actual bill, H.R. 3833 [loc.gov]

    • `(11) Written agreements with registrars, which shall require registrars to enter into written agreements with registrants, to prohibit hyperlinks in the new domain that take new domain users outside of the new domain.

    Hmm, OK, not too bad. Once you're in, you can't just click out by accident (although of course this will happen, but at least they've thought about it). Is that all?

    • (12) Any other action that the NTIA considers necessary to establish, operate, or maintain the new domain in accordance with the purposes of this section.

    OK, much as I hate catch-all clauses, this is still limited to "the new domain", not to enforcing functionality in browsers (or telnet, for that matter) to lock off the domain. It looks like any browser locking functionality will be voluntary and third party. I can see AOL and Microsoft scrambling to implement this ASAP, but nobody will have to.

    I'm always ready to believe the worst of our legislators when it comes to dealing with technology (their track record isn't great), but I think they've got this one right (even if they are a little vague on how it will actually be administrated). I pronounce this bill sane and measured

    Regarding H.R. 1877 [loc.gov], it's largely moot. It's a minor modification to existing wiretap law, and law enforcement (or anyone with a suit and a badge and some lawyers) can get a wiretap on you right now for pretty much any reason they like. Personally I think that soliciting children for sex should justify a wiretap, and I'm all in favour of honesty in law enforcement, rather than making them scam a warrant for un-American activities (aka domestic terrorism) or whatever.

    Constant vigilance is a good thing, but I don't see anything scary or particularly bad in either of these bills. OK, I find the thought of a .kids.us full of Disney and Barney a little scary, but that's not really the fault of Congress. ;-)

  • Utter nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @09:37AM (#3564915)
    The vast majority of websites are kid-friendly, or at least kid-neutral. To confine kids to a kids only domain of approved sites limits their creativity and access immesurably.

    Case in point: Last year, my son was 9. Calls me up at work one day, and says "Dad, I have a science project coming up." The little dude had gone online, and researched plans for building a very simple, leafblower powered, one man hovercraft. Some guy in WhoKnowsWhere, Iowa had built one, and put the design online. So my son made some mods, wrote a "how and why", we built it, he won first place. If restricted to 'kids.us', he probably would never have come across this.

    Is every website operator supposed to submit their site for inclusion into the kids domain? Not a chance. There is a wealth of kid usable info from various sources such as hobbyists, colleges, clubs, that would not normally think of themselves as 'kid-friendly'. All these would be shut out from kids access.

    Instead, they will be tooling around in disney.kids.us, nickjr.kids.us, and toysrus.kids.us. Utterly devoid of anything but another sales opportunity, and some games.

    And while we're at it, WTF is with this "kids.us"? Are American children the only ones deserving of 'protection'?

    Who will be doing the approving? Are their thoughts about 'kid friendly' the same as mine? Not a chance.
    • Re:Utter nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by happyclam (564118) on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @10:57AM (#3565398)

      So don't filter your 9-year-old's surfing. Don't restrict your child's access to anything. It's nice that you can trust your 9-year-old so completely. Why would you care if a .kids.us domain is established?

      This is a great solution because it does not affect you yet it provides security to the people who want it.

      I imagine that if/when I put a computer in my kid's room (not likely), I will have the filter on unless I am actively monitoring the usage somehow. If I'm around, I'll turn the filter off. No big deal.

      WTF is with this "kids.us"? Are American children the only ones deserving of 'protection'?

      I don't believe the US congress has the authority to create a new TLD without the consent of some other groups in the world... so they did what they could. Created .kids within the TLD that they do have authority over. Nothing's stopping other countries from doing the same.

      I simply don't understand how something that is good for many people and bad for none can be so attacked.

    • And while we're at it, WTF is with this "kids.us"? Are American children the only ones deserving of 'protection'?
      A law needs to have jurisdiction. Unless you want to make it a UN resolution, it'll be a US-only domain anyway, so why not? Or would you rather have it conform to the least standards of what could offend anyone anywhere? It'd be so dull it'd be damn near child abuse.

      Kjella
  • Rather than having .kids.us, and then later .teens.us it would seem much more sensible to have .xxx, or .rude

    Granted this would stand no chance of ever happening but it's a much more sensible approach - isn't it?

    • Rather than having .kids.us, and then later .teens.us it would seem much more sensible to have .xxx, or .rude

      This is already being proposed [slashdot.org] by Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. It is a bad idea because it allows the government to decide what is "harmful to minors" on the Web.

      The bill proposing a .kids.us is much, much better because it is essentially a "kid-friendly" certification. It is essentially opt-in by the site owners (and regulated). A .xxx TLD would give us two options: (1) have the government shut down any non-xxx domain that the government thinks does not belong outside the red-light district, or (2) have only the legit xxx businesses move to the .xxx TLD and otherwise have the same situation we have today, with over 4,000 "regular" domain names pointing to a single web site [harvard.edu].

    • slashdot isn't supposed to be rude, or xxx, but it's also not "Safe For Kids". People use expletives all the fucking time, and I personally wouldn't want to answer the question "Daddy, what's wrong with that mans butt?"
  • I am not even going to address the wiretapping, most slashdotter's already have the sense to know why more wiretapping is bad.

    I think what seems really interesting here is that it is being done to protect children from online predators. It seems to me that in many cases wiretapping will probably only happen long after a predator is suspected, at which point the damage is likely already done; and that we would be better off going after these people with targeted sting operations of some sort, allowing officers posing as kids to get these people BEFORE they have a chance to hurt a child.
  • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Wednesday May 22, 2002 @10:08AM (#3565068) Homepage
    I'm sure everyone is going to lambaste this idea, but I find nothing wrong with it. It is completely voluntary. It basically creates a subset of internet sites parents will know for sure are safe for their children. It is the equivalent to the children's section of the library. Everything in that section is "safe" for kids, but there is no rule saying kids cannot go into the adult section. Same thing here. The .kids.us section will be safe for kids, but they can still go into the "adult" section of the net. It basically helps parents do their job of parenting and watching their kids. Put a simple filter that only allows .kids.us sites through, and if the kid wants to see the "adult" side of the net, the parent can let him and decide what they can and can't see.
  • It is wrong and illegal to monitor the online activities of minors. Unless of course, it's us.

    - U.S. Federal Government.

  • right now, type out a letter, have it create a RTF version of the document and while it is printing fill out the envelope and put a stamp on it. I don't get why so few people use Congress.org for that. It can create a formal looking letter that can be sent to your Senators in no time. It won't be ignored like email and it costs less than a dollar to send. Either send snail mail or STFU on your civil liberties. If you don't have the time to tell your Senator what you think, you don't deserve freedom.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So basically it'll work like this: If Pat Robertson signs up for 700club.kids.us, the government will give it to him because OF COURSE if it's Christian it must be good for the kids. But, if Covenant of the Goddess (Wicca, a federally recognized religion) signs up for cog.kids.us, what do you want to bet it'll be denied on some bogus grounds whether it's kid friendly or not?

    This is just a tool for the ultra right to control the minds of children.
  • Look at all the molestation cases out there. The one common thread among them is that the children were stupid enough to give out contact information and talk to people they shouldn't be. Instead of filtering the entire Web into the "buy more toys/cereal/video games/other stuff" .kids.us domain, parents should teach their children what's really going on out there.

    It's time to stop sugar-coating reality for the kiddies. Tell 'em about real life early on, and they'll be more wary. They'll also be able to deal with all the information available on the web in the appropriate manner. Kids aren't as stupid as people like to think.

    • It's time to stop sugar-coating reality for the kiddies. Tell 'em about real life early on, and they'll be more wary. They'll also be able to deal with all the information available on the web in the appropriate manner. Kids aren't as stupid as people like to think.

      You're not a parent, are you?

      The reason children in the US are not legally allowed to vote, drink, buy cigarettes, have sex, own a gun, drive a car, etc. is that they are too inexperienced to know the right path through any complex decision.

      It's not because of "sugar-coating reality" that 12-year-old girls are lured, raped, and killed. And it's not because of bad parenting. In a few cases it may be because the parents themselves don't know how to monitor or discuss Internet technologies and how bad people can exploit them. In many cases it may be because the children, although having been told not to give out personal information, do so anyway because (a) they forget, (b) they think they really aren't vulnerable (it won't happen to THEM), (c) they don't realize the information makes them vulnerable, (d) they have come to trust the other party because they can't distinguish between lies and truth through chat rooms, or (e) all of the above.

      That's not bad parenting. That's the reality of the vulnerability and gullibility of children.

  • Had a great comment on his show this week about .kids.us as opposed to .com.... "Yeah, that'll throw the pediphiles off the track"
  • I'm sure .kids.us sounds like a good idea to most people. Even if you don't like it, you aren't likely to speak out against it because after all, you're not a kid and are fere to surf whatever domain you choose.

    But I worry about what will happen inside the domain. The people we collectively trust to censor and approve content for .kids.us... who are they? what ideologies do they endorse? what agenda do they represent?

    Are we going to see a lot of candy-coated happy-faced life-is-good, nothing-to-worry-about, trust your parents and all other authority figures and never question them, etc.? Is this really what we want to expose our children to? I hope the sites .kids deems suitable for kids encourages things like individualism, free-thinking, and free inquiry.

    Children need to learn how to think independently and not just do what they're told and believe everything someone big says. They need to learn how to ask hard questions about the world they live in.
    • Yes, they need to be introduced to the fact that life is not a vale of roses, but not shocked into that knowledge.

      Children need to be protected. That's why nature made them small. You think they couldn't grow up faster physically? Sure they could. Pigs do it in a year. We have a long childhood because we have to absorb so much knowledge and do it slowly.

      It's wrong to expose little children to too much "reality". I read "Hiroshima" when I was 9... Bad idea. Children should GRADUALLY learn about the harsh realities, when they are able to absorb such knowledge without it leaving big skid marks in their consciousness.

      Children who grow up in a sheltered environment (not "candy-coated" or faked up, but tempered to their ability to understand) have stronger personalities. This is counter-intuitive, because there's an idea around that the school of hard knocks makes you "strong," but it is not so.

  • I was watching the national news this morning, and they had a story of that girl who was killed by the stranger she met in a chat room. They keep making a big deal of how kids are so much in danger of strangers online but consider this:
    Based on the number of kids who chat online(millions) and the number of kids who have actually been molested/killed by dirty old men they chatted with(what, like 5?), it is safe to say that any given family has a better chance of winning the lottery than they do of having their child abducted by an internet predator. So our retarded-ass govt wants to pass more laws because the media scared the shit out of them. Aren't the lawmakers suppossed to know better?
  • It's ironic that government sites wouldn't be kid-safe because they end in .gov. So any kids who are interested in the government, legislative processes, or NASA are out of luck.

    Sure, sites could be mirrored or you could do tricks in your Apache .conf file to make the same site answer to .kids.us, but actual content would have to be modified. For example, a NASA page couldn't link to a foreign space agency or even to an American university.

    The new .kids.us domain isn't "bad" per se; it's just ill-thought-out (as usual for Congress when it comes to the Internet).

  • "Remember, an equivalent bill has not yet been introduced in the Senate."

    For once, the editor of story remembers to include a line to keep all the dimwits around here from going off half-cocked.

    If only it WORKED...

    -Kasreyn

  • bermuda$ whois naked.kids.us
    No match for "NAKED.KIDS.US".

    Alright, who's got the guts to try and register this?

  • Who are we going to allow access to having sites in the kids.us domain? Will controversial issues be allowed? Or will corporate policies be allowed to indoctrinate children unimpeded by opposing views? Will disney.kids.us be allowed to present their views on making most open source software illegal, unopposed?

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