The United States Congress is considering passing bill which would instate a new domain targeted for content appropriate to children, a move that ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has refused to make.
U.S. Representatives originally hoped to pass a bill forcing ICANN to create a “.kids” Top Level Domain, but were met with criticism from ICANN members as well as Internet authorities around the world that complained the United States government should not be able to dictate an international domain on the World Wide Web. The legislation was then amended to create “.kids.us”, which would establish a domain under the control of the U.S. government for specific use within the country.
Some officials believe the “.kids.us” domain is in fact the better option, as complaints about ICANN’s inefficiency and sluggishness in adding new domains has been a disappointment for many.
Panel Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. commented, „My view is that if we were to rely on (ICANN) to get its act together to implement a ‘dot kids’ my young kids would be parents perhaps by the time it got done, if at all.”
Still many are concerned about who will be in charge of monitoring the sites and what they will deem as appropriate or inappropriate for kids under 13, the targeted age group of the domain. Under the bill, the “.kids.us” sites will be persistently monitored, and parents will have the ability to restrict their children’s computers so they access only “.kids.us” sites.
ICANN has refused to implement a .kids domain in the past partly due to the same concerns. Unsure who would set standards for the Web content, the board voted in November against establishing such a domain as a new, international TLD.
In late October the Department of Commerce (DoC) gave Washington D.C. based company NeuStar authority to distribute and manage the “.us” address in order to facilitate greater interest from U.S. based companies, groups and individuals in the country domain. How the “.kids.us” instatement would affect the DoC’s contract with NeuStar is not yet clear.
Sources: NeuStar. www.Neustar.com
Pickler, Nedra. “Bill Would Establish Kids Site”; Associated Press. 1 November 2001.