Kid-friendly domain just around the corner

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has unanimously approved the Dot-Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act 2002 which, if enacted, would result in the establishment of a child-safe second-level domain within the '.us' top-level domain (ie, a site's address would be '').

The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote. While it is up to house leaders to schedule that vote, quick movement on the measure is expected, given the strong backing the bill has received.

The version of the bill approved by the committee provides that no website with a '' address may link to sites outside of that second-level domain. It also prohibits chat and instant messaging features, except where it can be guaranteed that they adhere to child-friendly standards developed for the domain. Regulation will be developed by the US Department of Commerce and administered by NeuStar, the domain name registrar with responsibility for '.us'.

By focusing on the creation of a child-oriented domain, legislators hope they have come upon an approach that will pass constitutional muster in court.

For background on this topic, see Congress considers kid-friendly domain.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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