"The Online Safety and Technology Working Group (Working Group) was established pursuant to the "Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act." Participants, including federal agencies, will evaluate industry efforts and make recommendations to promote online safety for children through education, labeling, and parental control technology. The Working Group will also evaluate and make recommendations on industry efforts to prevent and respond to criminal activity involving children and the Internet. Within a year of convening its first meeting, the group will submit a report to Congress and the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of its findings and make recommendations on how to increase online safety measures. By statute, the Working Group is not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act." NTIA
Broadband Data Improvement Act . Title II of Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, Sec. 214 :: Report to Congress on online industry's efforts to promote online safety :: Pending
Federal Register Notice : Nominations to Serve on Online Safety and Technology Working Group : NTIA is seeking nominations of individuals to represent the business community, public interest groups, and other appropriate groups interested in serving on the NTIA Online Safety and Technology Working Group for a single fifteen (15) month term to commence in January 2009. Nominations must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before December 12, 2008. (Acrobat PDF 15 Kb)
October 10, 2008, the President signed
into law the ''Broadband Data
Improvement Act'' (the Act), Pub. L. No.
110-385. Section 214 of that Act directs NTIA to establish the OSTWG to review
. The status of industry efforts to
promote online safety through
educational efforts, parental control
technology, blocking and filtering
software, age-appropriate labels for
content or other technologies or
initiatives designed to promote a safe
online environment for children;
. The status of industry efforts to
promote online safety among providers
of electronic communications services
and remote computing services by
reporting apparent child pornography,
including any obstacles to such
. The practices of electronic
communications service providers and
remote computing service providers
related to record retention in connection
with crimes against children; and
. The development of technologies to
help parents shield their children from
inappropriate material on the Internet.
The OSTWG must report its findings
and recommendations to the Assistant
Secretary and to Congress within one (1)
year after its first meeting.
The Act specifies that the OSTWG
must be comprised of ''representatives
of relevant sectors of the business
community, public interest groups, and
other appropriate groups and Federal
agencies.'' The ''business community''
includes, at a minimum, Internet service
providers, Internet content providers
(especially targeted towards children),
producers of blocking and filtering
software, operators of social networking
sites, search engines, Web portals, and
domain name service (DNS) providers.
Public interest groups may include
organizations that work on behalf of
children or study children's issues,
Internet safety groups, and education
and academic entities. NTIA is seeking
representatives from a broad spectrum
of organizations to obtain the best
information available on the state of
The OSTWG will have up to 30
members. Appointments will be for a
single fifteen (15) month term. The
Assistant Secretary seeks
representatives of organizations with
expertise and knowledge concerning the
issues the OSTWG will study, and upon
which it will report, as described in the
Act, especially individuals who can
represent the views of an industry sector
or a larger public interest group. NTIA
will also work with relevant federal
agencies to identify appropriate
representatives to serve on the working
COPA, Congress's second attempt at censoring the Internet, brought its first call for a study of the issue of offensive content on the Internet. Sec. 1405 of COPA called for the establishment of the COPA Commission (an unfunded mandate) for the purpose of conducting a study "regarding methods to help reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors on the Internet." [COPA Section 1405] As required by law, the Commission had 15 industry members reflecting a wide diversity of perspectives. It took a lot of work and wrangling (even over such simple issues as who would foot the bill) but the Commission achieved a comprehensive analysis that thoroughly reviewed the issue.
The findings of the COPA Commission can be summarized as follows:
One of the best responses to concern over children's exposure to offensive content is family education and involvement (not law nor technology).
Offensive material frequently falls outside of the reach of US legislation as significant portions are located off-shores.
Internet filter technology "raise First Amendment concerns because of its potential to be over-inclusive in blocking content. Concerns are increased because the extent of blocking is often unclear and not disclosed, and may not be based on parental choice."
The creation of a top level domain to address this problem was considered. The creation of a .xxx was questionable because it was less than clear who would willingly locate their content their and even if they did, the .xxx domain could become an attractive nuisance. The creation, on the other hand, of a .kids domain was given positive review, creating a possible greenspace of child-appropriate sites. This limitation, however, is the degree to which this would be a solution non-domain name using applications as chat rooms, USENET, or instant messaging.
What is the solution? According to this panel of experts
After consideration of the information gathered through hearings and comments filed by a wide range of parties, the Commission concludes that no single technology or method will effectively protect children from harmful material online. Rather, the Commission determined that a combination of public education, consumer empowerment technologies and methods, increased enforcement of existing laws, and industry action are needed to address this concern.
Final Report of the COPA Commission Presented to Congress (October 20, 2000) "The Commission on Child Online Protection is directed by Congress to consider methods and technologies to help reduce access by minors to material that is "harmful to minors" (as defined in the Child Online Protection Act ("COPA"). As part of this review, the Commission has scheduled three public hearings to consider these methods and technologies. On July 20-21, 2000, the COPA Commission will hold its second public hearing at the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia to consider filtering, labeling, and rating technologies. Today's notice seeks comments on such technologies." Federal Register Notice
USDOJ Commission on Online Child Protection
The Omnibus appropriations bill of 2000 includes the following: COMMISSION ON ONLINE CHILD PROTECTION The conference agreement includes $750,000 for the Commission on Online Child Protection
SEC. 1405. STUDY BY COMMISSION ON ONLINE CHILD PROTECTION.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT.-There is hereby established a temporary Commission to be known as the Commission on Online Child Protection (in this section referred to as the "Commission") for the purpose of conducting a study under this section regarding methods to help reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors on the Internet.
(b) MEMBERSHIP.-The Commission shall be composed of 19 members, as follows:
(1) INDUSTRY MEMBERS.-The Commission shall include-
(A) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing Internet filtering or blocking services or software;
(B) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing Internet access services;
(C) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing labeling or ratings services;
(D) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing Internet portal or search services;
(E) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing domain name registration services;
(F) 2 members who are academic experts in the field of technology; and
(G) 4 members who are engaged in the business of making content available over the Internet. Of the members of the Commission by reason of each subparagraph of this paragraph, an equal number shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and by the Majority Leader of the Senate.
(2) EX OFFICIO MEMBERS.-The Commission shall include the following officials:
(A) The Assistant Secretary (or the Assistant Secretary's designee).
(B) The Attorney General (or the Attorney General's designee).
(C) The Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (or the Chairman's designee).
(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commission shall conduct a study to identify technological or other methods that-
(A) will help reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors on the Internet; and
(B) may meet the requirements for use as affirmative defenses for purposes of section 231(c) of the Communications Act of 1934 (as added by this title). Any methods so identified shall be used as the basis for making legislative recommendations to the Congress under subsection (d)(3).
(2) SPECIFIC METHODS.-In carrying out the study, the Commission shall identify and analyze various technological tools and methods for protecting minors from material that is harmful to minors, which shall include (without limitation)-
(A) a common resource for parents to use to help protect minors (such as a "one-click-away" resource);
(B) filtering or blocking software or services;
(C) labeling or rating systems;
(D) age verification systems;
(E) the establishment of a domain name for posting of any material that is harmful to minors; and
(F) any other existing or proposed technologies or methods for reducing access by minors to such material.
(3) ANALYSIS.-In analyzing technologies and other methods identified pursuant to paragraph (2), the Commission shall examine-
(A) the cost of such technologies and methods;
(B) the effects of such technologies and methods on law enforcement entities;
(C) the effects of such technologies and methods on privacy;
(D) the extent to which material that is harmful to minors is globally distributed and the effect of such technologies and methods on such distribution;
(E) the accessibility of such technologies and methods to parents; and
(F) such other factors and issues as the Commission considers relevant and appropriate.
(d) REPORT.-Not later than 1 year after the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit a report to the Congress containing the results of the study under this section, which shall include-
(1) a description of the technologies and methods identified by the study and the results of the analysis of each such technology and method;
(2) the conclusions and recommendations of the Commission regarding each such technology or method;
(3) recommendations for legislative or administrative actions to implement the conclusions of the committee; and
(4) a description of the technologies or methods identified by the study that may meet the requirements for use as affirmative defenses for purposes of section 231(c) of the Communications Act of 1934 (as added by this title).
(e) STAFF AND RESOURCES.-The Assistant Secretary for Communication and Information of the Department of Commerce shall provide to the Commission such staff and resources as the Assistant Secretary determines necessary for the Commission to perform its duty efficiently and in accordance with this section.
(f) TERMINATION.-The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the submission of the report under subsection (d).
(g) INAPPLICABILITY OF FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT.-The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the Commission.
Inventory of Federally Funded Internet Safety Programs
Inventory of Federally Funded Internet Safety Programs , Katherine Darke Schmitt
Child Protection Division
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention 2005
DOJ Pub.Law. 108-447 "Congressional request to the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to compile information on federally-funded internet safety programs for youth and to describe each program's purpose and scope"
Crimes against Children Research Center Juvenile Online Victimization Study
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children fund the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center Juvenile Online Victimization Study (N-JOV). The N-JOV
study collected information from a national sample of law enforcement agencies about
the characteristics of Internet sex crimes against minors and the numbers of arrests for
these crimes during a one-year period. Results were published in 2004. These N-JOV statistics about online victimization of children are the most widely cited statistics in this area.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
In 1998, as a part of the Protection of Children From Sexual Predators Act, Congress requested that the National Academies of Sciences produce a report "to conduct a study of computer-based technologies and other approaches to the problem of the availability of pornographic material to children on the Internet." In 2002, the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies of Sciences released Youth, Pornography, and the Internet(May 2002). In response to the Congressional request, the Board assembled a "committee with expertise in many fields" and reviewed the "legal, educational, technological, social, and societal context" of the issue. The conclusions and recommendations of the Board could be used by Congress to amend federal criminal statutes.
The Report concluded
There is no single or simple answer to controlling the access of minors to inappropriate material on the Web. To date, most of the efforts to protect children from inappropriate sexually explicit material on the Internet have focused on technology-based tools such as filters and legal prohibitions or regulation. But the committee believes that neither technology nor policy can provide a complete - or even a nearly complete - solution. While both technology and public policy have important roles to play, social and education strategies to develop in minors an ethic of responsible choice and the skills to effectuate these choices and to cope with exposure are foundational to protecting children from negative effect that may result from exposure to inappropriate material or experiences in the Internet.
[CSTB, Youth, Pornography, and the Internet: Executive Summary: Conclusion (2002)]. The Board's Report does not produce any simple solutions instead describing the situation as "very complex."
In Public Law 105-314, the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of
1998, Title IX, Section 901, the U.S. Congress passed the following legislation:
SEC. 901. STUDY ON LIMITING THE AVAILABILITY OF PORNOGRAPHY
ON THE INTERNET.
(a) IN GENERAL—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of
this Act, the Attorney General shall request that the National Academy of
Sciences, acting through its National Research Council, enter into a contract
to conduct a study of computer-based technologies and other approaches to
the problem of the availability of pornographic material to children on the
Internet, in order to develop possible amendments to Federal criminal law and
other law enforcement techniques to respond to the problem.
(b) CONTENTS OF STUDY—The study under this section shall address
each of the following:
(1) The capabilities of present-day computer-based control technologies for controlling electronic transmission of pornographic images.
(2) Research needed to develop computer-based control technologies to the point of practical utility for controlling the electronic transmission of pornographic images.
(3) Any inherent limitations of computer-based control technologies for controlling electronic transmission of pornographic images.
(4) Operational policies or management techniques needed to ensure the effectiveness of these control technologies for controlling electronic transmission of pornographic images.
(c) FINAL REPORT—Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of
this Act, the Attorney General shall submit to the Committees on the Judiciary
of the House of Representatives and the Senate a final report of the study
under this section, which report shall—
(1) set forth the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Council; and
(2) be submitted by the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate to relevant Government agencies and committees of Congress.
Executive Summary: "In homes, schools, and libraries across the nation, the Internet has become a valuable and even critical tool for our children's success. Access to the Internet furnishes children with new resources with which to learn, new avenues for expression, and new skills to obtain quality jobs.
"Our children's access to the Internet, however, can put them in contact with inappropriate and potentially harmful material. Some children inadvertently confront pornography, indecent material, hate sites, and sites promoting violence, while other children actively seek out inappropriate content. Additionally, through participation in chat rooms and other interactive dialogues over the Internet, children can be vulnerable to online predators.
"Parents and educators have access to a variety of tools that can help protect children from these dangers. In October 2000, Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires schools and libraries that receive federal funds for discounted telecommunications, Internet access, or internal connections services to adopt an Internet safety policy and employ technological protections that block or filter certain visual depictions deemed obscene, pornographic, or harmful to minors. Congress also requested the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to (1) evaluate whether the technology measures currently available adequately address the needs of educational institutions, and (2) evaluate the development and effectiveness of local Internet safety policies. Congress also invited any recommendations from NTIA as to how to foster the development of measures that meet these needs. This report sets forth NTIA's public outreach, including comments received through a Request for Comment, its evaluation, and recommendations.
"With respect to whether the technology measures currently available address the needs of educational institutions, the commenters identified the following needs of educational institutions:
balancing the importance of allowing children to use the Internet with the importance of protecting children from inappropriate material;
accessing online educational materials with a minimum level of relevant content being blocked;
deciding on the local level how best to protect children from Internet dangers;
understanding how to fully utilize Internet protection technology measures;
considering a variety of technical, educational, and economic factors when selecting technology protection measures; and
adopting an Internet safety strategy that includes technology, human monitoring, and education.
"Based on a review of the comments, currently available technology measures have the capacity to meet most, if not all, of these needs and concerns.
"Accordingly, NTIA makes the following two recommendations to Congress on how to foster the use of technology protection measures to better meet the needs of educational institutions:
Technology vendors should offer training services to educational institutions on the specific features of their products.
CIPA's definition of "technology protection measure" should be expanded to include more than just blocking and filtering technology in order to encompass a vast array of current technological measures that protect children from inappropriate content.
"Finally, commenters expressed a great deal of satisfaction regarding the development and effectiveness of Internet safety policies. Specifically, they praise the ability to customize these policies to address the concerns of individual communities. Based on the comments, NTIA has identified best practices for use in developing Internet safety policies. "
"The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has initiated a notice and comment proceeding to evaluate whether currently available Internet blocking or filtering technology measures adequately address the needs of educational institutions and to evaluate the effectiveness of children's Internet safety policies.
" Section 1703 of the Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000 (CIPA) directs NTIA to examine the following issues:
Whether currently available technology protection measures adequately address the needs of educational institutions in protecting children's safety on the Internet;
How to foster development of measures that meet such needs;
The development and effectiveness of local Internet safety policies currently in operation after community input.
"Information about how to submit comments is included in the Federal Register notice located at
NTIA will use the comments as a basis for recommendations to Congress on how to foster the development of technology protection measures that meet the needs of educational institutions. " Source: NTIA Press Release.
CIPA requires NTIA to initiate a notice and comment proceeding for purposes of evaluating whether currently available technology protection measures adequately address the needs of educational institutions. This must be done within 18 months of enactment. Sec. 1703.
Comments may be mailed to Sallianne Fortunato Schagrin, Office of Policy Analysis and Development, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Room 4716 HCHB, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20230. Paper submissions should include a diskette in HTML, ASCII, Word, or WordPerfect format (please specify version). Diskettes should be labeled with the name and organizational affiliation of the filer, and the name of the word processing program used to create the document. In the alternative, comments may be submitted electronically to the following electronic mail address: email@example.com. Comments submitted via electronic mail also should be submitted in one or more of the formats specified above.
Other Non-USG Reports
Online Living Report 2009, Norton
(survey of 9000 adults and kids from 12 countries, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, China, Japan, India, Australia and Brazil)
Safer Internet for Children: Qualitative Study in 29 European Countries, Directorate General Information Society and Media, European Commission (May 2007)
Internet Blocking in Public Schools, Electronic Fronteir Foundation (2003) "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG) have cooperated to study and analyze the accessibility on the web of information related to state-mandated curriculum topics within public schools that operate Internet blocking software. This study measures the extent to which blocking software impedes the educational process by restricting access to web pages relevant to the required curriculum."