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United States

Kid-Safe Domain Created 657

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the virtual-sandboxes dept.
Jadecristal writes "The Washington Post announces that President Bush has signed legislation to create a .kids.us domain. The legislation mandates that those with a .kids.us site not be allowed to link to any site outside the .kids.us domain." At the very least, it makes filtering easy.
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Kid-Safe Domain Created

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  • Hrm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:12PM (#4823105)
    I wonder if anyone will register http://nek.kids.us :)
  • by brianvan (42539) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:14PM (#4823127)
    Apparently, .cn has similar restrictions...
    • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Friday December 06, 2002 @02:00AM (#4824764) Journal
      Apparently, .cn has similar restrictions...

      Which is an excellent example of why governments should not get their hands involved.

      I simply do not see why the government needs to run something like this, or put laws in place. It's quite easy for a private company to build (and spider) a *.kids.com domain or something similar. A DNS server, and a bit of spider code, maybe a few months of work. You resell DNS service to ISPs, ISPs sell it as a value-added bit to add appeal. No government intervention required.

      Aside from sucking up to Republican conservatives, this simply doesn't have much point.

      Furthermore, it's going to open a whole can of worms. If my tax dollars are going to support the company with the contract, what if my definition of what's "appropriate" differs from someone else? I can already see fights and lawsuits brewing over this, all of which would not be a problem if this was simply handled in the private sector.

      If you want responsible citizens tomorrow, America, teach the children of today to be responsible. Let them see whatever content they want -- and teach them to deal with it responsibly.
      • by Hans Lehmann (571625) on Friday December 06, 2002 @02:57AM (#4824987)
        It's quite easy for a private company to build (and spider) a *.kids.com domain or something similar.

        So why hasn't a private company done this yet?
        Because there's no profit in it. A private company is not about to invest in a venture like this unless they have some assurance of making a profit from it, which these days usually requires popup ads for XXX sites and penis enlargement products.
        The government, as crappy and corrupt as it is, at least makes some passing attempt at doing things for the public good. A private company, on the other hand, will only do what's good for them, and not one iota more.

        Let them see whatever content they want -- and teach them to deal with it responsibly.

        You obviously have no children of your own.

        • Because there's no profit in it.

          I just described how a reasonable profit could be made. An ISP ships censorware combined with DNS service from this company. Not that difficult.

          You obviously have no children of your own

          You are correct, though your insinuation that this disqualifies me from having valid opinions on the matter is simply stupid. My ideas are based on my own childhood. My parents were always quite honest with me. They did not go out of their way to expose me to violence or nudity or deaths in the family, but they never attempted to hide it or lie about it. Whenever possible, they'd go over something like this with me. If they said that driving a car without a seat belt was a bad idea, they'd justify it.

          I have tremendous respect for my parents because of this. I think that this is not something innate. Parents that say that children should simply follow their morals and instructions because they "are their parents" *might* have gratitude or at least control over rewards and punishments to the child to try to force them to follow their own ideals. They might succeed, at least in the short term. But I think that such a parent could never achieve the same sense of trust that I had with my parents.

          Children follow their parents' lead best when their parents have shown themselves to be consistently right, not when they try to force children to follow their lead. If you want a child who will be a leader, who will be responsible and independent, then I think you need to raise him in such an environment.

          I know this will probably rankle a few parents -- everyone has their own ideas on what is best for a child. I still think that honesty really *is* the best policy. Let your children know the weaker, less perfect side of people. Let them see their parents as human -- loving humans, someone that they can be friends with as well as child to. A parent shouldn't try to be a God-like being that issues edicts from on high.
      • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday December 06, 2002 @07:33AM (#4825754) Homepage
        I simply do not see why the government needs to run something like this, or put laws in place. It's quite easy for a private company to build (and spider) a *.kids.com domain or something similar.

        Bla...bla....bla....
        if is soo easy for it to happen then why didn't it?

        usually the government steps in when industry fails.. and yes the "internet" industry has failed miserably to control it's self. with pors sites intentionally popping up with similar names to kids toys and sites the kids would go to. just have your 10 year old daughter type in www.bratzdolls.com and have your porn full.

        I as a father am sick and tired of the idiots and morons like you screaming "there isn't a need! there isn't any trouble!" and I am sick and tired of having to chase my daughter out of the room so I can search and find what she wants so she isnt attacked by the ration of 2 to one of porn on topics she wants information on.

        when she searches for britiney spears... she shoud not get 60 porn sites ,3 hardcore nasty porn sites and 6 actual sites with what she wants.

        I personally think that they should force all porn to .porn TLD and solve the problem once and for all. but people will whine, these are the same people that dont have the balls to park in front of the dirty book store.

        the internet is a information trading tool... not a porn entertainment center, unfortunately it's becoming that first and foremost. Having .kids is a step in the right direction... .porn needs to be the next one... unless the internet community can police it's self. I highly doubt it.
  • so? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by garcia (6573)
    I put a picture of two people taking from Action Pics on www.thehun.com.

    Or better yet, goatsex?

    What are they going to do then? I didn't link anywhere and someone else in kids.us could link to me...
    • by c0ol (628751)
      you have to agree to the TOS to have the domain, and they can shut u down. this is a moderated domain
      • by LX.onesizebigger (323649) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:28PM (#4823257) Homepage
        However, realizing what a large and profitable market kids are, I wouldn't be too surprised if this gains great interest among companies who want to profit from this (personally I think brainwashing ads from the toy and entertainment industries is far more damaging to a kid than nude people could ever be, but thats beside the point).

        If this is indeed the case, how long before this domain is as impossible to oversee or manage as the rest of the Internet is today? I see scalability issues. You can always enforce the requirement of no outside links by supplementing the system with software, but moderating the contents? Good luck.
    • by rsborg (111459)
      What are they going to do then? I didn't link anywhere and someone else in kids.us could link to me...

      So now, are you .kids? If so your URL will be de-listed, since you are doing the illegal outside linking. If not then they couldn't link to you anyway. Either way someone would get delisted for outside linking or hosting inappropriate content.

      Of course this raises the question: what is inappropriate content?

      • Re:so? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FyRE666 (263011)
        [Original poster posits linking to goatse.cx]

        Of course this raises the question: what is inappropriate content?

        I'm pretty sure that goatse would be classed slightly inappropriate for small children. I mean, christ I'm over 30 and I found it traumatic enough to add an entry pointing goatse.cx->127.0.0.1 on my nameserver!
    • Re:so? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by brsmith4 (567390) <brsmith4NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:51PM (#4823424)
      You'd simply be an asshole if you did and your site would probably be shut down. I think it's great that there will be a domain for children's web sites. It will make parents' jobs easier when it comes to keeping track of what they are doing and making sure they do not come across things they shouldn't.
      • Re:so? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Montreal Geek (620791) <marcNO@SPAMuberbox.org> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:56PM (#4823873) Homepage Journal
        [...] and making sure they do not come across things they shouldn't.

        I don't get it. Why is this society so obsessed with the concept that children are some sort of retarded subhuman species?

        I grew up with intelligent parents that cared. I was never denied any soure of information, regardless of how ridiculous and/or "innapropriate", but was taught to use my brain to discard garbage on my own.

        My children will get the same opportunity.

        I've grown up to be a responsible, sane adult who isn't mind-controled by the media. Obviously, being able to use one's own jugment to qualify what's out there is not a desired objective of the governments.

        They'd much rather have drones who consume the information that was deemed good for them without question.

        -- MG

  • Bad solution. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by prizzznecious (551920) <hwky AT freeshell DOT org> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:14PM (#4823129) Homepage
    It would be much more sensible to create a domain of non-kid-"safe" content. That would facilitate filtering without creating the need for current content providers to make redundant registrations.

    Also, this will probably end up in a flurry of anti-cybersquatting legislation, as companies vie with individuals to grab all of the good names in the new subdivision.

    All in all, the wrong idea.
    • Good solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Cato the Elder (520133) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:22PM (#4823185) Homepage
      It would be much more sensible to create a domain of non-kid-"safe" content


      No it wouldn't. That wouldn't be at all useful. Sure, you couldn't block children from going there, but you can't force everything non "kid-safe" into that one corner. This way, you can have an inclusion only filter, which is always easier to set up. I don't see a few "redundant" registrations as being a problem, they don't exactly eat up a noticible amount of money or Internet resources.

    • by lpontiac (173839) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:23PM (#4823193)
      It would be much more sensible to create a domain of non-kid-"safe" content.

      I propose we call it .com

    • .xxx would be easy to block, but how do you keep all the smut contained within .xxx? People will start moving their porn sites to .ca, .uk, .cc, .at, .to, whatever other country code where US law has no control. By making sure that .kids.us will always remain clean, with strict bouncers throwing any troublemakers out, you can set a kid up with a browser that can only travel within .kids.us and know there is no way they can surf into smut...
      • by susano_otter (123650) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:52PM (#4823435) Homepage
        Isn't .ca the TLD for California? I thought Canada was .ca.uk, or .ca.fr, or something.
        • Re:Bad solution. (Score:3, Informative)

          "Isn't .ca the TLD for California? I thought Canada was .ca.uk, or .ca.fr, or something."

          No, .ca is Canada.

          And there are subdomains: .bc.ca refers to British Columbia, Canada.

          If I recall correctly, .ca is also a subdomain for .us - Meaning .ca.us would refer to california, USA. I don't think california has a TLD at all.

    • Re:Bad solution. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:23PM (#4823208)
      You miss the point.

      The reason for the creation of a .kids domain is because any attempt at creating an adult only domain and REQUIRING adult oriented sites to go there is a 1st amendment violation. This has been hashed out beyond recognition. A .kids domain that is Opt IN is legal. a .XXX Domain that is required, is not.
      • Re:Bad solution. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:21PM (#4823646) Journal
        any attempt at creating an adult only domain and REQUIRING adult oriented sites to go there is a 1st amendment violation.

        Hear hear!

        Like cities, the Internet is a "place" that was created BY adults FOR adults. As such it contains hazardous-to-kids analogs of traffic, industrial plants, political battlegrounds, pickup bars, red-light districts, casinos, marketplaces for dangerous items, and other attractive nuisances. Indeed, these produce much of its value and utility.

        If a child is not mature enough to be allowed unescorted in the seamier neighborhoods of your local downtown, that kid is also not mature enough to be unsecorted on the internet. And trying to childproof the entirety of the internet (or all but a reserved area) is just as futile, damaging, and illegal as trying to childproof the entirety of adult society.

        Creating an explicit childproof fenced-in playground, on the other hand, is just fine. With one possible exception...

        I hope that either the prohibition on linking out of kids.us is relaxed to allow linking to kids. of any country that sets up a similar domain with compatable rules, or (perhaps better) that sites in other countries that are willing to abide by the US rules are allowed to register in kids.us.
  • by duras (34902) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:17PM (#4823157) Homepage
    So any site under kids.us is safe for kids. Sites are only safe for kids if they're under kids.us. Why not just create a whitelist of kids-safe sites. In order to get on the list, you must not link to sites that aren't on the whitelist.

    Works out the same, but eliminates the cost of the domain to the website owner.
    • by LostCluster (625375) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:29PM (#4823264)
      Because downloading and using a whitelist creates a hassle for the users. (You remember users, they're the people we work for, etc.) It's much simpler to have a rule... if it ends in ".kids.us" it must be safe.
    • they will decide that the only thing that is safe in the kids domain, is disney, toys r us, and walmart. Commercialze the kids, and quickly. Pretty soon the law will be that if you aren't 18 then you have to serf in a particular domain. or maybe im full of it.
    • by pmineiro (556272) <`paul' `at' `mineiro.com'> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:04PM (#4823528) Homepage
      So any site under kids.us is safe for kids. Sites are only safe for kids if they're under kids.us. Why not just create a whitelist of kids-safe sites. In order to get on the list, you must not link to sites that aren't on the whitelist.

      Works out the same, but eliminates the cost of the domain to the website owner.


      Well, the computational complexity of your solution is O(n) in space, whereas Bush's solution is O(1) space.

      Looks like George W. Bush is a better software engineer than you are!

      -- p
  • uh, gee (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:18PM (#4823161)
    It sure is good to know that our children will be safe from being accidentally redirected to dangerous, kid-unfriendly sites like www.cnn.com when they're hanging around nickelodeon.kids.us. Way to go, GWB.

    Actually, i'm just being cynical, i guess that is a pretty good idea.. a kid-safe playground that you can let your children run free on without any worry they'll run across anything "bad". I'm liking this idea the more i think about it, but i'm worried about what happens when they start deciding what is and isn't "kid-safe".. for example, what happens the first time someone puts something that really isn't kid-appropriate up on kids.us.. or what happens the first time that someone attempts to claim that something like, say, the web page for that Nickelodeon special about kids who have gay parents, and the intolerance they face (you know, the one that all the child psychologists lauded and all the religious groups tried to have nickelodeon boycotted for) declared "unsafe for kids.us"...

    I wonder if the fact that actual laws have to be passed to introduce any changes in the administration of the .us domain is the reason there's absolutely nothing there.
    • What prevents a kid-safe version of the news going up at cnn.kids.us?

      Nothing at all.
      • Re:uh, gee (Score:3, Insightful)

        Good evening kids. Nothing bad happened at all in the world today. The World Trade Center is intact. Bin Laden is really just a bearded old man. He is not mean. Nobody wants to hurt anybody. The President is good friends with the other nice guy in Iraq. Goodnight, kids.

        Kids-safe news? I wish it were possible...
  • Well (Score:2, Informative)

    by TekReggard (552826)
    This is one of those few good moves that I appreciate. I'm about that age where I will be having kids in the near future, and it makes a big difference to me what kinds of things they're exposed to. Something like this would make myself feel very safe letting my kids roam the internet, and I'm pretty sure most other parents or soon to be parents feel this way too. I would know that if they're on a Disney site, a site about children's shows, or even a local news site, its very unlikely they will accidentally end up on some sexist, racist, or drug related website.
    • Re:Well (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well... don't want this to sound like a flame, but I'm not very afraid of kids being hurt by content because:
      • Things that are weird for them (sexual images before teenage, senseless violence), they will ignore, perhaps just ask "what is that", and moving on.
      • Things that do interest them (same sexual images when they get older), they can browse for all I care, if they choose to.

      That is, no child will get really harmed just by accidentally browsing to a page that contains "adult" content. They may get scared because of the reaction of their parents ("what the FUCK are you doing browsing those dirty sites"), or perhaps they've already been messed by zealous parents. But normal human being want be harmed by web pages, especially since it's easy to just close the browser.

      I just have never understood the special american complex towards nudity or erotic material. And although I despise violence in all its forms, I don't think it's worth censoring either.

  • Now taking bets.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilStein (414640) <spam&pbp,net> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:20PM (#4823176) Homepage
    How long will it be before www.*.kids.us becomes nothing more than a big advertisement for Nickelodeon, Disney, and Fox Kids?

  • by foniksonik (573572) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:22PM (#4823183) Homepage Journal
    I hope they realize that they are passing legislation which disallows linking to international sites, even if they are kid safe... i guess our kids will only be getting US approved history as usual.

    Well hopefully the librarians at schools will keep at least one or two computers available for doing real research on sites like BBC, etc. who may not feel the need to create a special US version of their material available just for kids in the US.

    • You make a good point. Hopefully, if other countries follow this example, we'll amend our legislature to include their domains.

      And equally as hopefully, our libraries will have access to more than just the .kids.us domain. They do have more than a children's and young-adult section now.

      -Zipwow
    • by kfg (145172) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:40PM (#4823773)
      both in and out of schools, will be using all the focus on the internet as a distraction while quitely slipping these subversive documents called "books" to "kids" under the table.

      I recommend "Farenheit 451", "Lies my Teacher Told Me" and "Welcome to the Monkey House" for starters.

      Indeed, any librarian who isn't doint this isn't a libraian at all, just a book filing clerk, and should find some other line of work.

      KFG
  • by neksys (87486)
    Let's further fragment and complicate the internet in the name of our children's safety!!


    Christ - the problem of protecting children from offensive or adult content lies with the parents, not one some new-fangled US legislation. Educate your children, monitor their internet usage, but for goodness sakes, do NOT lock them into a pisspoor subset of the internet - a new domain suffix is NOT a suitable substitute for responsible adult supervision.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:30PM (#4823272)
      Parents don't have time to filter ALL information on the internet. It's a question of amount of time to filter all content.

      Now most (but not all) parents will be able to trust the kids.us filter _as a baseline_. If they want their kids to see additional stuff they are always empowered to do so, and the time required to do that is managable.

      Where this won't work well is for some parents who find some of the accepted kids.us content unacceptable. (And to be honest, I'm not all that worried about them.)

      • MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mike3411 (558976) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:37PM (#4823320) Homepage
        I was about to post this response. Giving parents more options & making it easier on them is never a bad idea. And clearly, nothing will prevent poor parenting from fscking up a kid. But given that even the best parents do not have an unlimited amount of time/energy to devote to their kids, and legislation like this can help them use that time more efficiently. I hope that continuing legislation allows for .kids.uk, .kids.de, etc., although I have a feeling we're going to run into some major "what should kids be allowed to see?" issues, even within .kids.us
    • by lommer (566164)
      Actually, what I want to know is whether there are any provisions that the kids.us domain could be extended to other countries. The article said that sites in kids.us would only be allowed to link to other sites in kids.us, but does the legislation provide for the event that other countries' kids-friendly domain names could be linked to? i.e. If Canada created a kids.ca or the UK created kids.uk, are there provisions that would allow sites in kids.us to link to these sites?

      I know this would make the domain system even more complicated, but it could prove useful.
    • by inkswamp (233692) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:59PM (#4823502)
      Christ - the problem of protecting children from offensive or adult content lies with the parents, not one some new-fangled US legislation.

      For the most part, I agree with you, but then, most of society doesn't. I have two children and one is old enough to use our computer, and I monitor her Internet usage. In fact, I have raised my daughter in such a way that she self-censors. She knows when she's stumbled across something that may be questionable and asks me if it's okay. However, not everyone is as good a parent as I am (sorry to sound snotty, but it's the truth.) Consider how this will inevitably boomerang back on our asses if we don't provide a safe "sandbox" for the rest of the parents out there who can't get it together. I don't want to see legislation that attempts to outlaw content and punish people for viewing certain things because some inattentive parent out there can't get the first clue on how to raise their child. I'd much rather accept this "lesser evil."

      I'm surprised to see any carping about it as any attempts to make the Internet more kid-friendly without legislation would seem to find favor with most readers of Slashdot.

  • Ban advertising too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sanity (1431) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:23PM (#4823194) Homepage Journal
    On the whole, this is a good thing for those of us concerned about censorship. Having said that, I think that they should take a leaf out of Sweden's book, and ban advertising on the kids.us domain too. Advertising is manipulation for profit, and psychological manipulation of children for profit is revolting IMHO, more so than most of the things that won't be permitted under the kids.us domain.
    • by Tyler Eaves (344284) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:34PM (#4823302)
      Actually, I think this would, for the most part. Basically every ad I've ever seen is clickable ( == link). They're only allowed to link to .kids.us. So presumably any ads could be for other kids.us sites.
      • by LX.onesizebigger (323649) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:40PM (#4823337) Homepage
        I think you're missing the point. Corporations can still set up sites marketing mind-numbing toys in 100% genuine plastic that will occupy your kids and condition them into good corporate slaves. They can then have these sites linked to from ads on other .kids.us sites. I believe the original poster wanted to stop this kind of corporate propaganda. I think the reference to Sweden was the fact that it is for example illegal for TV here to show ads directed at kids under the age of 12.
      • by Sanity (1431) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:57PM (#4823477) Homepage Journal
        For example, a Swedish court recently decided that Pokimon had to remove the phrase "Gotta catch em' all!" from their cartoons, since it was determined that the only purpose of this phrase was encouragement to children to buy Pokimon characters.

        AFAIK there is nothing to stop Pokimon from having a pokimon.kids.us website which can be linked to from advertisments within the kids.us domain.

        As far as I am concerned, Pokimon is a cynical manipulation of children for profit. Marketing to children seeks to brainwash them into thinking that happiness is having the latest Nike trainers and drinking Pepsi.

        Looking at countries like the US, and the frequency with which I hear the words "I want" whenever I am around American kids - I guess it is working beautifully.

    • by dirk (87083)
      How many "kids sites" are anything but an advertisement? Nickelodeon.com is nothing but an ad for their shows. Same with cartoonnetwork.com. Most kids sites are there to promote some TV show, or book series, or whatnot. Saying you can have those, but not advertisements for other toys, etc seems a big hypocritical.
  • OK so far (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:23PM (#4823198) Homepage Journal
    Its a better solution than some others, BUT

    Who gets to decide what content is suitable? Will discussion of the birds and the bees not be permitted by the repubs, but sites that exploit kids by trying to sell them stuff be allowed?

    So, no Learnhowyourbodyworks.kids.us or whatswiththesethingsgrowingonme.kids.us or somepeoplebelieveinevolution.kids.us, but plenty of disneyshop.kids.us or sugaredcereal.kids.us sites?
  • by dkemist (199970) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:24PM (#4823211)
    Most of the posts I've read seem to miss the point. While I'm completely opposed to selective censorship of the web as a whole, this provides a great solution for a "white list" of ok sites. Say a pre school or even grade school wants to provide limited internet access to their students. All they need to do is limit their access to the .kids.us domain. No one is going to pretend that the kids have access to the 'net at large -- that's not what they want. They just want a guaranteed 'safe' way to expose their kids to some educational resources. Limiting the access to a specific domain that you have to qualify to get into is a good thing. Compare that approach to some of the current blacklists and url filters.

    Just by the fact that the name is "kids.us" I don't think this is something that is targetting more general audiences such as those accessing the internet in public libraries.
    • this provides a great solution for a "white list" of ok sites

      I once heard about an ongoing project of finding paths through the web. The objective was to take any web site and within seven clicks on links arrive at a porn site. Last I heard, the government of New Zealand web site was the only one for which they hadn't succeeded. Adjusting the content (removing links that aren't on the whitelist, to satisfy the link requirement) of a web site based on which TLD the domain was requested as isn't terribly difficult to do, but will the adoption of this be so widespread as to warrant very many sites doing it? In my opinion, no. I like the idea of a non-kid friendly TLD much better; at that point filtering in large part becomes trivial.

      Another thing, how does the government determine what material is acceptible for children? Obviously some things are right out, but what about for instance a Tom and Jerry cartoon with animated violence? How much is too much? What about the purists that say "I'd rather have my child watch two people making love than two people trying to kill each other"? The definition of 'acceptable' varies widely from parent to parent, culture to culture, and I don't think you can appease them all at once, not by a long way. Better to organize things into catagories such as ".xxx" and let parents figure out what they want their kids to see.
    • by GuyMannDude (574364) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:00PM (#4823504) Journal

      Most of the posts I've read seem to miss the point...No one is going to pretend that the kids have access to the 'net at large -- that's not what they want. They just want a guaranteed 'safe' way to expose their kids to some educational resources.

      Now, I think that you're the one missing the point of the others. Yes, I think we all understand that this isn't meant to be an ideal solution but I would argue that it's not a solution at all. Worse, it's a non-solution pretending to be a solution. I would argue there is no "guaranteed safe way" to provide information to children since there will never be a concensus on what is "safe". Invariably there will be some stuff on kids.us that someone will decide is inappropriate and we'll be right back where we started from. I think it's best to force parents to realize that there will never be a "guaranteed safe" way to surf the web and not to use this kids.us to give them a warm, fuzzy feeling.

      You have to realize that a lot of us here also get goosebumps whenever the government is given the job of "approving" any information source, even if it's in the name of the children. The whole idea of government-approved information sources (consciously or not) stirs up bad images of communist and totalitarian regimes.

      GMD

      • I would argue there is no "guaranteed safe way" to provide information to children since there will never be a concensus on what is "safe".

        Come down out of your ivory tower and take a look at the real world -- it's messy, has no problems that have 100% perfect solutions, is mostly run by boneheads who make compromises based on tradeoffs about things they don't understand -- and it works pretty well anyway, by and large.

        Who *cares* if the kids.us solution isn't 100% perfect? What is? Sure there will be some controversy and some argument about what is and is not "safe", but the result will be content that 95% of the population agrees is just fine for their kids, or at least not too bad. That's compared to about 0.001% of the population that currently believes the same statement about the Internet.

        It doesn't have to be perfect to be useful.

  • by zx-6e (604380) <zx-6e.dragonnetworks@com> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:24PM (#4823213)
    Why didn't they just call it kids.r.us? Then they could sell toys too!
  • How can they enforce, or even implement no linking outside of kids.us domains? What about IP addresses? What about virtual servers, that share IP addresses?

    It might make it easier to filter, but still far from easy. And any kid that knows how to use nslookup (oh, sorry - that's been depricated. Of course I meant dig) can bypass it.
    • What about IP addresses? Is this that hard to understand?

      Virtual servers has nothing to do with it.. this has specifically to do with WEBSITES.

      If your site is referenced by a .kids.us domain, and it has links that point outside that domain, you are violating the rules. If all your links ot other URLS are IN .kids.us, you are safe.

      That's pretty damn simple.

      What do you mean, *MIGHT* make it easier to filter? You take your web proxy at your elementary school library, you say "don't resolve anything besides .kids.us" and be done with it.

      It's dead easy to force the proxy to only pass urls ending in kids.us (which means raw IP address urls would be blocked)

  • by EvilCabbage (589836) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:24PM (#4823217) Homepage
    .. if you want to register goatse.kids.us ...
  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ...how many companies will even bother? Not only would they have to shell out the cash for a new domain name, but they'd also have to hire more staff to make sure that all the links are following the rules. I'd imagine there's some nasty penalties if they don't.

    So, who'll do it? What happens if a kid is doing a report on, say, Djbouti, but Encyclopedia Onlineica didn't believe it would be cost effective to go through the effort?

    Speaking of that, who decides what content of Encyclopedia Onlineica is safe? After all, everyone knows that the *good* encyclopedias have lengthy sections detailing how and why humans rock the casbah.

    Man, that was sad. I used to read volume S quite a bit. *sigh*

    Pathetic events of my childhood aside, how effective is this going to be? Is this just the feel-good I'm-not-bombing-anyone-right-now event of the political season, or will this actually work?

    I guess it boils down to - will Little Johnny still be able to get the information he needs for school work without being bombarded by porn pop-ups, or will he just say, "Screw it!" and use the 'regular' 'net?
  • Great, now we have a way for parents to control thier kids internet usage. Lets be honest, parents should NOT NEED this. I won't insult any parents by saying, "Responsible" parents don't need this. Any one who calls themself a parent DOESN'T need this. What Does need to be created however is a top level domain that would kill 2 birds with one stone. One for example like a .XXX, that would allow companies to restrict this domain and not have to keep up with all the pr0n sites on the net and would also allow parents to block this content. I remeber the argument being that this kind of domain could not be regulated properly. This argument was perpetuated by more than a few people in the /. lcommunity and in goverment. But, somewhow a top level kids domain will work? Intresting, I think it will work, and that this should be a move in the right direction of properly placing domains in their respecitve places.

    I don't remeber anyone complaing at the birth of the internet that .com's should only be for corporatins and .edu's for schools. This all seemed like a great idea at the time. Somewhere down the line all theses domains became usable by anyone (with the large exception being to .edu's). If the .edu's can restrict their use to only educational facilities why can't .coms only be for corps, and .org's for organizations?
  • Message Boards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gyorg_Lavode (520114) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:26PM (#4823241)
    How does this domain deal with websites which can be modified by users such as message boards? Will everything posted to a message board in this domain need to be heavily filtered so as to not link outside of the domain? What about addresses that are only published and not linked? What about links to email addresses, screen names, and chat rooms? I think it's also interesting to note that it does not allow chat or IM clients inside the domain. Does this mean that John can't give Jack his IM name so they can work on their presentation?

    Overall though I think it is a good idea. Assuming websites targetted at children, (such as Disney, schools, and knowledge databases), take advantage of this it could be very beneficial. I think many of those who could take advantage of this will have to create dual sites: one for the domain and one for outside of it, as many schools and knowledge databases benefit from refrencing information that will not be in the domain.

  • by SEWilco (27983) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:27PM (#4823244) Journal
    • "Now we can give you the best placement in all .kids.us search engines! Just send $19.95 a month to us, and we'll submit your site to every .kids.us search engine that we know of!"
    • "Google News For Kids. Today's headlines:
      • Sesame Street Year 8 replays begin today on a network which we can't name because it is not in .kids.us.
      • Someplace in the world, the Muppets Movie 4 became available in a certain format.
      • The Little Prince product line has not been selling well in the specialty store where it is available."
  • by dagg (153577) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:28PM (#4823254) Journal
    By Brie Linetoe
    Washington Boast
    Wednesday, December 4th, 2002; 12:30PM

    President Bush today signed legislation that seals off the P-rated (Parents Only) "neighborhood" for parents on the World Wide Web.

    The Dot-parents implementation will contain items that kids may not look at. All content that is suitable for viewing after kids go to bed will be available at .parents.us sites.

    These sites will only be available after 10PM in most time zones, except for CST (which will have it available after 9PM).

    Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), remarked that the new domain was just what his doctor ordered. Sen. Dorgan says "We're not censoring anything. We're just making it available after 10PM for parents only."

    --

    Example of .parents.us site [tilegarden.com]
  • by cranos (592602) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:29PM (#4823262) Homepage Journal
    Just on a purely technical point, how are they going to govern the domain space. Are they going to setup a department just to keep checking up on the kids.us domains?

    And also how the hell are they going to to stop the pedo's abusing this. Domain name and IP spoofing as well as email and the rest could lead to a situation no one wants to see.

    The answer is not ham fisted attempts such as this one, its parental supervision. I know that my son is not allowed to go on the computer unless there is an adult present.
    • Maybe they can offer a contract to Google [google.com] to spider the whole domain, but in addition offering a kids friendly search engine [google.kids.us], Google could also do the cross checks by having the special bots that spider it also check all the links for anything that isn't kids.us, lock those out of the kids.us search engine database, and report them to the appropriate agency handling it. When a link is found that goes to a non-kids.us site, the domain owner is called up by that agency (their emergency contact info might be part of the registration requirement) and told to remove it within the hour, or their domain name gets disabled (which could be done faster if the kids.us zone file has short TTL settings on all the delegations). Since the technology exists to isolate the upper level domain names, such as Slashdot uses to optionally show them to you in postings, it could easily be extended to totally block out the link if it's not to kids.us, or even reject the posting altogether. The problem is more a social one of making people actually do it since way too many people (adults here) are too clueless to understand how to make things right. So we shouldn't be seeing a goatse.cx or urinalpoop.org showing up if they do it right.

      There are lots of different kinds of spoofing, so I don't know which you are referring to, so I can't give a specific example of how to prevent it. But the obvious part is that there are at least 2 levels of protection parents can engage. The light level is simply make sure the kids start on a kids.us portal. Then as long as the site operators do what they are supposed to, the kids will be safe. The stronger level is to configure the browser so that when the kids are logged in to the computer, it won't allow access to any web content (including images, Java, CSS, whatever) which isn't found by means of a kids.us domain lookup. So the URLs with IP addresses won't work, either.

      One form of spoofing you may be referring to is stuff like emailed URLs that look like a kids.us URL, but in fact go to somewhere else. But that's an issue of whether the parents allow the kids to use software that would access some other domain. By using the stronger level of protection, even opening spam with these links will fail, as long as the program displaying it goes through the same mechanisms to find the site (which I believe is the case on Windows). The content actually in that mail is another issue. Since almost everything in email can be forged, you might not want to allow your kids access to email unless you have some stronger protection to ensure they are getting it only from other kids you approve of. Restricting kids to web based email on a kids.us webmail site, that by extension of the law should only communicate with other such sites and not to any outside of the kids.us domain, and not by SMTP which could spoof that, should keep your kids safe.

      I don't believe the law is requiring you as a parent to restrict your kids to this domain, but rather, is giving you this as an option, so that if you choose to, you can set up the computer to limit itself to kids.us and actually leave your child unattended for a while at the computer with more confidence than you would have today. My worry, though, is that this might be just the first step to more laws, or case law, in the future. Consider a court deciding to take children away from their parents and the fact that the parents didn't restrict their kids to kids.us on the computer was what tipped the scale in the case. That would open up a whole lot of new problems that I can see. And I'm afraid a case like that will happen within a few years.

    • by marauder404 (553310) <marauder404NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Thursday December 05, 2002 @11:09PM (#4823939)

      You're right -- technical solutions shouldn't be a substitute for good parenting and supervision. But a little bit of technical wizardry does help. You do keep the cookie jar out of their reach, right?

      As for how it's going to be enforced, it's the responsibility of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration [doc.gov] according to the HR Bill [loc.gov].

  • by mattrowe (253615) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:29PM (#4823267) Homepage
    so... what's to stop someone from posting "questionable" content on a kids.us domain??

    can these sites explain mommy's breast cancer?

    can these sites explain mommy's breast enhancements?

    can these sites explain daddy's breast enhancements?

    where's that arbitrary line drawn?
    • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:04PM (#4823533) Journal
      Wherever the line is drawn, there'll be assholes who want to push it to make some kind of dumb-ass freedom of speech comment, like those that think they need to teach about homosexuality in kindergarten.

      There'll also be those that think the line is drawn to wide, like those that think the teletubbies are a subversive plot to make children gay.

      Let them play, let them have fun, for fuck sakes. I really wish people would stop using them as pawns to push their own philosophical agendas.

      We expect them to understand the world as we do at the ripe old ages of 6 or 7.

      The cruelest thing we do in this day and age is rob kids of their childhood. It makes me sick.
      • Wherever the line is drawn, there'll be assholes who want to push it to make some kind of dumb-ass freedom of speech comment, like those that think they need to teach about homosexuality in kindergarten.

        My niece who is 5 years old asked me yesterday why those two gentlemen in the train were kissing.

        Now, oh wise one, guardian of the moral rectitude and the correct free speech, tell me how do we hide the real world [tm] from children without somehow explaining it (in the kindergarten, the train or at home).
  • Now GW can have a whole TLD aimed at his reading level!

    Bar and George must be very proud.

    Mods - please don't mod this up, Dubya can only count to 3.

  • This is *GREAT*. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mindstrm (20013) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:36PM (#4823311)
    Why? Several reasons.

    1) It does not seek to regulate the whole internet.
    2) The domain is .kids.us... in the US cctld..
    3) Those who RUN kids.us set the rules for using that domain. The fact that it's a presidential order does not make it bad.... I could say the same thing about my domain, and set whatever terms I *WANT* for you to hafve a subdomain, and I am the law.

    THis is the RIGHT approach to the problem.
  • A couple of questions:

    By linking, are they referring to hyperlinks, or any sort of reference to sites outside .kids.us? What if you want to have graphics on your site from another (primary) site on an outside domain? Is all access to domains outside .kids.us going to be blocked? Is this technically possible? What about pop-ups? Will Java also be banned? Who is going to be in charge of the domain, and hence selling it? I'm sure someone like McDonalds, Disney, or Mattel would kindly volunteer...

    Sorry, but it just seems like this hasn't been thought through terribly well.

  • by dmatos (232892) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:38PM (#4823328)
    Why does everyone seem to think that these sites won't be able to link to sites outside of .kids? What is gained by that?

    In my opinion, all you have to do is check that the content of all of these sites is kid-safe. That's going to require periodic human checks anyway. However, there's nothing to stop them from putting up links to non-kids sites, like this [teletubbies.com] one.

    The real bonus of the .kids domain is it allows for easy filtering at the user-level. A firewall that blocks all domains outside of .kids. You can click on that goatse.cx link all you like, but the firewall will stop you from seeing, well, what none of us really want to see.

    That way, if you have an adult surfing, they can actually follow links to relevant .com/.net/.org/.whatever sites that they want to see, and the .kids TLD will have the chance to be useful to us older folks as well.
  • by emkman (467368) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:38PM (#4823329)
    Every company is going to be forced to get a kids domain now, or be left out of this "new internet". What if i want to include a google box to search my own kid site, or link to current headlines at CNN? I can't because these are .com, and obviously not safe enough. Big companies can afford it, by why should everyone be forced to create new, possibly edited domains(cause they can only like to kids domains now too), just to be a viable part of the internet
    • "Every company is going to be forced to get a kids domain now, or be left out of this "new internet"."

      I weep for John Q. Porn indeed.
      What's the problem here, exactly ?
      That You can't draw attention from the kid-safe domains ? Oh how horrible indeed.
      Here's an idea.. You could setup a kid-safe site, apply, and get in.

      You can't use google ? shoot.. how horrible..
      I guess You're imagining that kids.us won't have an internal search engine then ?
      After all, all the kids should be able to find the information they want just by clicking all over the place ? Nuh-uh.

      And why indeed would You want to link to CNN headlines ??
      "Dominatrix pleads not guilty to murder charge"
      Oh yes, I'm sure kids.us will want to explain that one to the kids ;)

      How about linking to cnn.kids.us
      or just
      news.kids.us
      kid-safe news for the kid-safe domain.

      Here in The Netherlands, we have a special news broadcast called "Jeugdjournaal", it's for kids from age 6-14 or something.
      It presents all the news that is 'fit' for kids (i.e. no dominatrices) in a kid-safe kind of way.
      This broadcast is also government run, and I haven't seen any specific bias.
      They've reported on just about everything the regular news has, just brings it in a more light-hearted tone.

      For example, they'll happily tell kids that Israelis shot dead Palestine kids who were throwing rocks at soldiers.
      But they won't show the blood and gore that's smeared all over the streets and bodybads being carried away.
      They also explain -why- the kids were throwing rocks, and why the Israeli's opened fire on them.
      Totally objective.. the kids can make up their own mind on whether the Israeli's were okay on opening fire and killing them.

      That's the only really scary thing that You might wonder about with kids.us - the -way- information is presented. Not -what- information per se.

      That makes 6cts now...
  • by SEWilco (27983)
    News for Kids, Stuff You're Allowed To Know

    Site News: Kids, when you submit news stories remember to link only within .kids.us and to not say anything unpatriotic or the trained mammals will bite your fingers until you behave.

  • Has it really come to this? I keep thinking that Bush will pull through and be a good guy. However, this latest move is just a bad move with a good motive.

    This police state controls only a little part of us, even if it is the little kids. But restricting kids to the underage section well... I don't see how this will be helpful in any case.

    They should start with pushing pay-for-porn or banner-filled porn sights to an .xxx domain, not a kids.us domain. It should be moving the problem to something that can be filtered, not creating a new section that can create its own problems.
  • Looks good to me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TekPolitik (147802) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:45PM (#4823383) Journal

    The idea here is obviously to create a domain that kids can use unsupervised, so you would limit their machines to that domain by use of a proxy of some description. If they need access to things outside that domain, they can do so under supervision

    Inability to access other content is unlikely to be a problem anyway, since it's not merely a question of whether content is suitable for kids, but whether it is targetted to kids. Pre-teen kids aren't usually much interested in content that's not designed for kids anyway.

    If the content is targetted to kids, the domain owner is likely to register under that domain anyway.

    The only thing I'd like to have seen is that it be .kids, rather than .kids.us, but I guess the limitation to .us is for political reasons - surprisingly, for Bush, in an effort not to appear to be acting as the President of the World.

  • by Halo5 (63934) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:50PM (#4823423) Homepage
    Are they gonna prosecute porn spammers to email servers on that domain? If so, a lot of adults (including me) will want a .kid.us email account!

    Also, a new venture as a non-free (say $5-$10 a month) email service might be a good idea. As an ISP, all you would have to do is report spammers to the USG.

  • by slaker (53818) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @09:51PM (#4823426)
    Yup, easy filtering. Now I have a way to filter out some of those stupid kid's sites that are keeping me from finding more porno.
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:30PM (#4823722)
    I got modded down 'cause I was against this..which shows how purely clueless some are. First off, the Government is going about this BACKWARDS...they should have instead adopted the domain .xxx or similar and required all the 'bad' stuff to be there! What they did instead is the equilavent of fencing the children IN as opposed to keeping the bad stuff OUT! But then we do this all the time in the USA these days, don't we? Instead of cleaning the streets of criminals, we instead lock ourselves in our homes! Look, I'm tired of the Govt. in the USA deciding things for me and my family. I raised three kids, the oldest a girl who's a Freshman at Harvard now..and I did it without Govt. help. My kids all used (and use) the 'net and I supervise them. Also, I raised them right...they know what to look at and what not to..and they ask me when they need advice. Why should I (and they) be forced have to lower myself to SOMEONE ELSE'S lowest common denominator..why can't they RAISE themselves up to mine? We have laws that limit people's access by age to movies,..to cigarettes, to drinking..to driving...even to viewing certain TV shows. We don't BAN them from coming into a movie theater building where there's an R movie playing on the next screen..or a food store that happens to sell cigarettes and liquor..or the TV completely..yet so many of you here are simply GUSHING about a domain that does EXACTLY that! Why would you want to do this? Again I say..it's stupid and makes no sense!
  • by CaptainSuperBoy (17170) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @10:45PM (#4823794) Homepage Journal
    Overly technical legislation is never good.. this is like spam laws that say you have to put ADV in the subject. What about wireless and other non-SMTP spam? There are plenty of ways to spam someone that don't include a subject field.

    In the same way, there are plenty of ways to 'link' to a site. Does this only restrict A HREF? How about setting window.location in Javascript? Or I could make a dummy form and use buttons for links. What if I put in the URL of a porn site but don't make the link clickable? What if I just mention a web site's name, as in "I bought it on the eBay site?" Also, if I own a .kids.us domain am I liable for content on message boards? Am I liable if my site gets hacked and someone posts links to Yahoo.com?
  • by Erpo (237853) on Thursday December 05, 2002 @11:42PM (#4824128)
    This is an awful idea! It's been asked over and over again: Who decides what is safe for kids? Since there are so many differing opinions on what is ok, it only makes sense to let the parents decide individually.

    Specific metadata needs to be available for content which can then be filtered by policy. There's already a well defined system in place to support this: ICRA (formerly RSACi). A simple tag on each web page (or just the root for the site) tells what content the page or site contains. It can then be left up to parents to set access permissions, like no viewing of nudity except in an artistic context, or no graphic violence.

    Labeling can't be mandated directly, but here's an easy way to make ICRA universal:

    1. Give tax incentives to businesses that use ICRA labels, and make it a crime to misrepresent a site by placing incorrect ICRA labels in pages. There wouldn't be any legal suits (at least any with merit) over page misrepresentation as ICRA tags describe in very concrete terms what a page contains (e.g. full frontal nudity, descriptions of drug use, etc...) rather than value judgements (e.g. kid safe).

    2. Wait until ICRA becomes mainstream, then ship browsers that default to blocking sites that don't rate themselves.

    3. Remove the tax incentives.

    Unlike creating a new .us domain (or tld, I've seen both reported), there are no ongoing costs. After the tax incentives are repealed, web page authors will be forced to rate their pages if they want to be seen.

    I'm not saying anything new here. This has been around for a long time.
  • Few problems. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamroot (319400) on Friday December 06, 2002 @01:40AM (#4824682)
    I'm sure this probably will have been said several time by the time I click submit but:

    While I think that creating a dot kids domain isn't necessarily a bad thing, there may be a few problems.

    The first, and perhaps most obvious problem is classifying something as "kids safe" or "not kids safe". "kids" is a very broad definition. I mean, would you seriously apply the same standards to a 16 year old as you would an 8 year old? Some things (like goatse) are obviously "not kids safe", and some things are obviously "kids safe". Unfortunately, probably 90% of websites are in the grey area.

    It really depends on an individual view-point. Some people [capalert.com] would consider even the most mild things offensive, and some wouldn't. All it takes is one single curse word on some page of a site(more or less), and the site potentially could fall into the grey area between "kids safe" and "not kids safe".

    Sites with some dynamic interactive content(i.e. forums, comment boards, guestbooks, etc...) would be automatically in the grey area, since who knows what could appear there, although they are forbidden by the bill anyway.

    But what will the standards be? Even if they are relatively simple, you run into all sorts of problems. For example, say the only rule is "no porn". Okay, how do you really define porn? Thats a very broad definition. As I said before, some thing are definitely porn, and some are not, but many are in between. Okay, say you make the rule simpler. No nudity. Well, even thats a bit broader, and could have many problems. So you define exactly what is meant by nudity. Well, then you run into the problem that nudity alone is not harmful. You could have pornographic pictures that do not meet the definition of nudity. Okay, so no pictures with nudity or sexual acts/references. By the time you're done with a good definition, you've already excluded most of the websites on the internet. In fact, I can't think of a single website I frequently visit that wouldn't fail a test like that.

    There probably won't be many useful sites there at all.

    Secondly, back to the issue with age groups. Saying absolutely no possibly offensive material is okay for little kids, but what about teenagers. I remember having to do a school report about the Holocaust, and I think many people would consider sites about the Holocaust unsafe for little kids. I also had to do several reports dealing with science/medicine. Even a relatively simple no-nudity rule has problems then. Remember that the WHOLE site has to be "kids safe". Many medical sites have nudity somewhere to some degree.

    Although its not 100% related, I think I should also bring up the idea of creating a .XXX domain. It would probably be a good thing to have one. The problem is if sites are forced to move to .XXX. Now, actual porn sites shouldn't have as much of a problem moving their domains. But what about sites that AREN'T porn sites, yet contain nudity, or even pornography. My site, for example, has a funny picture archive, and I'm sure some of those have nudity, or may be mildly pornographic. However, it is NOT intended as a porn site by any amount.

    Anyways, back to the .kids domain. "So what's the problem?", you might ask, "Its only designed as a domain that parents can let their kids use without being worried.". I wish that would be true. Unfortunately, thats not what will happen. It'll be used as a whitelist for censorware. Schools will then end up only letting kids use the .kids domain. Even libraries may be affected.
    Oh well, at least its not a mandatory .XXX domain.

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