Magazine article American Libraries

House Passes Bill Restricting Social-Networking Sites

Magazine article American Libraries

House Passes Bill Restricting Social-Networking Sites

Article excerpt

Schools and libraries that rely on e-rate funding would be required to prohibit minors from using chat rooms and social-networking sites like MySpace under legislation passed July 26 by the House of Representatives (AL, Aug., p. 10). By a 410-15 vote, legislators passed the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA), H.R. 5319, despite skepticism from some Democrats that the measure was ineffective, the Internet News Bureau reported July 26.

The intent of the bill is to protect children from sexual predators who use the sites to contact and solicit minors. One of DOPA's original sponsors, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), said in the July 27 Cnet online news service that such websites as MySpace and Friendster "have become a haven for online sexual predators who have made these corners of the Web their own virtual hunting ground."

"I don't believe it will adequately address these issues," said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). "It is overly broad, ambiguous, and the e-rate program was not designed to be the cop on the block." Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said during the House debate, "So now we are on the floor with a piece of legislation poorly thought out, with an abundance of surprises, which carries with it that curious smell of partisanship and panic, but which is not going to address the problems. …

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