Panel sets out on anti-porn mission

Congress' efforts to shield children from online pornography and other Internet

content repeatedly have been ruled unconstitutional. Therefore, before passing

more laws, the House and Senate appointed a commission to study and give

advice on Internet and legal issues.

The Commission on Online Child Protection held its first meeting Tuesday,

and the panel's first priority was to write a letter asking Congress to

provide it with a budget. Members of the 19-person board said $1 million

to $3 million should be enough for them to hold hearings across the country

and prepare a report for Congress by the end of November.

The commission is instructed by statute to identify technical or other means

to "reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors on the

Internet."

Among items the commission is expected to study are filtering and blocking

software and services; labeling or rating systems; age verification systems;

and resources that are easy for parents to use to limit children's access

to undesirable online content.

The commission also is instructed to study the feasibility of establishing

separate domain names for pornography. It also will consider how blocking

technology would affect law enforcement and privacy.

Commission members elected Don Telage, former senior vice president of Network

Solutions Inc., as chairman. Telage participated in the meeting by phone

from Egypt.

Other commission members include Donna Rice Hughes, a crusader against Internet

pornography; George Vradenburg, senior vice president at America Online;

William Schrader, chief executive officer at PSINet Inc.; and Deirdre Mulligan

a lawyer at the Center for Democracy and Technology.

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