Sunday, February 18, 2007

Teen Second Life at Risk

Deleting Online Predators Act reappears for 2007
Jacqui Cheng

Last year, we reported on the progression of the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) of 2006—a bill that would restrict the use of social networking sites and chat rooms from being used in schools in libraries. That bill ultimately got passed by the US House of Representatives in July with flying colors, but ended up stagnating in the Senate until the session ended and the Democrats took over, much to the relief of many critics. Unfortunately, that wasn't the last we were to hear of of DOPA. A new bill, ambiguously named S.49 for the time being, was introduced to the Senate by Senator Ted "Internet Tubes" Stevens (R-AK) this January that smells strangely of DOPA. In fact, Title II of the newly-proposed bill is not-so-ambiguously titled "Deleting Online Predators Act of 2007."(the rest)

The article from the website ars technica warns that the overly broad definition could block schools and libraries from not just My Space, but Wikipedia, or any website with a forum.
The definition?
(i) is offered by a commercial entity;
(ii) permits registered users to create an on-line profile that includes detailed personal information;
(iii) permits registered users to create an on-line journal and share such a journal with other users;
(iv) elicits highly-personalized information from users; and
(v) enables communication among users.

This would certainly include the Second Life Teen grid, and would threaten the many wonderful programs that have been created there, such as the Global Kids Digital Media Initiative, and the Topeka Shawnee's Oz Island for teens which I have featured in posts here.

Now would be a very good time for librarians who believe in the value of social software to inform themselves and speak up for their programs.

I thank Facebook friends Nancy Picchi and Bill Drew for the alert and the links in this posting.

You can find out about the bill House of Representatives Bill H.R. 1120 by searching Search by Bill Number: HR 1120 or by Sponsor - Kirk, Mark Steven (R-IL-10) The Senate version is S 49.

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