It seems I was a little premature in writing an obituary for the Delete Online Predators Act (DOPA). Senator Ted "the Internet's a bunch of tubes" Stevens has introduced a new bill, much of which, as Andy Carvin reports, has a rather DOPA-esque ring to it.
The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act contains three sections: Protecting Children, Deleting Online Predators and Children’s Listbroker Privacy. So it's basically DOPA with extensions to cover child pornography, cyber-bullying and children’s privacy. Many of the bill's intentions seem noble and are, arguably, needed (such as protecting privacy). However, as with DOPA, the problem with the new act is that it would essentially ban the use of social software in schools and libraries which receive federal funding. And once again, the definition of social software goes well beyond MySpace and the like, to include any site which:
- is offered by a commercial entity
- permits registered users to create an on-line profile that includes detailed personal information
- permits registered users to create an on-line journal and share such a journal with other users
- elicits highly-personalized information from users; and enables communication among users
So no access to blogs, discussion groups, social networks, or any part of the social web. If you're not familiar with how these tools are being used by educators, then see my guest post for Read/WriteWeb titled "e-learning 2.0 - how Web technologies are shaping education