The Deleting Online Predators Act ammends the Communications Act of 1934 with the following:
Enforcing a policy of Internet safety for minors that includes monitoring the online activities of minors and the operation of a technology protection measure with respect to any of its computers with Internet access that—
- protects against access through such computers to visual depictions that are— obscene; child pornography; or harmful to minors; and
- prohibits access to a commercial social networking website or chat room through which minors— may easily access or be presented with obscene or indecent material; may easily be subject to unlawful sexual advances, unlawful requests for sexual favors, or repeated offensive comments of a sexual nature from adults; or may easily access other material that is harmful to minors;
The term ‘commercial social networking website’ means a commercially operated Internet website that— allows users to create web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users; and offers a mechanism for communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, email, or instant messenger.
The term ‘chat rooms’ means Internet websites through which a number of users can communicate in real time via text and that allow messages to be almost immediately visible to all other users or to a designated segment of all other users.
For starters, it's got too general a definition of sites that should be banned, says Markham Erickson, general council of the Net Coalition, a Washington lobby representing Internet companies. The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) defines the restricted areas as those that allow "users to create Web pages or profiles that provide information about themselves and are available to other users" and offer "a mechanism of communication with other users, such as a forum, chat room, e-mail, or instant messenger."
That could rule out content from any number of Internet companies, including Yahoo! and Google. What's more, DOPA would prohibit sites that enable users to create their own content and share it. That covers a wide swath of the online world, known colloquially as Web 2.0, where users actively create everything from blogs to videos to news-page collections.
Comments from the Huffington Post say:
This is like passing a law to forbid cities from having alleys because muggings, rapes and drug deals happen in them.