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Social Network Sites Face US Ban
Sunday, January 1, 2006
A bill introduced by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) that aims to restrict social networking Web sites in schools and libraries passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 410-15. The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) would require organizations that receive funds under the federal E-Rate program to install Internet filters that would block access to sites such as Facebook and MySpace. The FCC would be responsible for defining what sites would be covered by the law.According to the American Library Association (ALA), about two-thirds of U.S. libraries would be subject to the law. Supporters of the legislation said that children who use such Web sites become targets of sexual predators. Opponents of the law said it is overly broad and would prevent computer users from accessing a number of unrelated sites, such as Amazon, blogs, wikis, and even news sites. Leslie Burger, president of the ALA, said, "DOPA is redundant and unnecessary legislation," noting that the Children's Internet Protection Act already requires institutions to block Web content considered harmful to children. The bill now goes to the Senate.