Text: H.R.3783 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in House (10/07/1998)

 
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3783 Engrossed in House (EH)]


  2d Session

                               H. R. 3783

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT

  To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require persons who are 
  engaged in the business of distributing, by means of the World Wide 
  Web, material that is harmful to minors to restrict access to such 
              material by minors, and for other purposes.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
105th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 3783

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
  To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require persons who are 
  engaged in the business of distributing, by means of the World Wide 
  Web, material that is harmful to minors to restrict access to such 
              material by minors, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Child Online Protection Act''.

      TITLE I--PROTECTION FROM MATERIAL THAT IS HARMFUL TO MINORS

SEC. 101. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--
            (1) while custody, care, and nurture of the child resides 
        first with the parent, the widespread availability of the 
        Internet presents opportunities for minors to access materials 
        through the World Wide Web in a manner that can frustrate 
        parental supervision or control;
            (2) the protection of the physical and psychological well-
        being of minors by shielding them from materials that are 
        harmful to them is a compelling governmental interest;
            (3) to date, while the industry has developed innovative 
        ways to help parents and educators restrict material that is 
        harmful to minors through parental control protections and 
        self-regulation, such efforts have not provided a national 
        solution to the problem of minors accessing harmful material on 
        the World Wide Web;
            (4) a prohibition on the distribution of material harmful 
        to minors, combined with legitimate defenses, is currently the 
        most effective and least restrictive means by which to satisfy 
        the compelling government interest; and
            (5) notwithstanding the existence of protections that limit 
        the distribution over the World Wide Web of material that is 
        harmful to minors, parents, educators, and industry must 
        continue efforts to find ways to protect children from being 
        exposed to harmful material found on the Internet.

SEC. 102. REQUIREMENT TO RESTRICT ACCESS BY MINORS TO MATERIALS 
              COMMERCIALLY DISTRIBUTED BY MEANS OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB 
              THAT ARE HARMFUL TO MINORS.

    Part I of title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 201 
et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``SEC. 231. RESTRICTION OF ACCESS BY MINORS TO MATERIALS COMMERCIALLY 
              DISTRIBUTED BY MEANS OF WORLD WIDE WEB THAT ARE HARMFUL 
              TO MINORS.

    ``(a) Requirement To Restrict Access.--
            ``(1) Prohibited conduct.--Whoever knowingly and with 
        knowledge of the character of the material, in interstate or 
        foreign commerce by means of the World Wide Web, makes any 
        communication for commercial purposes that is available to any 
        minor and that includes any material that is harmful to minors 
        shall be fined not more than $50,000, imprisoned not more than 
        6 months, or both.
            ``(2) Intentional violations.--In addition to the penalties 
        under paragraph (1), whoever intentionally violates such 
        paragraph shall be subject to a fine of not more than $50,000 
        for each violation. For purposes of this paragraph, each day of 
        violation shall constitute a separate violation.
            ``(3) Civil penalty.--In addition to the penalties under 
        paragraphs (1) and (2), whoever violates paragraph (1) shall be 
        subject to a civil penalty of not more than $50,000 for each 
        violation. For purposes of this paragraph, each day of 
        violation shall constitute a separate violation.
    ``(b) Inapplicability of Carriers and Other Service Providers.--For 
purposes of subsection (a), a person shall not be considered to make 
any communication for commercial purposes to the extent that such 
person is--
            ``(1) a telecommunications carrier engaged in the provision 
        of a telecommunications service;
            ``(2) a person engaged in the business of providing an 
        Internet access service;
            ``(3) a person engaged in the business of providing an 
        Internet information location tool; or
            ``(4) similarly engaged in the transmission, storage, 
        retrieval, hosting, formatting, or translation (or any 
        combination thereof) of a communication made by another person, 
        without selection or alteration of the content of the 
        communication, except that such person's deletion of a 
        particular communication or material made by another person in 
        a manner consistent with subsection (c) or section 230 shall 
        not constitute such selection or alteration of the content of 
        the communication.
    ``(c) Affirmative Defense.--
            ``(1) Defense.--It is an affirmative defense to prosecution 
        under this section that the defendant, in good faith, has 
        restricted access by minors to material that is harmful to 
        minors--
                    ``(A) by requiring use of a credit card, debit 
                account, adult access code, or adult personal 
                identification number;
                    ``(B) by accepting a digital certificate that 
                verifies age; or
                    ``(C) by any other reasonable measures that are 
                feasible under available technology.
            ``(2) Protection for use of defenses.--No cause of action 
        may be brought in any court or administrative agency against 
        any person on account of any activity that is not in violation 
        of any law punishable by criminal or civil penalty, and that 
        the person has taken in good faith to implement a defense 
        authorized under this subsection or otherwise to restrict or 
        prevent the transmission of, or access to, a communication 
        specified in this section.
    ``(d) Privacy Protection Requirements.--
            ``(1) Disclosure of information limited.--A person making a 
        communication described in subsection (a)--
                    ``(A) shall not disclose any information collected 
                for the purposes of restricting access to such 
                communications to individuals 17 years of age or older 
                without the prior written or electronic consent of--
                            ``(i) the individual concerned, if the 
                        individual is an adult; or
                            ``(ii) the individual's parent or guardian, 
                        if the individual is under 17 years of age; and
                    ``(B) shall take such actions as are necessary to 
                prevent unauthorized access to such information by a 
                person other than the person making such communication 
                and the recipient of such communication.
            ``(2) Exceptions.--A person making a communication 
        described in subsection (a) may disclose such information if 
        the disclosure is--
                    ``(A) necessary to make the communication or 
                conduct a legitimate business activity related to 
                making the communication; or
                    ``(B) made pursuant to a court order authorizing 
                such disclosure.
    ``(e) Definitions.--For purposes of this subsection, the following 
definitions shall apply:
            ``(1) By means of the world wide web.--The term `by means 
        of the World Wide Web' means by placement of material in a 
        computer server-based file archive so that it is publicly 
        accessible, over the Internet, using hypertext transfer 
        protocol or any successor protocol.
            ``(2) Commercial purposes; engaged in the business.--
                    ``(A) Commercial purposes.--A person shall be 
                considered to make a communication for commercial 
                purposes only if such person is engaged in the business 
                of making such communications.
                    ``(B) Engaged in the business.--The term `engaged 
                in the business' means that the person who makes a 
                communication, or offers to make a communication, by 
                means of the World Wide Web, that includes any material 
                that is harmful to minors, devotes time, attention, or 
                labor to such activities, as a regular course of such 
                person's trade or business, with the objective of 
                earning a profit as a result of such activities 
                (although it is not necessary that the person make a 
                profit or that the making or offering to make such 
                communications be the person's sole or principal 
                business or source of income). A person may be 
                considered to be engaged in the business of making, by 
                means of the World Wide Web, communications for 
                commercial purposes that include material that is 
                harmful to minors, only if the person knowingly causes 
                the material that is harmful to minors to be posted on 
                the World Wide Web or knowingly solicits such material 
                to be posted on the World Wide Web.
            ``(3) Internet.--The term `Internet' means the combination 
        of computer facilities and electromagnetic transmission media, 
        and related equipment and software, comprising the 
        interconnected worldwide network of computer networks that 
        employ the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or 
        any successor protocol to transmit information.
            ``(4) Internet access service.--The term `Internet access 
        service' means a service that enables users to access content, 
        information, electronic mail, or other services offered over 
        the Internet, and may also include access to proprietary 
        content, information, and other services as part of a package 
        of services offered to consumers. Such term does not include 
        telecommunications services.
            ``(5) Internet information location tool.--The term 
        `Internet information location tool' means a service that 
        refers or links users to an online location on the World Wide 
        Web. Such term includes directories, indices, references, 
        pointers, and hypertext links.
            ``(6) Material that is harmful to minors.--The term 
        `material that is harmful to minors' means any communication, 
        picture, image, graphic image file, article, recording, 
        writing, or other matter of any kind that is obscene or that--
                    ``(A) the average person, applying contemporary 
                community standards, would find, taking the material as 
                a whole and with respect to minors, is designed to 
                appeal to, or is designed to pander to, the prurient 
                interest;
                    ``(B) depicts, describes, or represents, in a 
                manner patently offensive with respect to minors, an 
                actual or simulated sexual act or sexual contact, an 
                actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual act, or 
                a lewd exhibition of the genitals or post-pubescent 
                female breast; and
                    ``(C) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, 
                artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
            ``(7) Minor.--The term `minor' means any person under 17 
        years of age.''.

SEC. 103. NOTICE REQUIREMENT.

    (a) Notice.--Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 
U.S.C. 230) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (d)(1), by inserting ``or 231'' after 
        ``section 223'';
            (2) by redesignating subsections (d) and (e) as subsections 
        (e) and (f), respectively; and
            (3) by inserting after subsection (c) the following new 
        subsection:
    ``(d) Obligations of Interactive Computer Service.--A provider of 
interactive computer service shall, at the time of entering an 
agreement with a customer for the provision of interactive computer 
service and in a manner deemed appropriate by the provider, notify such 
customer that parental control protections (such as computer hardware, 
software, or filtering services) are commercially available that may 
assist the customer in limiting access to material that is harmful to 
minors. Such notice shall identify, or provide the customer with access 
to information identifying, current providers of such protections.''.
    (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 223(h)(2) of the Communications 
Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 223(h)(2)) is amended by striking ``230(e)(2)'' 
and inserting ``230(f)(2)''.

SEC. 104. STUDY BY COMMISSION ON ONLINE CHILD PROTECTION.

    (a) Establishment.--There is hereby established a temporary 
Commission to be known as the Commission on Online Child Protection (in 
this section referred to as the ``Commission'') for the purpose of 
conducting a study under this section regarding methods to help reduce 
access by minors to material that is harmful to minors on the Internet.
    (b) Membership.--The Commission shall be composed of 19 members, as 
follows:
            (1) Industry members.--The Commission shall include--
                    (A) 2 members who are engaged in the business of 
                providing Internet filtering or blocking services or 
                software;
                    (B) 2 members who are engaged in the business of 
                providing Internet access services;
                    (C) 2 members who are engaged in the business of 
                providing labeling or ratings services;
                    (D) 2 members who are engaged in the business of 
                providing Internet portal or search services;
                    (E) 2 members who are engaged in the business of 
                providing domain name registration services;
                    (F) 2 members who are academic experts in the field 
                of technology; and
                    (G) 4 members who are engaged in the business of 
                making content available over the Internet.
        Of the members of the Commission by reason of each subparagraph 
        of this paragraph, an equal number shall be appointed by the 
        Speaker of the House of Representatives and by the Majority 
        Leader of the Senate.
            (2) Ex officio members.--The Commission shall include the 
        following officials:
                    (A) The Assistant Secretary (or the Assistant 
                Secretary's designee).
                    (B) The Attorney General (or the Attorney General's 
                designee).
                    (C) The Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission 
                (or the Chairman's designee).
    (c) Study.--
            (1) In general.--The Commission shall conduct a study to 
        identify technological or other methods that--
                    (A) will help reduce access by minors to material 
                that is harmful to minors on the Internet; and
                    (B) may meet the requirements for use as 
                affirmative defenses for purposes of section 231(c) of 
                the Communications Act of 1934 (as added by this Act).
        Any methods so identified shall be used as the basis for making 
        legislative recommendations to the Congress under subsection 
        (d)(3).
            (2) Specific methods.--In carrying out the study, the 
        Commission shall identify and analyze various technological 
        tools and methods for protecting minors from material that is 
        harmful to minors, which shall include (without limitation)--
                    (A) a common resource for parents to use to help 
                protect minors (such as a ``one-click-away'' resource);
                    (B) filtering or blocking software or services;
                    (C) labeling or rating systems;
                    (D) age verification systems;
                    (E) the establishment of a domain name for posting 
                of any material that is harmful to minors; and
                    (F) any other existing or proposed technologies or 
                methods for reducing access by minors to such material.
            (3) Analysis.--In analyzing technologies and other methods 
        identified pursuant to paragraph (2), the Commission shall 
        examine--
                    (A) the cost of such technologies and methods;
                    (B) the effects of such technologies and methods on 
                law enforcement entities;
                    (C) the effects of such technologies and methods on 
                privacy;
                    (D) the extent to which material that is harmful to 
                minors is globally distributed and the effect of such 
                technologies and methods on such distribution;
                    (E) the accessibility of such technologies and 
                methods to parents; and
                    (F) such other factors and issues as the Commission 
                considers relevant and appropriate.
    (d) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the enactment of this Act, 
the Commission shall submit a report to the Congress containing the 
results of the study under this section, which shall include--
            (1) a description of the technologies and methods 
        identified by the study and the results of the analysis of each 
        such technology and method;
            (2) the conclusions and recommendations of the Commission 
        regarding each such technology or method;
            (3) recommendations for legislative or administrative 
        actions to implement the conclusions of the committee; and
            (4) a description of the technologies or methods identified 
        by the study that may meet the requirements for use as 
        affirmative defenses for purposes of section 231(c) of the 
        Communications Act of 1934 (as added by this Act).
    (e) Staff and Resources.--The Assistant Secretary for Communication 
and Information of the Department of Commerce shall provide to the 
Commission such staff and resources as the Assistant Secretary 
determines necessary for the Commission to perform its duty efficiently 
and in accordance with this section.
    (f) Termination.--The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the 
submission of the report under subsection (d).
    (g) Inapplicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act.--The Federal 
Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the 
Commission.

SEC. 105. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This title and the amendments made by this title shall take effect 
30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

             TITLE II--CHILDREN'S ONLINE PRIVACY PROTECTION

SEC. 201. DEFINITIONS.

    In this title:
            (1) Child.--The term ``child'' means an individual under 
        the age of 13.
            (2) Operator.--The term ``operator'' means any person 
        operating a website on the World Wide Web or any online service 
        for commercial purposes, including any person offering products 
        or services for sale through that website or online service, 
        involving commerce--
                    (A) among the several States or with 1 or more 
                foreign nations;
                    (B) in any territory of the United States or in the 
                District of Columbia, or between any such territory 
                and--
                            (i) another such territory; or
                            (ii) any State or foreign nation; or
                    (C) between the District of Columbia and any State, 
                territory, or foreign nation.
        For purposes of this title, the term ``operator'' does not 
        include any non-profit entity that would otherwise be exempt 
        from coverage under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission 
        Act (15 U.S.C. 45).
            (3) Commission.--The term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
        Trade Commission.
            (4) Disclosure.--The term ``disclosure'' means, with 
        respect to personal information--
                    (A) the release of personal information collected 
                from a child in identifiable form by an operator for 
                any purpose, except where such information is provided 
                to a person other than the operator who provides 
                support for the internal operations of the website and 
                does not disclose or use that information for any other 
                purpose; and
                    (B) making personal information collected from a 
                child by a website or online service directed to 
                children or with actual knowledge that such information 
                was collected from a child, publicly available in 
                identifiable form, by any means including by a public 
                posting, through the Internet, or through--
                            (i) a home page of a website;
                            (ii) a pen pal service;
                            (iii) an electronic mail service;
                            (iv) a message board; or
                            (v) a chat room.
            (5) Federal agency.--The term ``Federal agency'' means an 
        agency, as that term is defined in section 551(1) of title 5, 
        United States Code.
            (6) Internet.--The term ``Internet'' means collectively the 
        myriad of computer and telecommunications facilities, including 
        equipment and operating software, which comprise the 
        interconnected world-wide network of networks that employ the 
        Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or any 
        predecessor or successor protocols to such protocol, to 
        communicate information of all kinds by wire or radio.
            (7) Parent.--The term ``parent'' includes a legal guardian.
            (8) Personal information.--The term ``personal 
        information'' means individually identifiable information about 
        an individual collected online, including--
                    (A) a first and last name;
                    (B) a home or other physical address including 
                street name and name of a city or town;
                    (C) an e-mail address;
                    (D) a telephone number;
                    (E) a Social Security number;
                    (F) any other identifier that the Commission 
                determines permits the physical or online contacting of 
                a specific individual; or
                    (G) information concerning the child or the parents 
                of that child that the website collects online from the 
                child and combines with an identifier described in this 
                paragraph.
            (9) Verifiable parental consent.--The term ``verifiable 
        parental consent'' means any reasonable effort (taking into 
        consideration available technology), including a request for 
        authorization for future collection, use, and disclosure 
        described in the notice, to ensure that a parent of a child 
        receives notice of the operator's personal information 
        collection, use, and disclosure practices, and authorizes the 
        collection, use, and disclosure, as applicable, of personal 
        information and the subsequent use of that information before 
        that information is collected from that child.
            (10) Website or online service directed to children.--
                    (A) In general.--The term ``website or online 
                service directed to children'' means --
                            (i) a commercial website or online service 
                        that is targeted to children; or
                            (ii) that portion of a commercial website 
                        or online service that is targeted to children.
                    (B) Limitation.--A commercial website or online 
                service, or a portion of a commercial website or online 
                service, shall not be deemed directed to children 
                solely for referring or linking to a commercial website 
                or online service directed to children by using 
                information location tools, including a directory, 
                index, reference, pointer, or hypertext link.
            (11) Person.--The term ``person'' means any individual, 
        partnership, corporation, trust, estate, cooperative, 
        association, or other entity.
            (12) Online contact information.--The term ``online contact 
        information'' means an e-mail address or another substantially 
        similar identifier that permits direct contact with a person 
        online.

SEC. 202. REGULATION OF UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE ACTS AND PRACTICES IN 
              CONNECTION WITH THE COLLECTION AND USE OF PERSONAL 
              INFORMATION FROM AND ABOUT CHILDREN ON THE INTERNET.

    (a) Acts Prohibited.--
            (1) In general.--It is unlawful for an operator of a 
        website or online service directed to children, or any operator 
        that has actual knowledge that it is collecting personal 
        information from a child, to collect personal information from 
        a child in a manner that violates the regulations prescribed 
        under subsection (b).
            (2) Disclosure to parent protected.--Notwithstanding 
        paragraph (1), neither an operator of such a website or online 
        service nor the operator's agent shall be held to be liable 
        under any Federal or State law for any disclosure made in good 
        faith and following reasonable procedures in responding to a 
        request for disclosure of personal information under subsection 
        (b)(1)(B)(iii) to the parent of a child.
    (b) Regulations.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
        the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall promulgate 
        under section 553 of title 5, United States Code, regulations 
        that--
                    (A) require the operator of any website or online 
                service directed to children that collects personal 
                information from children or the operator of a website 
                or online service that has actual knowledge that it is 
                collecting personal information from a child--
                            (i) to provide notice on the website of 
                        what information is collected from children by 
                        the operator, how the operator uses such 
                        information, and the operator's disclosure 
                        practices for such information; and
                            (ii) to obtain verifiable parental consent 
                        for the collection, use, or disclosure of 
                        personal information from children;
                    (B) require the operator to provide, upon request 
                of a parent whose child has provided personal 
                information to that website or online service--
                            (i) a description of the specific types of 
                        personal information collected from the child 
                        by that operator;
                            (ii) notwithstanding any other provision of 
                        law, the opportunity at any time to refuse to 
                        permit the operator's further use or 
                        maintenance in retrievable form, or future 
                        online collection, of personal information on 
                        that child; and
                            (iii) a means that is reasonable under the 
                        circumstances for the parent to obtain any 
                        personal information collected from that child;
                    (C) prohibit conditioning a child's participation 
                in a game, the offering of a prize, or another activity 
                on the child disclosing more personal information than 
                is reasonably necessary to participate in such 
                activity;
                    (D) require the operator of such a website or 
                online service to establish and maintain reasonable 
                procedures to protect the confidentiality, security, 
                and integrity of personal information collected from 
                children; and
                    (E) permit the operator of such a website or online 
                service to collect, use, and disseminate such 
                information as is necessary--
                            (i) to protect the security or integrity of 
                        its website;
                            (ii) to take precautions against liability;
                            (iii) to respond to judicial process; and
                            (iv) to provide information to law 
                        enforcement agencies or for an investigation on 
                        a matter related to public safety.
            (2) When consent not required.--Verifiable parental consent 
        under paragraph (1)(A)(ii) is not required in the case of--
                    (A) online contact information collected from a 
                child that is used only to respond directly on a one-
                time basis to a specific request from the child and is 
                not used to recontact the child and is not maintained 
                in retrievable form by the operator;
                    (B) a request for the name or online contact 
                information of a parent or child that is used for the 
                sole purpose of obtaining parental consent or providing 
                notice under this section and where such information is 
                not maintained in retrievable form by the operator if 
                parental consent is not obtained after a reasonable 
                time;
                    (C) online contact information collected from a 
                child that is used only to respond more than once 
                directly to a specific request from the child and is 
                not used to recontact the child beyond the scope of 
                that request--
                            (i) if, before any additional response 
                        after the initial response to the child, the 
                        operator uses reasonable efforts to provide a 
                        parent notice of the online contact information 
                        collected from the child, the purposes for 
                        which it is to be used, and an opportunity for 
                        the parent to request that the operator make no 
                        further use of the information and that it not 
                        be maintained in retrievable form; or
                            (ii) without notice to the parent in such 
                        circumstances as the Commission may determine 
                        are appropriate, taking into consideration the 
                        benefits to the child of access to information 
                        and services, and risks to the security and 
                        privacy of the child, in regulations 
                        promulgated under this subsection; or
                    (D) the name of the child and online contact 
                information (to the extent necessary to protect the 
                safety of a child participant in the site)--
                            (i) used only for the purpose of protecting 
                        such safety;
                            (ii) not used to recontact the child or for 
                        any other purpose; and
                            (iii) not disclosed on the site,
                if the operator uses reasonable efforts to provide a 
                parent notice of the name and online contact 
                information collected from the child, the purposes for 
                which it is to be used, and an opportunity for the 
                parent to request that the operator make no further use 
                of the information and that it not be maintained in 
                retrievable form.
    (c) Enforcement.--Subject to sections 203 and 205, a violation of a 
regulation prescribed under subsection (a) shall be treated as a 
violation of a rule defining an unfair or deceptive act or practice 
prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission 
Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)).
    (d) Inconsistent State Law.--No State or local government may 
impose any liability for commercial activities or actions by operators 
in interstate or foreign commerce in connection with an activity or 
action described in this title that is inconsistent with the treatment 
of those activities or actions under this section.

SEC. 203. SAFE HARBORS.

    (a) Guidelines.--An operator may satisfy the requirements of 
regulations issued under section 202(b) by following a set of self-
regulatory guidelines, issued by representatives of the marketing or 
online industries, or by other persons, approved under subsection (b).
    (b) Incentives.--
            (1) Self-regulatory incentives.--In prescribing regulations 
        under section 202, the Commission shall provide incentives for 
        self-regulation by operators to implement the protections 
        afforded children under the regulatory requirements described 
        in subsection (b) of that section.
            (2) Deemed compliance.--Such incentives shall include 
        provisions for ensuring that a person will be deemed to be in 
        compliance with the requirements of the regulations under 
        section 202 if that person complies with guidelines that, after 
        notice and comment, are approved by the Commission upon making 
        a determination that the guidelines meet the requirements of 
        the regulations issued under section 202.
            (3) Expedited response to requests.--The Commission shall 
        act upon requests for safe harbor treatment within 180 days of 
        the filing of the request, and shall set forth in writing its 
        conclusions with regard to such requests.
    (c) Appeals.--Final action by the Commission on a request for 
approval of guidelines, or the failure to act within 180 days on a 
request for approval of guidelines, submitted under subsection (b) may 
be appealed to a district court of the United States of appropriate 
jurisdiction as provided for in section 706 of title 5, United States 
Code.

SEC. 204. ACTIONS BY STATES.

    (a) In General.--
            (1) Civil actions.--In any case in which the attorney 
        general of a State has reason to believe that an interest of 
        the residents of that State has been or is threatened or 
        adversely affected by the engagement of any person in a 
        practice that violates any regulation of the Commission 
        prescribed under section 202(b), the State, as parens patriae, 
        may bring a civil action on behalf of the residents of the 
        State in a district court of the United States of appropriate 
        jurisdiction to--
                    (A) enjoin that practice;
                    (B) enforce compliance with the regulation;
                    (C) obtain damage, restitution, or other 
                compensation on behalf of residents of the State; or
                    (D) obtain such other relief as the court may 
                consider to be appropriate.
            (2) Notice.--
                    (A) In general.--Before filing an action under 
                paragraph (1), the attorney general of the State 
                involved shall provide to the Commission--
                            (i) written notice of that action; and
                            (ii) a copy of the complaint for that 
                        action.
                    (B) Exemption.--
                            (i) In general.--Subparagraph (A) shall not 
                        apply with respect to the filing of an action 
                        by an attorney general of a State under this 
                        subsection, if the attorney general determines 
                        that it is not feasible to provide the notice 
                        described in that subparagraph before the 
                        filing of the action.
                            (ii) Notification.--In an action described 
                        in clause (i), the attorney general of a State 
                        shall provide notice and a copy of the 
                        complaint to the Commission at the same time as 
                        the attorney general files the action.
    (b) Intervention.--
            (1) In general.--On receiving notice under subsection 
        (a)(2), the Commission shall have the right to intervene in the 
        action that is the subject of the notice.
            (2) Effect of intervention.--If the Commission intervenes 
        in an action under subsection(a), it shall have the right--
                    (A) to be heard with respect to any matter that 
                arises in that action; and
                    (B) to file a petition for appeal.
            (3) Amicus curiae.--Upon application to the court, a person 
        whose self-regulatory guidelines have been approved by the 
        Commission and are relied upon as a defense by any defendant to 
        a proceeding under this section may file amicus curiae in that 
        proceeding.
    (c) Construction.--For purposes of bringing any civil action under 
subsection (a), nothing in this title shall be construed to prevent an 
attorney general of a State from exercising the powers conferred on the 
attorney general by the laws of that State to--
            (1) conduct investigations;
            (2) administer oaths or affirmations; or
            (3) compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of 
        documentary and other evidence.
    (d) Actions by the Commission.--In any case in which an action is 
instituted by or on behalf of the Commission for violation of any 
regulation prescribed under section 202, no State may, during the 
pendency of that action, institute an action under subsection (a) 
against any defendant named in the complaint in that action for 
violation of that regulation.
    (e) Venue; Service of Process.--
            (1) Venue.--Any action brought under subsection (a) may be 
        brought in the district court of the United States that meets 
        applicable requirements relating to venue under section 1391 of 
        title 28, United States Code.
            (2) Service of process.--In an action brought under 
        subsection (a), process may be served in any district in which 
        the defendant--
                    (A) is an inhabitant; or
                    (B) may be found.

SEC. 205. ADMINISTRATION AND APPLICABILITY OF ACT.

    (a) In General.--Except as otherwise provided, this title shall be 
enforced by the Commission under the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 
U.S.C. 41 et seq.).
    (b) Provisions.--Compliance with the requirements imposed under 
this title shall be enforced under--
            (1) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 
        U.S.C. 1818), in the case of--
                    (A) national banks, and Federal branches and 
                Federal agencies of foreign banks, by the Office of the 
                Comptroller of the Currency;
                    (B) member banks of the Federal Reserve System 
                (other than national banks), branches and agencies of 
                foreign banks (other than Federal branches, Federal 
                agencies, and insured State branches of foreign banks), 
                commercial lending companies owned or controlled by 
                foreign banks, and organizations operating under 
                section 25 or 25(a) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 
                U.S.C. 601 et seq. and 611 et. seq.), by the Board; and
                    (C) banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance 
                Corporation (other than members of the Federal Reserve 
                System) and insured State branches of foreign banks, by 
                the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance 
                Corporation;
            (2) section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 
        U.S.C. 1818), by the Director of the Office of Thrift 
        Supervision, in the case of a savings association the deposits 
        of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance 
        Corporation;
            (3) the Federal Credit Union Act (12 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) 
        by the National Credit Union Administration Board with respect 
        to any Federal credit union;
            (4) part A of subtitle VII of title 49, United States Code, 
        by the Secretary of Transportation with respect to any air 
        carrier or foreign air carrier subject to that part;
            (5) the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921 (7 U.S.C. 181 et. 
        seq.) (except as provided in section 406 of that Act (7 U.S.C. 
        226, 227)), by the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to any 
        activities subject to that Act; and
            (6) the Farm Credit Act of 1971 (12 U.S.C. (2001 et seq.) 
        by the Farm Credit Administration with respect to any Federal 
        land bank, Federal land bank association, Federal intermediate 
        credit bank, or production credit association.
    (c) Exercise of Certain Powers.--For the purpose of the exercise by 
any agency referred to in subsection (a) of its powers under any Act 
referred to in that subsection, a violation of any requirement imposed 
under this title shall be deemed to be a violation of a requirement 
imposed under that Act. In addition to its powers under any provision 
of law specifically referred to in subsection (a), each of the agencies 
referred to in that subsection may exercise, for the purpose of 
enforcing compliance with any requirement imposed under this title, any 
other authority conferred on it by law.
    (d) Actions by the Commission.--The Commission shall prevent any 
person from violating a rule of the Commission under section 202 in the 
same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, 
and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal 
Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and 
made a part of this title. Any entity that violates such rule shall be 
subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities 
provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act in the same manner, by the 
same means, and with the same jurisdiction, power, and duties as though 
all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act 
were incorporated into and made a part of this title.
    (e) Effect on Other Laws.--Nothing contained in this title shall be 
construed to limit the authority of the Commission under any other 
provisions of law.

SEC. 206. REVIEW.

    Not later than 5 years after the effective date of the regulations 
initially issued under section 202, the Commission shall--
            (1) review the implementation of this title, including the 
        effect of the implementation of this title on practices 
        relating to the collection and disclosure of information 
        relating to children, children's ability to obtain access to 
        information of their choice online, and on the availability of 
        websites directed to children; and
            (2) prepare and submit to Congress a report on the results 
        of the review under paragraph (1).

SEC. 207. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    Sections 202(a), 204, and 205 of this title take effect on the 
later of--
            (1) the date that is 18 months after the date of enactment 
        of this Act; or
            (2) the date on which the Commission rules on the first 
        application for safe harbor treatment under section 203 if the 
        Commission does not rule on the first such application within 
        one year after the date of enactment of this Act, but in no 
        case later than the date that is 30 months after the date of 
        enactment of this Act.

            Passed the House of Representatives October 7, 1998.

            Attest:

                                                                 Clerk.

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