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

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (10/07/1998)


Title I: Protection From Material That Is Harmful to Minors

Title II: Children's Online Privacy Protection

Child Online Protection Act - Title I: Protection From Material That Is Harmful to Minors - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to make it unlawful for anyone who, 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 minors (persons under age 17) and that includes any material that is harmful to minors. Provides additional penalties for each violation. Makes such prohibition inapplicable to telecommunications carriers and other Internet service providers. Makes it an affirmative defense that such person: (1) requires the use of a credit card, debit account, adult access code, or adult personal identification number; (2) accepts a digital certificate that verifies age; or (3) uses other reasonable age verification measures.

Prohibits a person making such a communication from disclosing any information collected for purposes of restricting access to such communication to individuals 17 years of age or older without the prior written consent of: (1) the individual concerned if such individual is an adult; or (2) the individual's parent or guardian, if such individual is under 17 years old. Requires the person making such communication to take necessary actions to prevent unauthorized access to such information. Provides exceptions with respect to disclosure that is: (1) necessary to make the communication or to conduct a legitimate business activity related to making the communication; or (2) made pursuant to a court order authorizing such disclosure.

Requires a provider of interactive computer service, at the time of entering into an agreement with a customer, to notify such customer that parental control protections are commercially available that may assist the customer in limiting access to material that is harmful to minors.

Establishes the Commission on Online Child Protection to study and report to the Congress on methods to help reduce access by minors to Internet material that is harmful to such minors. Terminates the Commission 30 days after its report.

Title II: Children's Online Privacy Protection - Makes it unlawful for an operator of a website or online service directed to children under age 13, 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 regulations prescribed under this title. Protects such operator from liability for disclosures of such information to the child's parent. Directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate regulations implementing such requirements. Outlines conditions under which verifiable parental consent shall not be required.

Allows an operator to satisfy such regulatory requirements by following a set of self-regulatory guidelines issued by representatives of marketing or online industries or other approved individuals. Directs the FTC to provide incentives for such self-regulation. Requires expedited FTC response to requests from operators as to whether their self-regulatory guidelines are sufficient to satisfy the regulatory requirements.

Authorizes the States to enforce such regulations by bringing actions on behalf of residents. Requires the appropriate State attorney general to first notify the FTC of such action. Authorizes the FTC to intervene in any such action.

Provides for enforcement of this Act through the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Directs the FTC to review and report to the Congress on the implementation of this title.