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110th Congress 
 2d Session                      SENATE                          Report
                                                                110-268
_______________________________________________________________________

                                     

                                                       Calendar No. 588

                     CHILD SAFE VIEWING ACT OF 2007

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 602



                                     

                 March 3, 2008.--Ordered to be printed
       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                       one hundred tenth congress
                             second session

                   DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii, Chairman
                   TED STEVENS, Alaska, Vice-Chairman
JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West         JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
    Virginia                         KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota        GORDON H. SMITH, Oregon
BARBARA BOXER, California            JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey      DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
THOMAS CARPER, Delaware              ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota
          Margaret Cummisky, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
         Lila Helms, Deputy Staff Director and Policy Director
               Jean Toal Eisen, Senior Professional Staff
     Christine Kurth, Republican Staff Director and General Counsel
                Paul J. Nagle, Republican Chief Counsel
             Mimi Braniff, Republican Deputy Chief Counsel


                                                       Calendar No. 588
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     110-268

======================================================================



 
                     CHILD SAFE VIEWING ACT OF 2007

                                _______
                                

                 March 3, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

       Mr. Inouye, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                         [To accompany S. 602]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 602) to develop the next 
generation of parental control technology, having considered 
the same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment (in the 
nature of a substitute) and recommends that the bill (as 
amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  The purpose of S. 602 is to require the Federal 
Communications Commission (FCC) to begin a notice of inquiry 
within 90 days of enactment to examine the existence and 
availability of advanced blocking technologies that parents 
could use across a variety of communications devices or 
platforms to protect their children from inappropriate content.

                          Background and Needs

  Section 551 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, also known 
as the Parental Choice in Television Programming Act, directs 
the FCC to adopt rules that require certain televisions or 
devices capable of receiving television signals to ``be 
equipped with a feature designed to enable viewers to block 
display of all programs with a common rating . . . .'' 
Following the adoption of this provision, the broadcast, cable, 
and movie industries jointly created a voluntary system for 
rating television content, often referred to as the TV Parental 
Guidelines. These guidelines were then recognized by the FCC as 
meeting the requirements of section 551 and incorporated into 
rules mandating the adoption of V-Chip technology in certain 
televisions and devices capable of receiving television 
signals.
  Subsequent to the FCC's approval of the ratings, a study 
conducted in 2000 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center 
provided 110 families with television sets with V-Chips. 
Roughly half were given special training on how to program the 
V-Chip as well as detailed information about the meaning of 
television ratings, while the other half received no special 
training in how to use the V-Chip. After one year, the 
Annenberg study found that only 8 percent of these families had 
the V-Chip programmed and were actively using it. Only 6 
percent of families could name one of the ratings for 
children's programs and only 4 percent of families could 
identify that a ``D'' content rating identified suggestive 
dialogue.
  Similarly, a 2001 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) 
estimated that only 7 percent of parents have used the V-Chip, 
despite the fact that 40 percent of American families had at 
least one V-Chip-enabled television. There has been only a 
modest improvement in these usage figures over time. In 2004, 
the KFF found that 15 percent of parents have used the V-Chip. 
In 2007, the KFF found that 16 percent of parents say they have 
used the V-Chip to block objectionable programming. Although 82 
percent of parents now say that they have purchased a new 
television since January 1, 2000, more than half (57 percent) 
are not aware that they have a V-Chip.
  In 2004, the FCC received a request from thirty-nine members 
of the House of Representatives asking that the agency 
undertake an inquiry on television violence. In response, the 
FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry, seeking public input on a 
variety of matters related to the issue of violent television 
content. The FCC received hundreds of filings from interested 
parties and individuals. On April 25, 2007, the FCC released 
its report on violent programming and its impact on children. 
In the report, the FCC found that, on balance, research 
provides strong evidence that exposure to violence in the media 
can increase aggressive behavior in children, at least in the 
short term.
  Section 551(e) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (47 
U.S.C. 330(c)), also requires the FCC to ensure that blocking 
capability continues to be available to consumers as technology 
advances. Specifically, that section requires the FCC to ``take 
such action as the Commission determines appropriate'' to 
assess alternative program blocking technologies and to expand 
the V-Chip requirement, if necessary, to facilitate the use of 
alternative technologies that may not rely on common ratings. 
Since that time, however, the FCC has taken no significant 
action to consider the viability or availability of alternative 
blocking technologies that could be used by parents to shield 
children from inappropriate content. In that regard, S. 602 
would require the Commission to gather information about the 
availability of ``alternative blocking technologies'' and to 
consider measures, other than proposals affecting the price or 
packaging of content, to encourage the development, deployment, 
and use of such technology. In recognition of the fact that 
television content is currently being made available over the 
Internet and over mobile devices, the legislation also requires 
the FCC to consider alternative blocking technologies that may 
be appropriate across a wide variety of content distribution 
platforms.

                          Legislative History

  On February 15, 2007, Senator Pryor introduced S. 602, a bill 
to develop the next generation of parental control technology. 
The bill was cosponsored by Senators Dorgan, Kohl, Johnson, and 
Menendez. On June 26, 2007, the Senate Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation held a hearing entitled the Impact 
of Media Violence on Children, which reviewed the effectiveness 
of efforts by the Congress, FCC, and industry to limit 
children's exposure to violent images on cable and broadcast 
television.
  On August 2, 2007, the Committee held an executive session at 
which S. 602 was considered. The Committee adopted an amendment 
in the nature of a substitute and ordered the bill reported by 
voice vote.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

S. 602--Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007

    S. 602 would require the Federal Communications Commission 
(FCC) to initiate a notice of inquiry to the telecommunications 
industry to consider the existence and availability of advanced 
blocking technologies for various communications devices such 
as television. The agency also would examine methods to 
encourage parents to use such technologies to prevent children 
from viewing objectionable programming. S. 602 would require 
the FCC to issue a report detailing its findings within 270 
days of the bill's enactment.
    Based on information from the FCC and assuming the 
availability of appropriated funds, CBO estimates that 
implementing S. 602 would cost less than $500,000 in fiscal 
year 2008. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct 
spending or revenues.
    S. 602 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Tyler Kruzich. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  S. 602 would direct the FCC to begin a notice of inquiry; no 
additional persons would be subject to regulation.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  S. 602 would not have an adverse impact on the Nation's 
economy.

                                PRIVACY

  S. 602 would have no significant impact on the personal 
privacy of United States citizens.

                               PAPERWORK

  S. 602 would not significantly increase paperwork 
requirements for individuals or businesses.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

  Section 1 would establish the title of the Act as ``The Child 
Safe Viewing Act of 2007.''

Section 2. Findings

  Section 2 would set forth a number of Congressional findings 
related to the impact of audio and video content on children 
and the need to empower parents in limiting their children's 
exposure to harmful content.

Section 3. Examination of advanced blocking technologies

  Section 3 would require the FCC to initiate a notice of 
inquiry within 90 days of enactment that would examine the 
existence and availability of advanced blocking technologies 
that are compatible with various communications devices or 
platforms and issue a report to Congress detailing any 
findings.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the Committee states that the bill as 
reported would make no change to existing law.