This section, which summarizes our proposal to ICANN, provides an overview of the
technical features of our .kids registry. It demonstrates that our solution
works as an unrestricted domain.
Who may register: All persons who wish to
apply for a .kids domain name may do so. No judgment regarding content or purpose
will be asked about or imposed as a condition of registration. Any name may
be used, from “myplayground.kids” to “sex.kids.” (Note that the latter may
be an educational site, in fact!) Any current registrant of .com or other gTLDs
might obtain a .kids domain address and tie it to its main (.com, .net, .org, etc.)
What content may be published by a registrant under .kids: Any
content may be published in a .kids domain under our proposed system. There
is no censorship at the Registry or registrar level whatsoever. We do not aim
to prevent publication -- we empower the user to elect not to read it. Whereas
adults can simply not read what offends them, children need extra protection from
exposure. Therefore, users (parents) select what they don’t want to their kids
to see by making their own choices in password-protected Domain Rating Specifications.
The Domain rating specifications: Every parent may specify the rating system
(see below) that will be applied to filter out offensive content. Parents may
specify more than one system, and thus apply multiple filters. The parent’s
choice is password-protected and child-specific. These ratings are maintained
by the Registry in the Domain rating specifications file. When the child signs
on, he or she will surf only on .kids, and have access to all the material within
this TLD that clears their parent’s selection of standards (including material in
.com that a registrant may have tied to its .kids domain name).
The core concept of the proposed system is that, because no single standard is right
for every family or every place in the world, the TLD structure must accommodate
diverse rating standards. Thus, the proposed system accommodates multiple rating
systems. These may arise from many different sources around the world.
ICRA’s is a good existing example of a general system that is open, objective, complete,
precise in its definition of standards, and capable of being consistently applied.
Other rating standards will certainly evolve globally. Once a rating system
is demonstrated to be open, objective, complete, precise, and capable of being consistently
applied, it is eligible to be added to the TLD’s library of rating systems available
for users to choose. There is theoretically no limit on the number of rating
systems that can be included. Thus, the ACLU, the American Library Association,
the Saudi Arabian schools, and various religious organizations, for example, as well
as children-on-line interest groups, will be able to add their rating systems to
the options for parents to choose.
Rating organizations: Multiple rating
agencies (“RA”) will be accredited by the Registry (with the cooperation of ICANN
if it so chooses) to monitor the process of categorizing the content of .kids websites
for child-appropriate material. The standards for accrediting an RA would be
content-neutral; they would focus on the reliability and consistency of the organization’s
work, and the procedures developed and followed by the RA to act upon complaints
about erroneously assigned categories. Some RAs may rate content themselves;
others may permit self-rating by the website registrant if the RA’s procedures for
enforcement and quality-control are tight, established, and proven; others may propose
inventive systems that evolve as this gTLD goes into operation. The key will
be the RA’s proven ability to enforce the rule that all content that is rated must
be rated consistent with the standard chosen for that rating process. The RAs
would contract with the organization that established the rating system (unless they
have established their own rating system) to adhere to the procedures necessary to
assure the continued good name of the rating system, including procedures for enforcement
against complaints and violations by website registrants.
The .kids space is an “understood” space. That is, every registrant would understand
that until it has its website content rated, it will reach only the households that
elect to accept all material posted to .kids domains (including the “sex.kids” example
already given). The default rating automatically assigned to all .kids websites
is “unrated.” Because it is expected that parents will be selecting multiple
rating systems as filters for their children, there is a strong market incentive
for all .kids registrants to get their content rated.
Default Domain rating specification:
Until the parent makes his or her choice, the default position for filters would
be set to a simple standard that would protect the purpose of the .kids gTLD.
This would be a generic standard, easily overridden by the user.
Every registrant chooses which rating systems it wants to have applied to its web
content. A registrant appealing to a specific cultural or national audience
may want to be rated only under a system that was created for or by that culture.
A registrant that wants to reach pre-teens all over the US may want to have numerous
rating systems applied to its content so that it will clear many parent-set filters.
It is anticipated that market forces will, over time, permit the best and most reliable
rating systems to develop reputations for reliability, just as the UL seal is respected
by the markets for electrical appliances and the “Good Housekeeping” seal is respected
by the markets for consumer goods.
An unrestricted domain is the best way to approach
a gTLD for protection of children.
The unrestricted domain approach allows free
access to .kids domains. It places the choice about content on the parent individually.
And DotKids, Inc. has already worked out the technical solution to the content-rating
issue: rely upon globally diverse rating systems which allow new systems in
the future, and incentivize the registrants to get their content rated under the
auspices of an accredited rating organization so that it will reach as many children
as are being protected by their parents.
The rule here is: to reach
children that parents are protecting, the publisher has to provide content the parents
will not find offensive. No more, no less.
No censorship. No
single rule for the whole world. But a dynamic, tightly organized, and technically
complete gTLD system that returns value and substantially augments the usefulness
of the Internet globally and the benefits it offers for diverse audiences.”