The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) was introduced by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 9, 2006. Its purpose is to protect children from online predators, who mainly visit community Web sites. Online predators look for victims on the Internet to harass or exploit them for financial or sexual purposes. Victims of sexual exploitation are most often children, while seniors most often fall prey to financial predation.
DOPA proposes to restrict access to all commercial community Web sites in education institutions and libraries. These Web sites would include all that are based on social networking or have chat rooms, as well as any site allowing users to create profiles or providing a way to communicate with others. The goal is to keep online predators from using such web sites to gain information that would allow them to exploit victims.
In addition to blocking popular sites, such as Orkut , Slashdot , and MySpace , Web sites used for educational activity would also be blocked. Some schools use forums or blogs for discussion and to encourage children to communicate their ideas. Most libraries and institutions already use tools that filter the type of content students can view. The bill has been debated, as community Web sites are not exclusively detrimental to children, and many help children develop social and online interaction skills.
DOPA was passed by the House of Representatives on July 26, 2006 and is currently in the Senate, where it is being debated. The full text of the bill can be found on GovTrack.us .
- DOPA (Wikipedia)