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YOUTH, PORNOGRAPHY, AND THE INTERNET Dick Thornburgh and Herbert S. Lin, Editors Committee to Study Tools and Strategies for Protecting Kids from Pornography and Their Applicability to Other Inappropriate Internet Content Computer Science and Telecommunications Board National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.
NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS · 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. · Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Grant No. l9991N-FX-0071 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education; Grant No. P0073380 between the National Academy of Sciences and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; awards (unnumbered) from the Microsoft Corporation and IBM; and internal funds of the National Research Coun- cil. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authoring committee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organi- zations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08274-9 Library of Congress Control Number 2002110219 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Consti- tution Avenue, N.W., Lock Box 285, Washington, DC 20055, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area). This report is also available online at <http://www.nap.edu>. Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
National Acaclemy of Sciences National Acaclemy of Engineering Institute of Meclicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating soci- ety of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedi- cated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its mem- bers, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advis- ing the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sci- ences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal gov- ernment. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in pro- viding services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE TO STUDY TOOLS AND STRATEGIES FOR PROTECTING KIDS FROM PORNOGRAPHY AND THEIR APPLICABILITY TO OTHER INAPPROPRIATE INTERNET CONTENT DICK THORNBURGH, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP, Washington, D.C., Chair NICHOLAS I. BELKIN, Rutgers University WILLIAM I. BYRON, Holy Trinity Parish SANDRA L. CALVERT, Georgetown University DAVID FORSYTH, University of California, Berkeley DANIEL GEER, Stake Inc. LINDA HODGE, Parent Teacher Association MARILYN GELL MASON, Tallahassee, Florida MILO MEDIN, Excite@Home rOHN B. RABUN, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ROBIN RASKIN, Ziff Davis Media ROBERT I. SCHLOSS, IBM TV. Watson Research Center rANET WARD SCHOFIELD, University of Pittsburgh GEOFFREY R. STONE, University of Chicago WINIFRED B. WECHSLER, Santa Monica, California HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Scientist and Study Director GAIL PRITCHARD, Program Officer (through rune 2001) rOAH G. IANOTTA, Research Assistant JANICE M. SABUDA, Senior Project Assistant DANIEL D. LLATA, Senior Project Assistant (through May 2001) MICKELLE RODRIGUEZ, Senior Project Assistant (through February 2001) IV
COMPUTER SCIENCE AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS BOARD DAVID D. CLARK, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair DAVID BORTH, Motorola Labs TAMES CHIDDIX, AOL Time Warner rOHN M. CIOFFI, Stanford University ELAINE COHEN, University of Utah W. BRUCE CROFT, University of Massachusetts at Amherst THOMAS E. DARCIE, AT&T Labs Research rOSEPH FARRELL, University of California, Berkeley rEFFREY M. rAFFE, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies ANNA KARLIN, University of Washington BUTLER W. LAMPSON, Microsoft Corporation EDWARD D. LAZOWSKA, University of Washington DAVID LIDDLE, U.S. Venture Partners TOM M. MITCHELL, Carnegie Mellon University DONALD NORMAN, Nielsen Norman Group DAVID A. PATTERSON, University of California, Berkeley HENRY (HANK) PERRITT, Chicago-Kent College of Law BURTON SMITH, Cray Inc. TERRY SMITH, University of California, Santa Barbara LEE SPROULL, New York University rEANNETTE M. WING, Carnegie Mellon University MARrORY S. BLUMENTHAL, Director HERBERT S. LIN, Senior Scientist ALAN S. INOUYE, Senior Program Officer rON EISENBERG, Senior Program Officer LYNETTE I. MILLETT, Program Officer CYNTHIA PATTERSON, Program Officer STEVEN WOO, Program Officer rANET BRISCOE, Administrative Officer DAVID PADGHAM, Research Associate MARGARET HUYNH, Senior Project Assistant DAVID DRAKE, Senior Project Assistant rANICE M. SABUDA, Senior Project Assistant rENNIFER BISHOP, Senior Project Assistant BRANDYE WILLIAMS, Staff Assistant v
BOARD ON CHILDREN, YOUTH, AND FAMILIES EVAN CHARNEY, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Chair TAMES A. BANKS, University of Washington DONALD COHEN, Yale University THOMAS DEWITT, Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati MARY rANE ENGLAND, Washington Business Group on Health MINDY FULLILOVE, Columbia University PATRICIA GREENFIELD, University of California, Los Angeles RUTH T. GROSS, Stanford University KEVIN GRUMBACH, UCSF/San Francisco General Hospital NEAL HALFON, UCLA School of Public Health MAXINE HAYES, Washington State Department of Health MARGARET HEAGARTY, Columbia University RENEE R. rENKINS, Howard University HARRIET KITZMAN, University of Rochester SANDERS KORENMAN, Baruch College, CUNY HON. CINDY LEDERMAN, Juvenile Justice Center, Dade County, Florida VONNIE McLOYD, University of Michigan GARY SANDEFUR, University of Wisconsin-Madison ELIZABETH SPELKE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology RUTH STEIN, Montefiore Medical Center ELEANOR E. MACCOBY (Liaison, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education), Stanford University (emeritus) WILLIAM ROPER (Liaison, IOM Council), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill MICHELE D. KIPKE, Director (through September 2001) MARY GRAHAM, Associate Director, Dissemination and Communications SONrA WOLFE, Administrative Associate ELENA NIGHTINGALE, Scholar-in-Residence rOAH G. IANNOTTA, Research Assistant Al
Preface Youth, pornography, and the Internet. The combination of these ele- ments is a subject on which individuals from all walks of life parents, teachers, librarians, school administrators, library board members, legis- lators, judges, and other concerned citizens have thoughts and strong opinions. Those with products and services to sell are also interested in and concerned about the subject. Some from the online adult entertain- ment industry fear that efforts to restrict the access of children to certain kinds of sexually explicit material on the Internet will impinge on what they see as legitimate business opportunities to market their products and services to adults. Those with technology-based protection systems to sell hope to capitalize on what they see as a growing market for solutions to the problem, however that may be defined. Views in this subject area are highly polarized. Because strongly held values are at stake, the political debate is heated, and often characterized by extreme views, inflammatory rhetoric, and half-truths. Against the backdrop of intense lobbying in the halls of Congress and many local school and library board meetings in communities across the country, a document assembling in one place the different dimensions and pros and cons of approaches that might be taken to address the problem can help to conduct the debate over "what to do" in a more informed manner. Thus, one purpose of this report is to provide a reasonably complete and thorough treatment of the problem and potential solutions that airs all sides. In addition, different communities or groups of readers are likely to be interested in different aspects of this report. . . V11
V111 PREFACE · Parents will be interested in its description and assessment of a reasonably comprehensive set of tools and strategies for protecting their children on the Internet from exposure to inappropriate sexually explicit material (and other inappropriate material for that matter), many of which can be deployed in their homes. Furthermore, to the extent that parents understand the advantages and disadvantages of these various tools and strategies, they can engage their legislators and local administrative bod- ies more effectively. · Adults responsible for children and youth in other settings school, libraries, after-school programs, camps, and so on will be interested in this description and assessment as well for classroom and other purposes, but also in the political and organizational issues that surround the use of these various tools and strategies. Those responsible for education broadly construed will also be attentive to the issues related to material that is improperly or incorrectly identified as inappropriate for children and youth. · The information technology (IT) sector is likely to be interested in finding business opportunities for helping parents and others deal with the issues as they see fit, while many commercial interests in the IT sector and in other corners are concerned about the possibility of regulation. · Law enforcement agencies may be interested in this report to help clarify their roles and responsibilities in both preventive and tactical op- erations, and may benefit from the report's overview about existing law in this area. The judiciary, especially at the local level, may find perspec- tive and understanding that can be useful in trying and hearing cases touching on the subject matter of this report. · Policy makers will be interested in all of these dimensions of the issue, and must decide how to weigh them in their attempts to formulate appropriate policy. Further, much of this report points to legal, eco- nomic, technical, and social realities that affect how legislation and regu- lation might actually play out. ORIGIN OF THIS STUDY In November 1998, the U.S. Congress mandated a study by the Na- tional Research Council (NRC) to address pornography on the Internet (Box Pip. In response to this mandate, the Computer Science and Tele- communications Board (CSTB), responsible within the National Acad- emies for issues at the nexus of information technology and public policy, engaged the NRC's Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BOCYF) to form a committee with expertise diverse enough to address this topic. The resulting committee was composed of a diverse group of people, including individuals with expertise in constitutional law, law enforce- ment, libraries and library science, information retrieval and representa-
x PREFACE lion, developmental and social psychology, Internet and other informa- tion technologies, ethics, and education. CSTB, with input from BOCYF, developed a proposal that was re- sponsive to the legislative mandate. As a result of discussions with the Department of fustice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Pre- vention, the Department of Education, and various private companies in the information technology industry, the study's statement of work was adjusted to include non-technological strategies as well as technology options for protection and to address "pornography" as the primary sys- tematic focus of the study's exploration of inappropriate content, with other areas addressed as appropriate for context-setting purposes, ex- plored incidentally rather than systematically. Further, the negotiated statement of work noted that the final report would place the issue of concern in context, provide a range of useful alternatives for constituencies affected by this issue, and explicate the foundation for a more coherent and objective local and national debate on the subject of Internet "pornography," but would avoid making specific policy recommendations that embed particular social values in this area. METHODOLOGY AND CAVEATS As with most controversial issues, the reality of both problem and solution is much more complex than the rhetoric would indicate. To complement the expertise of its members and to understand the issue more effectively, the committee took a great deal of testimony over the course of its study. In its plenary sessions, it heard testimony from some 20 parties with differing points of view and expertise; these parties are identified in Appendix A (which provides the agendas of the various plenary sessions). It held two workshops to explore both technical and non-technical dimensions of the issue; summaries of these workshops were published prior to the publication of this report. Members of the committee also visited a range of communities across the United States to hear firsthand from the various constituencies not the least of which were the children involved. Thus, the committee con- ducted seven site visits from April through June 2001 in a variety of iSee National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001, Nontechnical Strategies to Re- duce Children's Exposure to Inappropriate Material on the Internet: Summary of a Workshop, Board on Children, Youth, and Families and Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Joah G. Iannotta, ea., National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; and Computer Science and Tele- communications Board, 2002, Technical, Business, and Legal Dimensions of Protecting Children from Pornography on the Internet: Proceedings of a Workshop, National Academy Press, Washing- ton, D.C.
PREFACE Xl i geographical locales: Austin, Texas, on April 3-4; Greenville, South Caro- lina, on April 17-18; Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 26-27; San Diego, California, on May 2-3; Blacksburg, Virginia, on May 8-9; Coral Gables, Florida, on May 30-lune 1; and Redding, Shelton, Bristol, Kent, and Hamden, Connecticut, on tune 1-2. Finally, the committee issued a call for white papers and received about 10 (all of which are posted on the project Web site at <http:// www.itasnrc.org>~. The committee noted the existence of other work and reports on the subject, such as the final report of the COPA Commission,2 the report of the House Committee on Commerce on the Children's Online Protection Act,3 Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse from the Consortium on School Networking,4 and various efforts supported by the Bertelsmann Foundation (e.g., Protecting Our Children on the Internet5~. And, because the committee was, by design, composed of individuals with varying expertise and perspectives on the issues, the committee learned from it- self through argument and discussion. As a result of this process, it is fair to say that every committee member came to understand the issue differently than when he or she first joined the study and left behind any notion that an instant solution could be found. This study is not a comprehensive study of safety on the Internet, nor even one on safety for children on the Internet. The primary emphasis of this study is on approaches to protect youth from pornography or more properly, sexually explicit material deemed inappropriate for minors- though the relevance of these approaches to some other kinds of material deemed inappropriate receives some attention as well. This emphasis does not reflect a consensus of the committee that inappropriate sexually explicit material is or is not the most important safety issue on the Internet for children, but rather the fact that such material was a central element in the legislative mandate to the committee. This study is not a study on the impact of exposure to such material, nor does it come to a consensus on this question. Committee members had, and continue to have, a variety of different views. Committee mem- bers do share common views about the undesirability of exposing chil- dren to some kinds of sexually explicit material, but they do not share 2The COPA Commission was established as part of the Child Online Protection Act, discussed in Chapter 4. Information on the COPA Commission can be found online at <http://www.copacommission. Org>. 3H.R. No. 105-775. 4Consortium for School Networking. 2001. Safeguarding the Wired Schoolhouse. Available online at <http://www.safewiredschools.org/pubs_and_tools/white_paper.pdf>. 5Jens Waltermann and Marcel Machill, eds. 2000. Protecting Our Children on the Internet. Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers, Gutersloh, Germany.
X11 PREFACE views about other kinds of sexually explicit material. But coming to consensus on a world view regarding all sexually explicit material was not the task given to the committee, and the consensus on the material contained in this report which focuses on things that communities can do to help themselves indicates that such agreement is not necessary for making informed decisions. Note also that this report mentions a variety of companies, products, services, and Web sites. These references are for illustrative purposes only, and their mention should not be taken by readers as an endorse- ment in any way. SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT This report surveys the technical, legal, law enforcement, educational, and economic dimensions of the problem of coping with materials and experiences on the Internet that are inappropriate for children. In addi- tion, it describes a range of social and educational strategies, technology- based tools, and legal and regulatory approaches that can help children to use the Internet more safely. Thus, this report provides a framework within which responsible adults can develop their own approaches- embodying their own values for the children in their care. This study does not make recommendations about what communities should do about the problem. Although this study explicates the factors that can enter into choices about appropriate approaches to protecting kids from inappropriate sexually explicit material on the Internet, the choice of any particular approach implies a particular weighting of these various factors, and hence embeds a particular value choice, which the committee was not charged to make. Rather, the study emphasizes the information needed to conduct a reasoned discussion among those seek- ing to decide what to do. Any given community's decision will be shaded by the values it brings to that decision-making process. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people contributed to this complex study and comprehensive report. The committee took testimony from many individuals at its ple- nary sessions and at site visits. The site visits in particular were valuable precisely because they gave committee members a sense of life "in the trenches," allowing them to put into appropriate perspective the input received during plenary sessions and contributed in white papers. (Ap- pendix A provides the agendas of all meetings and site visits.) Talking to children about their perceptions and reactions to sexually explicit material on the Internet is obviously a sensitive and delicate un-
PREFACE . . . XIll dertaking, and the committee is deeply grateful to those individuals and schools that allowed their students, teachers, and administrators to speak freely with committee members and staff. These site visits would not have been possible without the assistance of people at each locale. The committee and staff would like to acknowl- edge the following individuals: · In Austin, leanette Larson, youth services manager, Austin Pub- lic Library, provided numerous leads regarding whom to contact to arrange focus group sessions. Many thanks also to Randy Strickland for brokering sessions with students and teachers at John Connally High School in Pflugerville, Texas; Sulema Vielman, for sessions with librar- ians at Cepeda Branch Library, Austin, Texas; Julia Cuba of the Girl Scouts Lone Star Council for her advice; and Angela Knott-Fryer of Settlement Home. · Arrangements in Greenville were facilitated by Norman Belk, im- mediate past president of the South Carolina Library Association, and Beverly White, executive director, Education Technology Services, the School District of Greenville County. The committee is also grateful to Rosia Gardner of Mauldin Middle School, Simpsonville, South Carolina; Michael Evans, branch manager of the W. lack Greer Library of Mauldin; Sheila Bradley and Rodney C. Thompson of the Phillis Wheatley Associa- tion, Greenville; and Ginger Stuart, interim principal, Greenville Senior High Academy of Academic Excellence. · The committee thanks Chip Ward, assistant director, and Nancy Tessman, director, of the Salt Lake City Library, for their willingness to host sessions, make contacts, and suggest leads to staff. It also thanks Laura Hunter, director of content, Utah Education Network; Paula Hous- ton, obscenity and pornography complaints ombudsman, Office of the Attorney General; Clint Spindler, principal, Tooele Junior High School, Tooele, Utah; and Sandra Shepard, principal, Tooele High School, Tooele, Utah, for their contributions to the site visit. · In San Diego, Suzanne Hess of E1 Cajon Library in E1 Cajon and Charlie Garten, director of technology in the Poway Unified School Dis- trict, were pivotal in organizing library and school sessions. The commit- tee also thanks Paul Robinson, Rancho Bernardo High School; Walter Desmond, Lincoln High School, San Diego; and Andrea Skorepa, direc- tor, Florencia Gomez, youth service director, and Teresa Murillo, com- puter lab coordinator at Casa Familia in San Ysidro, for hosting focus group sessions. · Sincere thanks are extended to Peggy Meszaros, director of the Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth, and Fam- ilies at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for her
xIv PREFACE extensive help in identifying and arranging focus groups in Blacksburg, Virginia. The committee also thanks Gary McCoy, principal of Blacksburg Middle School; Mary Fain, principal of Blacksburg High School; and An- drew Michael Cohill, director of Blacksburg Electronic Village, for their contributions to the site visit. · In Coral Gables, Florida, the committee appreciates the assistance of Anne Thompson, program commissioner of the National PTA; Karin Brown, president of Miami-Dade County PTA; Joyce Corces, Coral Gables High School; Alexander Rodriguez-Roia, Boys and Girls Club of Miami; and lenine Gendron, Fischler Graduate School of Education and Human Resources, Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale. · In Connecticut, the committee appreciates the assistance of Arlene Liscinsky, treasurer of the Connecticut State PTA, for the Shelton visit; Therese Duncan, vice president for legislation of the Connecticut State PTA, for the Kent visit; Deborah Walsh, president of the Connecticut State PTA, for the Hamden visit; and Beverly Bobroske, president of the Con- necticut Association of Boards of Education, for the Bristol visit. Most of all, the committee appreciates the parents and students for their frank participation in the focus group sessions that took place dur- ing the site visits. In the initial stages of project development, David Eisner from America Online was instrumental in convening representatives from the online in- dustry to discuss the project. As a result of these meetings, the NRC came to understand the concerns of this community in greater detail. The committee members also extend their appreciation to the numer- ous presenters who briefed them during the project. Of particular interest was a special session at the committee's December 2000 workshop with community teams. Team members were charged with listening to the expert presentations and then applying what they had learned, as well as their own experience, to a hypothetical scenario. Committee members engaged community teams as they reported their thoughts about applica- tion. The purpose of this activity was to provide information to the com- mittee regarding how the expert but largely theoretical testimony might be interpreted and applied in practical terms by education and library professionals working in the field. For their participation in this activity, the committee thanks Paulette Armstrong, Carol Bird, Stephen Boyles, Trina Brown, Andy Carvin, Deb Elder, Marjorie Geldon, William Gid- dings, Wayne Hartschuh, Marge Medd, David Milhon, Irene E. Millett, Sandra Patton, leana Pulis, Mike Westmoreland, Arthur Wolinsky, and in particular, for their enormous contribution to orchestrating the commu- nity teams, Sara Fitzgerald and Keith Krueger of the Consortium for School Networking.
PREFACE XV The committee also appreciates the hundreds of suggestions and con- structive criticism provided by the reviewers of an early draft of this report. That input helped the committee to sharpen its message and strengthen its presentation. Within the NRC, the lead unit on the project was the Computer Sci- ence and Telecommunications Board. However, the committee received a high level of support from members and staff of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families and specifically calls attention to the critical roles played by Joah Ianotta, research assistant for BOCYF, in developing the summary of the first workshop on non-technical strategies, and by Gail Pritchard, previously staff officer for CSTB, and Mickelle Rodriguez, former senior project assistant, in organizing the site visits under very trying conditions. Finally, grateful thanks are offered to Microsoft, IBM, and the Kellogg Foundation, whose financial support for this project was essential in rounding out the sponsorship of the Departments of Justice and Educa- tion. CSTB's sponsors enable but do not influence its projects. A PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE CHAIR The National Academies are well known for producing authoritative reports on controversial subjects. It is the hope of the committee that this report will be seen as comprehensive and authoritative, but I believe it is bound to disappoint a number of readers. It will disappoint those who expect a technological "quick fix" to the challenge of pornography on the Internet. It will disappoint those who suggest that an aggressive law enforcement effort is all that is necessary to shut down pornography pur- veyors of all types. It will disappoint parents, school officials, and librar- ians who seek surrogates to fulfill the responsibilities of training and supervision needed to truly protect children from inappropriate sexual materials on the Internet. And it will disappoint free speech absolutists who maintain that children have an unrestricted right to access whatever materials they choose to read or view in today's society. Many of the members of this committee, including its chair, brought to our task somewhat simplistic views of the challenges implicit in our charge. My own views were shaped by a career in law enforcement during which time I learned that the issue of children and pornography is highly political and emotionally volatile. As a parent and a grandparent, I also feel that I have a personal stake in this issue. I think it is fair to say that all committee members recognize that we finish our task enriched by the welter of material developed for our use and by the exchanges that took place among us. Most of us are somewhat chastened, I suspect, by adherence to our earlier views. For, in truth, as
XVI PREFACE our report spells out in great detail, there are no easy answers to the questions posed to our society by the proliferation of sexually explicit materials and their ready availability to children, particularly through the modern miracle we know as the Internet. Today our society is awash in graphic, sexually explicit materials that are widely available in nearly every medium of communicationprint, audio, and video and in nearly every imaginable setting from home and school to overnight lodging. Much of the material with which this report is concerned was clearly violative of the obscenity laws a decade or so ago, but seldom are prosecutions brought in this 21st century. The ubiquitous nature of the Internet poses special challenges for those concerned with this phenomenon. According to the U.S. Census, two-thirds of U.S. school-age children had home access to a personal computer in 2000.6 And, most of these computers provide access to the Internet. These figures are even higher when school-provided access is added, and 90 percent of our children have Internet access in either homes or school. The rapid growth in the availability of Internet images during the last decade has posed two specific problems in the conduct of this study. First is the private nature of Internet usage. Parental and teacher or librarian supervision is not nearly as easy when children seek or are inadvertently exposed to sexually explicit materials on the Internet as when such im- ages are available in books or on the family television set. "Policing" by responsible adults is much more difficult when the Internet is involved. Moreover, the fact that the Internet is a worldwide method of com- munication creates two special problems for law enforcement even when the subject matter is what has been traditionally outlawed as ob- scene. U.S. Supreme Court decisions defining what is "obscene" depend, among other things, on the development of "community standards" against which the offending materials may be measured. What is the "community" for a medium that is worldwide in its reach? In addition, as the report notes, much of the pornography available on the Internet in the United States has its origins outside our borders and beyond the reach of law enforcement officials here. These are truly vexing challenges to even the most capable of modern criminal investigators and prosecutors. The breadth of background and experience of the members of this committee was a significant advantage in pursuing our charge. Likewise, the process undertaken by the committee was designed to seek out and wrestle with the many issues implicit in that charge. We sought to order 6See U.S. Census Press Release. 2001. "9-in-10 School-Age Children Have Computer Access; Internet Use Pervasive, Census Bureau Reports." September 6. Available online at <http:// www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/200 1/cbO 1-147.html>.
PREFACE . . XVII our inquiry in a way that ensured that we heard from all sides and repre- sentatives of every interested point of view. Our field trips took us to communities across the country so that we might learn firsthand the views of parents, teachers, children, community leaders, and law enforcement officials. We also sought out experts in child development and child psychology, those intimately familiar with the technology of the Internet, and representatives of the adult entertainment industry themselves. I am satisfied that no potential sources of information or opinion were ne- glected, even if certainty on many points remained elusive. In the final analysis, I believe that this report advances our under- standing of the problems of children's access to inappropriate sexual ma- terials on the Internet. But much work remains to be done. As noted, it is essential that unresolved legal issues be put to rest. An observation to the effect that "we know obscenity when we see it" will no longer suffice. We live under the rule of law, and prosecutors and courts must attempt to resolve these problems, however difficult that may be. In addition, it is by no means clear that enough research has been carried out in this important area. Social science research into the effects of children viewing sexually explicit materials has not been carried out because of ethical considerations (although one must wonder if such re- luctance doesn't speak to the reality of the harm itself). The computer industry has produced some of the largest personal fortunes in American history. Yet it has been curiously reluctant to commit its massive re- sources to leading-edge research and development efforts in this area. Although, as the report emphasizes, responsibility for meeting this challenge truly begins at home, we must exert ourselves as a society to provide every possible support mechanism to parents concerned about this threat to their children's well-being. No concerned parent, however responsible and determined, should be left to his or her own devices in dealing with such a truly global challenge. It may be that some members of the committee itself complete their assignment somewhat disappointed in our accomplishments. But, in life, the important tasks are never easy ones. If this task is deemed to be important for the future of our society and our children, our comprehen- sive study of the multitude of issues involved in protecting children from pornography on the Internet may prove to be a building block for future efforts that can provide workable answers to the difficult questions inher- ent in such a study. If this study has succeeded even in part in its undertaking, credit is due to the remarkable and talented men and women who contributed so much of their valuable time, thought, and effort to this unique and daunt- ing task. They set themselves to this difficult task in the best traditions of searching inquiry which have always characterized this great nation.
XVIII PREFACE Special thanks are due to Dr. Herbert Lin, whose tireless efforts kept us on track and whose skills at managing a sometimes fractious group were admirable indeed. Dick Thornburgh, Chair Committee to Study Tools and Strategies for Protecting Kids from Pornog- raphy and Their Applicability to Other Inappropriate Internet Content April 2002
Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with pro- cedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its pub- lished report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Danni Ashe, Danni's Hard Drive, Libby Black, Boulder Valley School District, Frederick P. Brooks, University of North Carolina Robert Corn-Revere, Hogan and Hartson LLP, David Finkelhor, University of New Hampshire, Elizabeth D. Liddy, Syracuse University, Eleanor Maccoby, Stanford University, Michael Miller, PC Magazine, Anita M. Pampusch, Bush Foundation, Michael Puma, The Urban Institute, William I. Raduchel, AOL Time Warner, Sally G. Reed, Norfolk Public Library, Carol Lynn Roddy, Ohio Public Library Information Network, Paul Rothstein, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, and Jacobson, X1 -
xx ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Lynne Shrum, University of Georgia, lane M. Spinak, Columbia Law School, Bruce Taylor, National Law Center for Children and Families, Jody Townsend, Colorado PTA, Joseph Turow, University of Pennsylvania, Willis H. Ware, RAND Corporation, Ellen Wartella, University of Texas at Austin, Gio Wiederhold, Stanford University, and Nancy Willard, University of Oregon. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lyle Tones, University of North Carolina, and Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law School. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY PART I 1 1 INTRODUCTION 17 1.1 The Internet: Source of Promise, Source of Concern, 17 1.2 A Critical Definitional Issue What Is "Pornography"?, 20 1.3 Other Types of Inappropriate Material and Experiences, 22 1.4 A Broad Spectrum of Opinion and Views, 25 1.5 Focus and Structure of This Report, 28 2 TECHNOLOGY 31 2.1 An Orientation to Cyberspace and the Internet, 31 2.1.1 Characteristics of Digital Information, 31 2.1.2 The Nature of the Internet Medium and a Comparison to Other Media Types, 32 2.2 2.1.3 Internet Access Devices, 35 2.1.4 Connecting to the Internet, 36 2.1.5 Identifying Devices on the Internet: The Role of Addressing, 38 2.1.6 Functionality of the Internet, 39 2.1.7 Cost and Economics of the Internet, 47 2.1.8 A Global Internet, 47 2.1.9 The Relative Newness of the Internet, 48 Technologies of Information Retrieval, 49 X~1
X- 11 2.3 2.4 3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 4.1 4.2 CONTENTS Technologies Related to Access Control and Policy Enforcement, 51 2.3.1 Filtering Technologies, 51 2.3.2 Technologies for Authentication and Age Verification, 59 2.3.3 Encryption (and End-to-End Opacity), 65 2.3.4 Anonymizers, 66 2.3.5 Location Verification, 66 What the Future May Bring, 68 THE ADULT ONLINE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY 71 The Structure and Scale of the Online Adult Entertainment Industry, 72 The Generation of Revenue, 74 Practices Related to Minors, 78 What the Future May Hold, 79 3.4.1 The Structural Evolution of the Industry, 79 3.4.2 Increased Regulation, 79 3.4.3 Future Products and Services, 81 Industry Structure, Product Differentiation, and Aggressive Promotion, 82 LEGAL AND REGULATORY ISSUES The First Amendment, 84 4.1.1 First Principles, 84 4.1.2 The First Amendment, Pornography, and Obscenity, 86 4.1.3 The First Amendment and Protecting Children from Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material, 89 The First Amendment Rights of Minors, 92 4.1.4 4.1.5 The First Amendment and Child Pornography, 93 4.1.6 The First Amendment in Public Libraries, 94 4.1.7 The First Amendment in Public Schools, 95 4.1.8 The First Amendment and the Commercial Advertising of Sexually Explicit Material, 96 Relevant Statutes and Common Law, 96 4.2.1 Federal Obscenity Statutes, 96 4.2.2 Child Pornography Statutes, 97 4.2.3 The Communications Decency Act, 99 4.2.4 The Child Online Protection Act, 101 4.2.5 The Children's Internet Protection Act, 103 4.2.6 The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, 104 4.2.7 State Statutes, 107 4.2.8 Regulatory Efforts, 107 84
CONTENTS 4.3 5 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 6 6.1 6.2 6.3 7 7.1 7.2 . . . X- 111 4.2.9 International Dimensions, 112 Law Enforcement, Training, and Education, 112 CHILDREN, MEDIA, AND EXPOSURE TO SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL Children and How They Use Media, 115 Sexuality in Culture, 120 The Role of Media in Providing Information on Sexuality to Youth, 123 Dimensions of Exposure and Access to the Internet, 127 5.4.1 Venues of Access, 127 5.4.2 Sources and Channels of Exposure, 128 5.4.3 Extent of Exposure, 132 Internet Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material, Solicitations, and Harassment, 136 Deliberate Search for Sexually Explicit Material, 138 Inadvertent Exposure to or Intrusion of Sexually Explicit Material, 138 Sexual Solicitations and Approaches, 141 Harassment, 142 THE RESEARCH BASE ON THE IMPACT OF EXPOSURE TO SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL: WHAT THEORY AND EMPIRICAL STUDIES OFFER Theoretical Considerations, 143 Empirical Work, 149 6.2.1 Violence, 149 6.2.2 Sexually Violent Material, 152 6.2.3 Exposure to Non-violent Sexual Material, 153 6.2.4 Caveats and Cautions, 155 Factors Affecting the Impact on Minors of Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material, 157 6.3.1 Impact, 157 6.3.2 Minors, 157 6.3.3 Gender, 158 6.3.4 Special Needs, 159 Exposure, 159 6.3.6 The Type of Sexually Explicit Material, 160 BEYOND THE SCIENCE: PERSPECTIVES ON IMPACT AND THE PUBLIC DEBATE Challenges to Parents, 161 Speculations and Other Perspectives on Possible Impact, 166 115 143 161
XXIV CONTENTS 7.3 Rhetorical Concerns and Issues of Public Debate, 172 7.4 Judgments in the Absence of a Reliable Research Base, 175 7.5 Concluding Observations, 178 PART II 8 APPROACHES TO PROTECTION FROM INAPPROPRIATE MATERIAL 183 8.1 The Identification of Inappropriate Material, 183 8.1.1 In Principle, 183 8.1.2 In Practice, 186 8.2 Dimensions of "Protection," 188 8.3 The Time Line of Protective Actions, 190 8.4 Differing Institutional Missions of Schools and Libraries, 191 8.5 The Politics of Protection and Inappropriate Material- Who and When?, 192 8.6 Techniques of Protection, 194 8.7 Approaches to Protection, 196 9 LEGAL AND REGULATORY TOOLS 201 9.1 Vigorous Prosecutions of Obscene Material, 201 9.2 Civil Liability for Presenting Obscene Material on the Internet, 205 9.3 Options for Dealing with Material That Is Obscene for Minors, 205 9.3.1 Age Verification, 206 9.3.2 Plain Brown Wrappers and Age Verification, 208 9.3.3 Labeling of Material That Is Obscene for Minors, 209 9.3.4 Prohibiting Spam That Is Obscene for Minors, 209 9.3.5 Prohibiting the Practice of Mousetrapping to Web Sites Ninth Mail They To (Han for Minors 717 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 10 _ ~ . . . it, , . ~ ~ , Enforcement of Record-Keeping Requirements, 213 Streamlining the Process of Handling Violations, 214 Self-Regulatory Approaches, 215 General Observations, 216 SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL STRATEGIES TO DEVELOP PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITY 10.1 Foundations of Responsible Choice, 218 10.2 Definition of a Social or Educational Strategy, 221 10.3 Contextual Issues for Social and Educational Strategies, 222 10.4 Parental Involvement and Supervision, 225 218
CONTENTS 10.5 Peer Assistance, 233 10.6 Acceptable Use Policies, 235 10.7 After-the-Fact Strategies, 240 10.8 Education, 242 10.8.1 Internet Safety Education, 242 10.8.2 Information and Media Literacy, 245 10.8.3 Collateral Issues, 249 10.9 Compelling and Safe Content, 250 10.10 Public Service Announcements and Media Campaigns, 254 10.11 Findings and Observations About Social and Educational Strategies, 256 11 A PERSPECTIVE ON TECHNOLOGY-BASED TOOLS 11.1 Technology-Based Tools, 258 11.2 Contextual Issues for Technology-Based Tools, 261 11.3 The Questions to Be Asked of Each Tool, 265 12 TECHNOLOGY-BASED TOOLS FOR USERS 12.1 Filtering and Content-Limited Access, 267 12.1.1 What Is Filtering and Content-Limited Access?, 267 12.1.2 How Well Does Filtering Work?, 275 12.1.3 Who Decides What Is Inappropriate?, 286 12.1.4 How Flexible and Usable Is the Product?, 289 12.1.5 What Are the Costs of and the Infrastructure Required for Filtering?, 292 12.3 xxv 267 12.1.6 What Does the Future Hold for Filtering?, 298 12.1.7 What Are the Implications of Filtering Use?, 301 12.1.8 Findings on Filters, 303 12.2 Monitoring, 304 12.2.1 What Is Monitoring?, 305 12.2.2 How Well Does Monitoring Work?, 307 12.2.3 Who Decides What Is Inappropriate?, 309 12.2.4 How Flexible and Usable Are Products for Monitoring?, 310 12.2.5 What Are the Costs and Infrastructure Required for Monitoring?, 311 12.2.6 What Does the Future Hold for Monitoring?, 314 12.2.7 What Are the Implications of Using Monitoring?, 315 12.2.8 Findings on Monitoring, 316 Tools for Controlling or Limiting "Spam," 317 12.3.1 What Are Technologies for Controlling Spam?, 318 12.3.2 How Well Do Spam-Controlling Technologies Work?, 319
XXVI CONTENTS 12.3.3 Who Decides What Is Spam?, 320 12.3.4 How Flexible and Usable Are Products for Controlling Spam?, 320 12.3.5 What Are the Costs and Infrastructure Required for Using Spam-Control Products?, 320 12.3.6 What Does the Future Hold for Spam-Controlling Systems?, 321 12.3.7 What are the Implications of Using Spam-Controlling Systems?, 321 12.3.8 Findings on Spam-Controlling Technologies, 321 12.4 Instant Help, 322 12.4.1 What Is Instant Help?, 322 12.4.2 How Well Might Instant Help Work?, 324 12.4.3 Who Decides What Is Inappropriate?, 324 12.4.4 How Flexible and Usable Is Instant Help?, 324 12.4.5 What Are the Costs and Infrastructure Required for Instant Help?, 325 12.4.6 What Does the Future Hold for Instant Help?, 325 12.4.7 What Are the Implications of Using Instant Help?, 326 12.4.8 Findings on Instant Help, 326 13 TECHNOLOGY-BASED TOOLS AVAILABLE TO NON-END USERS 13.1 A .xxx Top-Level Domain, 327 13.1.1 What Is a .xxx Top-level Domain?, 327 13.1.2 How Well Would a .xxx Top-Level Domain Work?, 330 13.1.3 Who Decides What Material Should Be Confined to .xxx Web Sites?, 332 13.1.4 How Flexible and Usable Are Schemes Based on a .xxx Top-Level Domain?, 332 13.1.5 What Are the Costs and Infrastructure Required for a .xxx Top-Level Domain?, 332 13.1.6 What Does the Future Hold for a .xxx Top-Level Domain?, 333 13.1.7 What Are the Implications of Using a .xxx Top-Level Domain?, 334 13.1.8 Findings on a .xxx Top-Level Domain, 334 13.2 A .kids Top-Level Domain, 335 13.2.1 What is a .kids Top-level Domain?, 335 13.2.2 How Well Would a .kids Top-Level Domain Work?, 335 327
CONTENTS 13.2.3 Who Decides What Material Should Be Allowed in .kids Web Sites?, 337 13.2.4 How Flexible and Usable Are Schemes Based on a .kids Top-Level Domain?, 337 13.2.5 What Are the Costs and Infrastructure Required for a .kids Top-Level Domain?, 338 13.2.6 What Does the Future Hold for a .kids Top-Level Domain?, 338 13.2.7 What Are the Implications of Using a .kids Top-Level Domain?, 338 13.2.8 Findings on a .kids Top-Level Domain, 339 13.3 Age Verification Technologies, 339 13.3.1 What Are Age Verification Technologies?, 340 13.3.2 How Well Do Age Verification Technologies Work?, 341 13.3.3 Who Decides What Is Inappropriate?, 343 13.3.4 How Flexible and Usable Are Products for Verifying Age?, 344 13.3.5 What Are the Costs and Infrastructure Required for Age Verification?, 344 13.3.6 What Does the Future Hold for Age Verification Systems?, 345 13.3.7 What Are the Implications of Using Age Verification Systems?, 347 13.3.8 Findings on Age Verification Technologies, 348 13.4 Tools for Protecting Intellectual Property, 349 13.4.1 What Are Tools for Protecting Intellectual Property?, 349 13.4.2 How Well Do Tools for Protecting Intellectual Property Work?, 349 13.4.3 Who Decides What Is Inappropriate?, 351 13.4.4 How Flexible and Usable Are Products for Protecting Intellectual Property?, 352 13.4.5 What Are the Costs and Infrastructure Required for Protecting Intellectual Property?, 352 13.4.6 What Does the Future Hold for Tools for Protecting Intellectual Property?, 352 13.4.7 What Are the Implications of Tools for Protecting Intellectual Property?, 353 13.4.8 Findings on Tools for Protecting Intellectual Property, 353 XXVII . .
XXVIII 14.2 PART III 14 FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND FUTURE NEEDS 14.1 Framing the Issue, 357 14.1.1 Social Dimensions, 357 14.1.2 Developmental Dimensions, 358 14.1.3 Legal Dimensions, 359 14.1.4 Technical Dimensions, 360 14.1.5 Economic Dimensions, 361 On the Impact on Children of Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material and Experiences, 362 On Approaches to Protection, 364 Trade-offs and Complexity, 368 14.4.1 Social and Educational Trade-offs, 370 14.4.2 Technology Trade-offs, 371 14.4.3 Public Policy Trade-offs, 373 14.5 Take-Away Messages for Different Parties, 374 14.5.1 Parents, 374 14.5.2 Teachers and Librarians, 378 14.5.3 Industry, 380 14.5.4 Makers of Public Policy, 383 14.6 Research Needs, 386 14.7 Conclusion, 387 APPENDIXES INFORMATION-GATHERING SESSIONS OF THE COMMITTEE B C D INDEX CONTENTS 357 391 GLOSSARY AND ACRONYMS SELECTED TECHNOLOGY ISSUES SITE VISIT SYNTHESIS BIOGRAPHIES 407 418 430 434 445
Y"I TrFl] PORNOGRAPHY, AND THE INTERNET