Today I filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its proceeding examining the marketplace for "advanced blocking technologies." This proceeding was required under the "Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007," which Congress passed last year and President Bush signed last December. The goal of the bill and the FCC's proceeding (MB 09-26) is to study "advanced blocking technologies" that "may be appropriate across a wide variety of distribution platforms, including wired, wireless, and Internet platforms." My colleagues will no doubt laugh about the fact that I have dropped an absurd 150 pages worth of comments on the FCC in this matter, but I had a lot to say on this topic! Parental controls, child safety, and free speech issues have been the focus of much of my research agenda over the past 10 years.
In my filing, I argue that the FCC should tread carefully in this matter since the agency has no authority over most of the media platforms and technologies described in the Commission's recent Notice of Inquiry. Moreover, any related mandates or regulatory actions in in this area could diminish future innovation in this field and would violate the First Amendment rights of media creators and consumers alike. The other major conclusions of my filing are as follows: