Congress gives FCC some homework


Mark Pryor (D-AR) has seen his Child Safe Viewing Act make it through the Senate, and the House has followed suit. It’s hard to imagine a veto headed in its direction, since all it does is instruct the FCC to embark on a fact-finding mission on content blocking technology. Pryor, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, wants the FCC to find learn what’s out there, figure out how best to get parents to use it, and how to incorporate it into consumer entertainment hardware without affecting its pricing.

Here is the official summary of the bill:

Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate a notice of inquiry to consider measures to examine: (1) the existence and availability of advanced blocking technologies that are compatible with various communications devices or platforms; and (2) methods of encouraging the development, deployment, and use of such technology by parents that do not affect the packaging or pricing of a content provider’s offering. Defines "advanced blocking technologies" as technologies that can improve or enhance the ability of a parent to protect his or her child from any indecent or objectionable video or audio programming, as determined by the parent, transmitted through wire, wireless, or radio communication.

RBR/TVBR observation: Any alternative to government meddling into content is a good thing. To make sure this technology is effective, producers should make sure ratings suggestions are accurate, with the concerns of parents of young children genuinely front and center.