A new law signed by President Bush April 30 seeks to prevent internet pornographers from knowingly using an innocent-sounding domain namesuch as WhiteHouse.comto lure children to an adult-oriented web site.
The law, which primarily is intended to create a notification network for child abduction cases, also contains a measure to ban computer-based simulations of child pornography.
The Child Abduction Prevention Act, or CAPA, was intended to create an “Amber Alert” notification system for child kidnapping cases. The system is named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl abducted in Arlington, Texas, and later found murdered.
The legislation creates a national child kidnapping notification network and provides matching grants to states and communities for equipment and training. Through the system, bulletins about kidnapped children and their abductors would be distributed quickly through radio and television broadcasts and electronic highway signs.
The law also contains a measure drafted by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., called the Truth in Domain Names amendment. Under Pence’s amendment, anyone who uses a misleading domain name to lure people into visiting an obscene web site could be fined up to $250,000 and imprisoned for up to four years for misleading a minor and two years for misleading an adult. The measure would apply to all domain names, even those in other countries.
“There is currently no law on the books that protects children from criminals who choose to prey on them using deceptive web site names,” said Pence before the law was signed. “The purpose of this bill is to enforce truth in advertising.”