Senate calls for FCC to consider content-blocking technologies

Bill passed in the Senate calls for the Federal Communications Commission to examine technologies that allow for parental control over media content.

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously voted in favor of providing parents with more control over the content their children receive through various technologies.

The Child Safe Viewing Act, introduced last year by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., requires the Federal Communications Commission to issue a notice of inquiry to examine what advanced content-blocking technologies are available for various communication devices and platforms. It also calls for the FCC to consider how to develop and deploy such technologies without affecting content providers' pricing or packaging.

The bill defines "advanced blocking technologies" as technology that enables parents to protect their children from "indecent or objectionable video or audio programming, as determined by the parent, that is transmitted through the use of wire, wireless, or radio communication."

The legislation still must go through the House of Representatives before being sent to the president.

While the bill does not empower the FCC to do anything other than to produce a report on its findings for Congress, it is one of a handful of steps Congress has taken in recent weeks to address threats new technologies can expose children to.

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