'The House of Representatives' approved legislation designed to cordon off a safe online 'playground' for young children. House members voted 406-2 to approve the 'Dot-Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002,' which would mandate the creation of a "dot-kids" extension within America's sovereign "dot-us" Internet domain. ... [Ernie the Attorney]
'Ernie asks why this is a bad thing, so here's the answer....'
Good read. There's quite a bit more then what I'm quoting here, and it may not be clear who's saying what, since I had to kill the formatting. In regard to the Shifted Librarian's comment: 'I haven't followed up on this to see who is defining the standards for this domain, but I can't think of a single person (let alone committee or entity) that I would trust to do this for the entire country.', I went ahead and looked up the bill, but the linking is confusing me. This should go to the text of the bill as passed, but you may need to use this page; look up "dot-kids" and pick the first result.
According to the bill, the "National Telecommunications and Information Administration", which I don't think I've ever heard of before, is responsible for providing for the establishment, and overseeing operation, of a second-level Internet domain within the United States country code domain.
The direct penalty for failing to comply appears to be essentially limited to getting the .kids.us that is in violation name revoked. The registrar appears to be responsible for maintaining the standards, and those who use the registrar will need to agree in writing that they will not violate the standards, so in theory you could get hit with breach-of-contract. But as long as the violation is not egregious (and possibly even if it is), I doubt anyone will care enough to actually prosecute.
Other interesting provisions: The NTIA is required to advertise the existance of the new domain. "Minor" in this bill means "under 13". At the end of the bill is the definition of "Harmful to minors" and "Suitable for Minors"... pretty standard "community standards" definitions.
BTW, I agree with everything the Shifted Librarian wrote, so that saves me the trouble... ;-)