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Senate Commerce Passes V-Chip 2.0 Bill

The Senate Commerce Committee Thursday passed a bill that directs the FCC to look for the next generation of V-chip, though it will not necessarily be tied to a ratings system.

 The bill, called the Child Safe Viewing Act was introduced by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and instructs the FCC to review "technology that can help parents manage the vast volume of video and other content on television or the Internet."

 According to a committee source, Pryor has expressed concern that with all the buttons on a remote control, there were still none for easy content control, but he also wants the FCC to be looking at a tool that would not be ratings-dependent and could apply across multiplying digital content-delivery platforms.

 Pryor suggested the FCC had not followed through on a mandate in the 1996 Telecommunications Act mandating the V-chip. "Part of the law also mandated the FCC to review and implement advanced filtering technology as it is developed," he said in announcing the bill's committee approval. "However, the FCC has failed to fulfill this obligation.

 "I believe there is a whole new generation of technology that can provide an additional layer of help for these parents,” he said. “My bill simply lights a fire under the FCC to take a fresh look at new options in the marketplace.”