Monday, August 15, 2005

.xxx Domain Opposed For Wrong Reasons

The US Commerce Department has officially opposed the creation of a new .xxx internet domain, bowing to a series of e-mails and phone calls from conservative groups. (ZDNet: Bush administration objects to .xxx domains). According to Michael Gallagher, "The Department of Commerce has received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children."

For the record, I do not advocate the use of pornography. That the Internet has developed into a global porn shop is disturbing at best. Despite my opposition, however, I fail to see how blocking the .xxx domain will have any positive impact on the problem. In fact, I see the implementation of a .xxx domain as having exactly the opposite effect.

Use of a .xxx domain suffix, if truly adopted by those offering pornographic websites, would actually simplify the use of domain filtering software. The net result will improve parents' abilities to block objectionable content from their childrens' Internet experience. At the same time, it would not prevent adults from accessing those sites if they so choose.

If the goal of the groups opposing the .xxx suffix is to eliminate Internet porn, they are effectively wasting their time. Already a billion dollar industry, there's no way to curtail that activity. Rather, the best alternative is to offer parents the best method of doing their job - monitoring the activities of their children and determining what is or isn't acceptable in their own homes. That, after all, is the purpose of proper parenting in the first place.

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2 comments :

Alan Fraser said...

Six thousand letters mean slightly less than nothing. Some church group somewhere decided to hold a fish fry and letter-writing campaign. There's a massive demand for porno and, insofar as America has never successfully banned anything, all the whoop-de-do regarding the '.xxx' domain names is much ado about nothing.

Kannafoot said...

That was pretty much my thought when I saw the figure. It was almost laughable. You can get 6000 people to oppose just about anything.

Internet (or any other kind of) porn is here to stay. Given that simple fact, it makes sense to me to structure it in such a way that parents can easily filter it out if they so choose. The logic in their opposition seems to imply that a .xxx domain would increase the availability of internet porn. What they don't seem to want to accept is that it's already an oversaturated system. All the .xxx domain would do is attempt to voluntarily fence it in just a bit. It's certainly not going to add to it.