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These posts are the creation of Doran L. Barton (AKA Fozziliny Moo). To learn more about Doran, check out his website at fozzilinymoo.org.

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Online porn: Will .xxx make a difference?

Posted: 28 June 2010 at 00:13:28

Pornographic website owners will soon have a new top-level domain (TLD) to populate, .xxx, but the TLD comes with a boatload of controversy.

Back in the Iodynamics daze, we wrote about this in one of our quarterly newsletters that was distributed to our clients and posted on our website. In the article, Is .xxx good for the Internet?, we explained that neither a majority of online pornography peddlers or anti-pornography factions were at the root of the push for a separate sexually-oriented TLD. Who was it? "A British Internet domain registry based in Florida."

ICM is the domain name registrar that will have exclusive management rights of the new .xxx TLD. According to one report, ICM is looking at making $30 million per year on this business.

Why are pornography peddlers against a differentiation for their sites from normal "dot-com" sites? They feel this differentiation will lead immediately to discrimination- making it easier for implementation of blanket blocks on all porn sites. Essentially, they want to maintain the status quo that currently allows them to collect visits from people going to porn sites by accident. This is a lame excuse, in my opinion.

Anti-pornography activism groups are against the new TLD because they feel it will legitimize online pornography. This is a lame argument as well as online pornography has already reached a well-established legitimacy.

The creation of the new TLD won't force current pornographic website operators to migrate to new .xxx domain names and abandon their current domain names. As a result, most operators will probably operate their sites with domain names under the new TLD... and with any other TLD they can get their hands on.

Many concerned may feel this is justification to get the government more involved in regulating the Internet. After all, government regulations make it impossible or very difficult for minors to purchase pornographic magazines or pornographic movies.

The most obvious obstacle to this approach is that the Internet still consists of vague jurisdiction issues. If a pornographic website is hosted on servers located in the Bahamas or in Asia, could the US government have any say in who can view the content on that website?

In my opinion, pushing for more government control over what people can and can't view on the Internet is asking for China-esque national firewalls and that would threaten to limit free speech in the United States.

As much as I don't want my children to view pornographic or indecent material while using a computer connected to the Internet, I recognize that it's my responsibility as a parent, not the government's, to determine what material is appropriate and inappropriate.

In our house, we have a content-filtering proxy powered by open source software called Dan's Guardian. This, in combination with a good network firewall, functions well for us.

My conclusion on .xxx: It's not going to change much of anything, except make the registrar TCM rich.