Dot-xxx proposal under consideration

Mar 22, 2006

While legislative pressure has been revived to create a dot-xxx Internet domain in order to better filter pornographic Web sites, some groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, think the idea would bring nothing but trouble.

"It's not going to make a whole lot of difference" in stopping minors from finding pornography, said Marv Johnson, legislative council for the ACLU.

The proposal, which was originally shelved in December, was brought back last week by Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who have introduced the Cyber Safety for Kids Act of 2006.

The bill requires the Department of Commerce to work with global Internet governing body Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to develop a domain name system to house material considered harmful to minors.

"This bill will section off a piece of the Internet neighborhood and confine adult sites to one location," Baucus said in a news release.

Baucus said that the key to the dot-xxx domain is the added ease in blocking all dot-xxx sites.

"It will give parents more tools to protect our kids," he said of the bill. "Parents should not have to worry about their children surfing into Web sites for adults -- either on purpose of by accident."

Pryor said that not enough has been done thus far to protect children from online pornography.

"While the Internet is an exceptional learning tool, it allows children the same easy access to Web sites about space shuttles as it does to pornography," he said. "Turning a blind eye to this problem has allowed the online pornography industry to expand and enabled kids to view adult content at very young ages."

While the two senators are enthused about the dot-xxx idea, the ACLU does not think it will provide a very effective means of shielding pornography from children.

Johnson said that by categorizing pornography into its own domain, the bill would help minors who try to look up pornographic Web sites.

"It's going to be a flashing neon light for minors who want to find pornography," Johnson said.

Johnson noted that the domain would be categorized by a content-based restriction, which is disfavored by the courts.

"They will have to show that there is a compelling interest and that it's the least obtrusive means," he said. Johnson explained that while previous cases have established that protecting children from pornography is a compelling interest, this bill fails to be the least obtrusive means of doing so.

Johnson noted that the working of the bill refers to "perverted sexual acts" but does not define that phrase, leaving it very ambiguous and potentially overreaching.

Additionally, since there is no delineation among different ages of minors, the bill indicates that Web sites inappropriate for young minors should be grouped with those inappropriate for older minors.

"If something is inappropriate for a 5-year-old, does that mean a 17-year-old shouldn't view it," he said.

Johnson suggested that instead of creating an exclusionary new domain, people focus on creating a dot-kids domain in order to filter the most child-friendly sites together. This idea has been tried, but "has not proven terribly successful," Johnson said.

He also suggested stronger filtering and blocking programs, and user rating systems, as well as better educating minors about pornography.

"Any time the government asks, 'how can we stop information?' it generally leads to the wrong conclusion," Johnson said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Engineer leads effort to develop computer systems that can see better than humans

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers discover new strategy germs use to invade cells

10 minutes ago

The hospital germ Pseudomonas aeruginosa wraps itself into the membrane of human cells: A team led by Dr. Thorsten Eierhoff and Junior Professor Dr. Winfried Römer from the Institute of Biology II, members of the Cluster ...

Vibrational motion of a single molecule measured in real time

20 minutes ago

For the first time, chemists have succeeded in measuring vibrational motion of a single molecule with a femtosecond time resolution. The study reveals how vibration of a single molecule differs from the behaviour of larger ...

For top broadband policy, look no further than Canada

20 minutes ago

You might have seen communications minister Malcolm Turnbull raising the issue about Australian press not discussing policy problems and solutions from overseas, in a speech delivered at the Lowy Institute Media Awards last week: ...

Progress in the fight against harmful fungi

30 minutes ago

A group of researchers at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories has created one of the three world's largest gene libraries for the Candida glabrata yeast, which is harmful to humans. Molecular analysis of the Candida ...

Electronic 'noses' to detect chemical warfare gases

40 minutes ago

Researchers of the Universitat Politècnica de València have developed a prototype of electronic "nose" for the detection of chemical warfare gases, fundamentally nerve gases (Sarin, Soman and Tabun). 

Recommended for you

Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

6 hours ago

Internet giant Google will offer management courses to 3,000 tourism businesses on the island of Crete as part of an initiative to promote the sector in Greece, industry union Sete said on Thursday.

Enabling a new future for cloud computing

7 hours ago

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced two $10 million projects to create cloud computing testbeds—to be called "Chameleon" and "CloudLab"—that will enable the academic research community ...

Hitchhiking robot reaches journey's end in Canada

11 hours ago

A chatty robot with an LED-lit smiley face sent hitchhiking across Canada this summer as part of a social experiment reached its final destination Thursday after several thousand kilometers on the road.

Microsoft to unveil new Windows software

11 hours ago

A news report out Thursday indicated that Microsoft is poised to give the world a glimpse at a new-generation computer operating system that will succeed Windows 8.

Music site SoundCloud to start paying artists

13 hours ago

SoundCloud said Thursday that it will start paying artists and record companies whose music is played on the popular streaming site, a move that will bring it in line with competitors such as YouTube and Spotify.

User comments : 0