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Why the .XXX Domain for Porn Won't Work

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NEW YORK --- On June 25, ICANN, the nonprofit corporation that coordinates the Internet naming system, voted to allow ICM Registry's application for the .XXX top-level domain "to move forward." In 2007, ICANN had rejected the application.

Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media had these comments:

There are many reasons why a new ".XXX top-level domain" will not succeed in protecting children from online exposure to hardcore adult pornography.

First, the proposed system is voluntary, which means commercial pornographers will be able to maintain sites both within the .XXX domain and without, which would be to their advantage.

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Second, many commercial pornographers are opposed to the voluntary.XXX domain, fearing it will lead to government regulation.

Third, many commercial pornographers don't want their websites to be more easily blocked. If parents can more easily block pornographic websites, so can employers and governments.

Fourth, the .XXX domain will only block children's access to sites using the domain if parents program computers under their control to block sites in the domain, and for a variety of reasons many parents won't do that. The reasons include the cost and difficulty of installing/operating filters, language and illiteracy barriers, disabilities, naïve, irresponsibility and neglect.

Fifth, if governments and major corporations cannot protect their computer systems, it won't take long for someone to figure out how to get access to content in the .XXX domain from computers that block access to that domain; and the word will get around.

Sixth, in today's world children increasingly have access to the Internet from personal computers and other devices that their parents or guardians have no control over.

Seventh, much hardcore adult pornography is now available from noncommercial sources and by using Internet modalities other than the World Wide Web.

Eighth, adult predators often use hardcore adult pornography to stimulate themselves and to "groom" (arouse, entice, desensitize and instruct) their child victims.

Ninth, a well-publicized .XXX top-level domain will lull many parents into thinking that if they program their computers to block access to sites using the domain their children will be safe.

Furthermore, hardcore adult pornography doesn't just harm children. Addiction to this material is also contributing to the breakdown of the family, to sexual violence against women, to the demand for prostitution, to on-the-job sexual harassment, and to a decline in worker productivity. The United States' reputation as the "Porn Capital of the World" is also hurting the war against terrorism, and organized crime is still involved in traffic in hardcore adult pornography.

Furthermore, most nations have criminal laws that punish not only distribution of child pornography but also various types of hardcore adult pornography. What ICANN describes in a June 25 Release as a "potential community site for the adult entertainment industry" would for all practical purposes serve as a new "top-level domain" for this criminal activity.

What the world needs now is not a safe and profitable haven for pornographers but rather a concerted effort to protect children, families and communities from pornographers.