The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

President in favor of having people confuse porn, wholesome family sites.

Can anyone out there explain to me the logic of this position:

The Bush administration is objecting to the creation of a .xxx domain, saying it has concerns about a virtual red-light district reserved exclusively for Internet pornography.

Michael Gallagher, assistant secretary at the Commerce Department, has asked for a hold to be placed on the contract to run the new top-level domain until the .xxx suffix can receive further scrutiny. The domain was scheduled to receive final approval Tuesday.

"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," Gallagher said in a letter that was made public on Monday.

The position of the administration seems to be that porn will decrease or go away if this domain name is prohibited. All of the points made by the administration attack porn in general, and do not address the issue of the consequences of allowing for this new domain name. This is idiotic, and if you're a "Family Values Republican" it is extremely counterproductive.

Let's get a few things straight. First of all, it is easy to find porn. Secondly, it is so easy to find porn that it is easy to accidentally find porn. I was under the impression that conservatives were against this. Lastly, there will always be porn on the internet because there is a huge demand for porn.

If only there was some way to make porn on the internet easily identifiable. Some type of easily recognizable symbol we could attach to each site that would allow concerned parents to warn their kids (or set their internet blockers).

A few years ago, some Republicans and Democrats had similar ideas:

At the time (November 2000), politicians lambasted ICANN's move. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., demanded to know why ICANN didn't approve .xxx "as a means of protecting our kids from the awful, awful filth, which is sometimes widespread on the Internet." Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., told (click for PDF) a federal commission that .xxx was necessary to force adult Webmasters to "abide by the same standard as the proprietor of an X-rated movie theater."

I personally don't think it matters one way or the other. Porn on the internet is like money in politics; no matter how many restrictions or labels you put on it, it will still flow to those who desire it. But if you are a parent with concerns about your kid on the internet, doesn't it help your cause if porn is clearly labeled as porn?

This is a no-brainer, which, I suspect, is exactly why the administration got it wrong.


  • I've been wondering for years why they haven't created such a domain.
    This reminds me of that Kerry campaign commercial which depicted the Bush administration as an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 11:32 AM  

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