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Launching a .XXX Domain Through ICANN's Backdoor, Instead of its Front Door, Won't Protect Kids or Society from Hardcore Pornography

Contact: Robert Peters, President, Morality in Media, 212-870-3210

 

NEW YORK, June 27 /Christian Newswire/ -- Yesterday, ICANN approved a recommendation that could see many new names introduced to the Internet's addressing system. Presently, users have a range of 21 top-level domains to choose from (e.g., .com and .org). According to a news report, when Dr Paul Twomey, President of ICANN, was asked about the .XXX domain name that ICANN rejected in March 2007, he stated that the new system would be "open to anyone." According to a statement published on the www.icann.org website, "offensive names will be subject to an objection-based process based on public morality and order...ICANN will not be the decision maker on these objections."

Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, had the following comments.

"If a .XXX domain is destined to come into existence, perhaps it is better that it be just one of countless new domains, than one of the very few officially authorized by ICANN.

"The same objections to the .XXX domain proposal that failed to gain entrance through ICANN's 'front door' (by being officially approved by ICANN) would, of course, also apply to a .XXX domain launched through ICANN's new 'back door,' where ICANN would see no evil whatsoever.

"First, unlike zoning of 'adult uses' in real space, pornographers in cyberspace will not be required to use the new .XXX domain, and many (most) won't. Others will use the new domain, but will also retain their current .com domain. If anything, there will be more porn websites.

"Second, websites that use the .xxx domain will not be required to implement an age verification system. The domain will provide protection for children only to the extent that parents utilize filtering technology; and for various reasons many parents won't use it. Furthermore, filters at home cannot protect children outside the home, and tech savvy kids can circumvent filters.

"Third, the .XXX domain will not protect children from sexual predators who use 'adult porn' (i.e., no actual minors depicted) to arouse themselves and to arouse, desensitize and instruct their child victims.

"Fourth, the .XXX domain will not protect society from hardcore pornography. As the U.S. Supreme Court observed in an obscenity case, there are legitimate governmental interests at stake in stemming the tide of obscene materials 'even assuming it is feasible to enforce effective safeguards against exposure to juveniles and to passersby,' which include maintaining 'a decent society' and protecting 'public safety,' 'family life,' and the 'total community environment.'

"Fifth, the .XXX domain would become one more excuse to not enforce federal Internet obscenity laws, just as the zoning of 'adult businesses' in real space is now used as an excuse by some state investigators and prosecutors to not enforce state obscenity laws.

"If ICANN eventually approves the final version of the domain name expansion plan, organizations that opposed the original .XXX domain proposal can be expected to urge the international arbitration body to reject this domain on 'public morality and order grounds.' The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that government can suppress obscene materials to 'protect the social interest in order and morality.'

"If the .XXX domain is eventually launched through ICANN's back door, what will be promoted are websites offering hardcore pornographic materials that depict, among other things: pseudo child porn, gang bangs, group sex, unsafe sex, sex with barely legal teens, sex with siblings, sex with the neighbors' wives, sex with prostitutes, sex with she-males, sex with animals, sex with excrement, male-on-male rape, and the degradation, rape, torture and murder of women.

"I would also point out that for years the Motion Picture Association of America used the ‘X-rating’ for films that were unsuitable for children but presumably legal for adults. Pornographers picked up on that and used the 'X' rating, usually by adding an X or two (as in 'XX' and 'XXX') to signify ever more graphic and perverse (but still, the pornographers claimed and still claim, legal) forms of pornography.

"On a related matter, one wonders whether the .ho name will pass the arbitration panel's public morality and order test and if so, whether it will be awarded to a rapper, radio shock jock, prostitute, or pimp."