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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Victory on the web

Recently, "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has given the .XXX top-level domain (TLD) its final seal of approval. The TLD is meant to give pornographic websites a clearly marked home on the Internet, but it has gone through so many ups and downs over the last 11 years that it’s almost a shock that it has finally gone through. Still, the measure didn’t pass without opposition—nine ICANN board members voted in favor of .XXX, while three opposed and four abstained—and the vote went against the recommendation of ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee."

This measure will make it less easy for people to find pornography in a regular web search. Children will be less likely to stumble upon it.

So why has this faced opposition? I would guess that it has much to do with the fact that nobody wants to responsibly face how prevalent pornography is out of fear of looking like they associate with a stigmatizing industry.

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  1. It probably has to do with the appearance of supporting/approving of porn.

  2. Now if we can just get the porn peddlers to STAY in that TLD and not sneak their garbage into other places to push it into unwilling faces.....

  3. Maybe we should also have a .PDS (Palin derangement syndrome) for websites like Politico, Alternet, the PPP, Newsweek, any newspaper, etc.

    That way, it would be "less easy for people to find [liberals] in a regular web search. Children will be less likely to stumble upon it."

  4. FelixAndAva's comment shows how a lack of understanding of how the Domain Name System (DNS) works in practice means these hopes are unrealistic to impossible. It's not a question of getting them to "stay" there, if only because if the .xxx domain is operational it's been so for only a few days.

    The question here is rather how are you going to evict the millions of porn domains from their existing locations to the the .xxx Top Level Domain (TLD). Especially when they're spread out over many many legal jurisdictions.

    Then we get into the questions of where do you draw the line and who does it? Do you think Americans are going to be able to get the world's "Page Three girls" (link is quasi-Safe For Work) exiled to .xxx domains when their governments tolerate publication of these topless women in newspapers?

    Nothing really works here aside from an individual country's Maximum Effort like the Great Firewall of China (and I'm not sure any other country has been able to muster the effort and expense to do this), it's an eternal game of wack-a-mole.

    And so far the experiences of non-authoritarian governments that have gone in this direction is that it's an irresistible temptation to political abuse of the (i.e. Australia and one of the Scandinavian (I think) countries). I hope it goes without saying that such an effort in the USA would be doomed to failure in 15 different ways ... and would you want Team Obama deciding which web sites you could look at???

  5. I think that another reason some may have lobbied against this vote was due to ad revenue and loss of traffic.

    For a long time www.whitehouse.com was a porn site that got tons of traffic for obvious reasons. It was purchased by some political group and then sold to another reseller. (where it apparently sits today)

    So the question: Should someone (government, business, etc) come in and forced www.whitehouse.com to change? Who exactly should have that ability?

    As any website/blog knows, traffic = business = $$$

    Are there any issues of Free Speech here that we should at least pause to consider?

    "Children will be less likely to stumble upon it." - images.google.com -> search for something deemed inappropriate. I understand what the change is intended to do, but we will see what it actually does.

    Just questions.