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Morality in Media Leader: .XXX Won’t Help Protect Kids

Group's president calls domain an excuse to not enforce obscenity laws.

Morality in Media Leader: .XXX Won’t Help Protect Kids
NEW YORK - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers agreed on Thursday to approve a recommendation to loosen language barriers on domain name extensions.

 

Currently, there are 21 top-level domains, including .com, .org and .net.

 

When asked about the .xxx top-level domain that ICANN rejected in March 2007, ICANN President Paul Twomey said the new system would be "open to anyone," according to a news report.

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"Offensive names will be subject to an objection-based process based on public morality and order," ICANN said, adding that it "will not be the decision-maker on these objections."

"If a .xxx domain is destined to come into existence, perhaps it is better that it be just one of countless new domains, rather than one of the very few officially authorized by ICANN," said Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media. "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."

 

Unlike zoning for "adult uses" in real space, Peters said, pornographers in cyberspace will not be required to use the new .xxx domain, and many won't.

 

"Others will use the new domain but will also retain their current .com domain," he said. "If anything, there will be more porn websites."

Peters noted that websites that use the .xxx top-level domain will not be required to provide age-verification systems, and he said the domain will not protect children from sexual predators who use "adult porn" to tempt children.

"Additionally, the .xxx domain will not protect society from hardcore pornography," he said. "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.'"

Peters said the .xxx top-level domain, which has been widely rejected by the adult-sponsored community, would become an excuse to not enforce federal Internet obscenity laws. He cited the zoning of adult businesses in real space as an example.

 

"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," he said.  

Upon ICANN's approval of the final expansion plan, Peters said, organizations that opposed the original .xxx domain proposal probably will urge the international arbitration body to reject the 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,'" he said.  


 






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