.XXX and Child Protection…BULLSHIT!
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director
Throughout this month, the ICANN Board will discuss some final issues with its Government Advisory Committee (GAC) before determining the next step in .XXX’s destiny. It is imperative that adult industry professionals understand the serious ramifications of this complex issue. In this five-part series, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke points out some of the atrocities in ICM’s proposed .XXX TLD and explains why owning a .XXX TLD may be far more dangerous and detrimental to your business than not.
The adult entertainment industry is certainly no stranger to the use of “child protection” as a pretext to impose unnecessary regulations on it while engaging in direct attacks on the civil liberties of its members. But governments are not the only serial abusers of this hypocritical tactic. ICM also uses “child protection” as one of the fundamental reasons why a .XXX sTLD is needed. It even did so in its application when it made the vague promise to “support the development of tools and programs to protect vulnerable members of the community.”
ICM also promised ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) that it "will donate $10 per year per registration to fund IFFOR’s policy development activities and to provide financial support for the work of online safety organizations, child pornography hotlines, and to sponsor the development of tools and technology to promote child safety and fight child pornography.”
There's a problem with ICM's math, however. This is the same ten dollars per year per registration that ICM's Stuart Lawley described — and continues to describe—quite differently to the adult entertainment community. As recently as July, 2010, for example, he posted the following statement to XBIZ.NET:
“IFFOR will be tasked with setting the policies for .XXX. Details can be found on www.iffor.org. This is an independent entity from ICM and will be funded through a contract with ICM to the tune of $10 per registration per year. We estimate now that we will launch with between 300,000-500,000 names so that would translate to $3-$5 million a year for IFFOR.
“With annual operating costs of approximately $500,000 per year, substantial monies will be available for IFFOR to donate, sponsor and fund whatever initiatives it feels appropriate. We envisage a range of initiatives being considered, including but not limited to: health and safety of Adult Industry workers, legal challenges facing the industry such as 2257, piracy, counterfeiting, onerous legislation etc, labeling initiatives, combating child abuse, parental awareness etc.”
But ICM's use of "child protection" is even more cynically duplicitous than being fuzzy with how money will be spent. In telling GAC that it will use the $10 per year per registration for child protection, ICM has insinuated that the adult entertainment community needs ICM to save the Internet from the child predators that are the adult entertainment community. This is not only an insult to our industry, it also is a lie. The adult entertainment industry has always supported efforts to improve child Internet safety, especially greater parental involvement in filtering and supervising their children’s use of the Internet.
Ironically, though, several child advocate groups believe that a .XXX sTLD could do more harm than good. One such group is SafeKids.com, one of the oldest and most respected Internet safety websites. Its creator, Larry Magid, wrote, “As an Internet safety advocate, my concern about .XXX is that it could give parents a false sense of security. True, it would be very easy to configure browsers or filters to automatically block sites designated as .XXX, but since this is a voluntary program, there would be nothing to stop adult site operators from also using .com. It would be like setting up a red-light district in a community while also allowing adult entertainment establishments to operate in residential shopping centers.” He concluded, “I’m still not convinced that .XXX is in the best interest of child protection....”
The adult entertainment industry also knows full well that child pornographers and those who peddle adult material to minors would simply avoid .XXX and IFFOR, just as they now avoid the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and its members, and what currently is the legitimate adult entertainment industry. If ICM truly wants to help children, it would develop a .KIDS TLD, which it actually dropped it years ago in favor of the presumably more profitable scheme to leech off the adult entertainment industry.
Stuart Lawley promised ICANN that IFFOR will use $10 per registration for child protection. He promised the adult entertainment community that the very same money will be used to protect the industry. But it is NOT his money; it is your money, and it is a fraction of the amount ICM will try to suck out of you—all in the name of “child protection.”
Let me repeat. ICM and Stuart Lawley want to use your money to perpetuate the myth that child pornography is connected to the adult entertainment industry. But the industry already knows that the myth is not true. In fact, we know it's…BULLSHIT!!!!
Part Two of this five-part series will be posted to AVN.com Wed. March 2