Friday, March 30, 2007 If We Can Regulate So Many Stupid Things, Why Can't We Regulate Something That Really Would Make Us Safer?

In a move that would probably make the internet a safer place for all of us, especially our children, the agency that sets the Internet addressing guidelines influencing how people navigate the Web defeated a proposal Friday to give adult Web sites their own ".xxx" domain.

Many in the adult-entertainment industry and religious groups alike had criticized the plan, (did I really read that right? Religious groups and the porn industry agree on something???) which the Canadian government also warned this week could leave the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in the tricky business of content regulation. The 9-5 decision by ICANN's board came nearly seven years after the proposal was first floated by ICM Registry LLC. It was the third time ICANN has rejected such a bid. One member, in practicing "safe naming", abstained from voting.

"We are extremely disappointed by the boards action today," said Stuart Lawley, ICM's president and chief executive. "It is not supportable for any of the reasons articulated by the board, ignores the rules ICANN itself adopted for the RFP, and makes a mockery of ICANN by-laws' prohibition of unjustifiable discriminatory treatment." He added that ICM would pursue the matter energetically.

Many of the board members said they were concerned about the possibility that ICANN could find itself in the content regulation business if the domain name was approved. Others criticized that, saying ICANN should not block new domains over fears like that, noting that local, state and national laws could be used to decide what is pornographic and what is not. Now, adding the .xxx domain would have been easy, passing a law is going to cost us a crapload of money in legislation that probably won't work.

Other board members said they believed that opposition to the domain by the adult industry, including Web masters, content providers and others, was proof that the issue was divisive and that ".xxx" was not a welcome domain. I guess it would be easier to see what porn sites you'd been to recently if you checked out somebody's history cache and looked for any .xxx domains, hunh?

So, how do we protect our kids from internet porn? I guess there is only 1 answer to that question. Watch your friggin' kids. Look at their history file. We can regulate everything else in the world, including smoking in cars which was stupid to legislate in the first place as this took some common sense, but we can't make the internet any safer for our kids.

This is a plus for NBC. It means that their "Dateline NBC: To Catch A Predator" just got picked up for another season. Congratulations to NBC and welcome to the new players in internet porn!