Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

Summary: There are many different arguments for and against a .xxx top-level domain. What do you think?

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So here's the question: should the Internet have a .xxx top-level domain for porn? It seems like a pretty straightforward question, but the sides are massing to do battle over it once again.

The BBC is reporting that pressure is intensifying on ICANN to allow the .xxx TLD to be made available. Back in 2005, the ICANN had initially planned to create a .xxx top-level domain, but under pressure from conservative groups, backed off.

But now, a domain registrar by the name of ICM Registry is pushing for .xxx once again. The company claims it spent millions on fees to move the process forward. Of course, if they get the registration rights for .xxx, they stand to mint money, so it's probably a safe gamble.

But the question of .xxx isn't so clear cut. At first, for example, it seems like a no-brainer to have a .xxx domain where all the porn companies can go to sell their smut. Many legitimate sex content companies may welcome a domain of their own, where it's easy to apply content controls, and where they're safe to let it all hang out.

But then there's the issue of censorship. What if countries or regions decide to simply block the .xxx TLD? Wouldn't that make the .xxx domains into something of a ghetto? On the other hand, part of the reason for a .xxx TLD is to make it easy to block, so people who don't want that kind of thing can clearly keep it out.

Then there's the issue of true dirtbags, those people who sell or purvey smut and don't want to be restricted to the .xxx domain. Those people might hide their dirty sites amongst the more legitimate domains, effectively countering the benefit of the .xxx domain.

It's weird. Some anti-porn conservatives and pro-porn free speech advocates are on the same side. The anti-porn conservatives don't want anything having to do with porn, so they don't want to allow a .xxx top-level domain. And the free speech advocates are concerned that anything that self-identifies as porn will be censored, so they also argue against the .xxx domain.

See also: From 2004: The battle over triple 'x' From 2005: Bush administration objects to .xxx domains From 2007: ICANN rejects .xxx domain registry

What do you think? Does the Internet need it's PRON in the form of a .xxx domain? TalkBack below.

Topic: Browser

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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80 comments
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  • RE: Yes, I think .xxx should be made

    and I think that all porn or adult only content should be forced to move to .xxx. It would make it easy to protect children by blocking .xxx extensions in filters, and prevent honest mistakes of children who are doing research, say like on the Government. So when trying to go to WhiteHouse.gov, they won't go to the whitehouse.com, known adult site.

    Edit: by the way, china is already filtering based on content, not having .xxx doesn't stop them.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: RE: Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

      @JM1981 <br><br>Exactly.. At the very least Porn or "Adult Rated" Sites should have to register somehow so that they can be properly categorized. I work in education IT and one of my responsibilities is to manage the Web Content Filter and while it does a good job and it get's its filtering rules for URLs and Application signatures from one of the largest databases there are still many sites that come under the category of "none" that I always submit to the filter company for proper categorization and sometimes place a manual block on depending on the content. We had a parent threaten to sue the district about 2 years ago because her son came home with a picture of a naked women that he said he printed off a school computer. When I looked at the site where the picture came from by using the URL at the bottom of the page and running a report on that students internet history the page was a forum site where the picture was embedded into a forum reply post. I along with the lawyers had to say that we take every measure to block out the "bad" content but there are billions of web pages (probably) and sometimes some get over looked and we even had a statement from the web filtering company and the company that supplies the web categories stating these facts. We showed how we block certain categories and take a strong approach at blocking methods of using proxies to circumvent filtering. In the end the parent calmed down and finally placed the blame on her son where it should have gone in the first place.<br><br>On a side note I have been recommending the Free Live Essential Application called Family Safety and I have been getting nothing but positive feedback. I show people how to make or convert their children's user accounts as standard users and turn on the basic filtering. It seems to work well and the parents love it. Kids not so much.
      bobiroc
      • Why not restrict accessable URLs via whitelist?

        @bobiroc In the case of public school computers, it seems
        it could be easier to restrict browsing to only approved
        sites. If enough users request a site be added, you can
        then take that information to the appropriate authorities
        for inclusion. That may be easier than the blacklist, which
        is never going to block them all.
        Just an alternative.
        ps. I'm a parent and grandparent...I routinely check out
        where my kids wander, hehe!
        wizard57m-cnet
      • RE: Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

        @wizard57m... We already do this. At least, we already do this in my district.
        WarhavenSC
      • RE: Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

        @wizard57

        Not as easy as it sounds. I get lots of resistance from some teachers and students that we cannot "censor" the internet. My boss and most of Administration is no help because if it were up to my boss he would let the internet be wide open. He sees no problem letting students who are minors use their facebook, email, and IM sites while at school. We rely on the website categories and for the most part that does a good job. I still get flack for blocking out categories such as blogs/forums and game sites and those along with a couple other categories are the ones we allow by request with a legitimate need only.
        bobiroc
    • Defined by who?

      @JM1981... Porn and adult content, as defined by who? As wizard57m already pointed out, smut is relative from culture to culture. In the states, anything non-educational that has tits in it is smut. In GB and France, not true. In Iran, it would be a woman showing anything except her hands and eyes.

      "That ankle is <i>so</i> hot!"

      So, you'd run into the <i>exact</i> same thing we have with gambling: Host your pr0n site in the country with least amount of restrictions. Furthermore, I can't imagine very many porn sites willfully limiting their target audience by restricting their content to the .xxx TLD. Besides, they'd lose all those conservative politicians that would otherwise be viewing their homoerotic smut during Senate meetings.
      WarhavenSC
      • Well I will agree with you that there is a varying degree

        @WarhavenSC: however, I do believe that on average people do not want their 8 year old children looking at even mild porn like playboy, nor can I imagine would they want their 15 year old to wander into Adult Friend Finder.

        There will always be a grey area, but content that is specifically sexually explicit, and I think that there is an agreement on that is nothing more than strait up porn that should only be view of someone who is of legal age.

        I don't think I would rate an oil canvas of a nude woman as being porn, and that is where the grey area comes in, and that is where at least content rating comes in.

        I am not saying that it is an easy say, but their could be international input, the UN council perhaps... Get some agreement or standardization on how to determine what kind of content gets the .com or the .xxx.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

      @JM1981

      ... but who decides which content should be considered "adult only" and at what age does everyone agree defines when one is "an adult"?

      ... oh, and once these definitions are universally agreed upon, how are you going to "force" one entity or another to adhere to the .XXX domain?
      M Wagner
    • RE: Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

      @JM1981

      I'm glad you brought up China. They don't have free speech, and I guess you wouldn't miss it here.

      Forcing anyone into certain domains is censorship. Then we have to decide what is porn, and who should get to see it. After that, censoring other things will be easy. Maybe something you want to research will be blocked.

      Just remember that you wanted it that way.

      Freedom, freedom, freedom, freedom.

      FLAP Freedom Lovers Against Propaganda
      Hameiri
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  • YES

    Any other answer,is just people that will have there porn blocked at work,or kids that shouldn't be surfing for porn anyways. And its not just for kids,there are millions of adults that don't want porn just popping up randomly like it does now.
    Why wouldn't we want to give parents every tool to protect there children. Having an xxx domain will not stop anyone from viewing the porn they want,and don't use well it will be easier tracked,everything you do NOW is tracked,so whats the difference? None
    Stan57
    • RE: Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

      @Stan57 When does porn just pop up randomly now? What kind of sites are you visiting or what are you searching for? I am curious where the problem is at because I have not run across a problem with this in many years. I looked at my google history, and I have 151 searches almost every day, i.e. I am a heavy Internet users doing a lot of searches and visiting a lot of sites on many different subjects. I can't even remember the last time I had an adult site randomly popping up. Google appears to me to do an excellent job of sorting adult sites out of the search results. Perhaps the problem is elsewhere, from a source that I do not frequent, such a sites that are typed in directly, chat or links from e-mail and forums?
      jamiedolan
  • Who would decide what was porn?

    If it were decided to utilize the ".xxx" TLD, that would just
    open another can of worms as to what measure would we
    use to mark something as porn. What is acceptable to
    one group is not acceptable to another. Who decides?
    Yes, on "paper" it looks like a good idea, but implementing
    it could be like herding cats.
    wizard57m-cnet
    • re: Who would decide...

      @wizard57m@... while I get your point... and for some people it may be a hard question to answer. For me it's easy... if it would belong in the little back room at the local video store, it would get a XXX domain.
      Badgered
      • Good Answer.

        @Badgered: Most porn site already rate their stuff XXX so why not.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • Some bookstores in America ...

        ... put Playboy in a back room. Some don't. Is nakedness porn or just picture of people having sex? As nudists pornographic? Is Michelangelo's David?

        Gettign agreement on this subject, in America, let alone across cultures just isn't going to happen.
        M Wagner
  • The whole concept of Top-Level Domains is useless

    There is no need for the use of the TLD system. It's purpose (if there ever really was one) has gone awry. We should eliminate the TLDs and just have domain names. No need for .com, .edu, .gov, dot-this and dot-that.
    sismoc
    • RE: Should the Internet have a .XXX TLD for porn?

      @sismoc

      I disagree. In the U.S., where it was all invented, .COM, .EDU, .GOV, .ORG, and .MIL all mean something and though they are not used uniformly, it is helpful for the casual user to get an idea of what type of site it is.

      That said, everywhere else, two-letter suffixes represent countries. These are less valuable because, for all intents and purposes, all sites are global - and because companies wanting an international audience use the standard prefixes no matter where their servers are actually located.

      Still the basic suffixes remain helpful.
      M Wagner
      • RE: without the TLD

        @sismoc... How would you know if you typed in WhiteHouse, if you are going to get the porn site or the office of the President?
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • Without the TLD

      @sismoc How do you know if you are going to end up at the porn site or the office of the president if you just type in whitehouse?
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh