Christian · Lifestyle

The XXX-Factor

Well, ICANN the internet domain overseeing organisation has finally given permission the top-level domain .xxx to be registered and used.

The arguments for and against this move have been wheeled out again and again over the years as ICANN has dragged its feet on making this decision for some time. In fact its a debate I can remember having way back in the early 90s when this thing called the web was first drawing us geeks off the bulletin board (BBS) system that used to keep us up all night when phone calls were cheap enough to allow us to use newsgroups to talk about the latest 486 processors and the possibilities of upgrading RAM as far as 512Kb or even a heady 1mb.

The xxx domain suffix is problematic for the internet authorities because they don’t want to be seen to legitimise pornography on the web, despite the existence of many millions of sexually explicit  sites and the genuine ease of access to hardcore pornography ICANN has been burying its head in the sand about the issue and I think hoping that the problem will go away or somehow resolve itself.

Now I know that many people of faith are opposed to the xxx domain they, like ICANN, will see it as legitimising a torrid and immoral media.  I can to an extent see their point, perhaps like legalising cannabis they see it as normalising behaviour that could be considered abhorrent and detrimentle to society.

But it is time to wise up. Pornography has been an issue since the first cave men learnt to paint, it has been an issue since the first pen & ink drawings and the first camera. Pornography on the internet has been around since the days of BBS’ and the first webpages.

Pornography is there, it is more prevalent and more accessible now than at anytime in history and it is more explicit and subversive than at any time in history.

I am all for the new domain. For one thing a number of pornographers themselves are opposed to it – this means they fear the ghetto-isation of pornography.  If the industry is fearful of anything it is being banished once more to the (virtual) top-shelf.  Porn  is addictive and abusive, like tobacco it is the addictiveness of the product that enable it to survive in the mainstream.   The xxx domain is feared by purveyors of porn because they think it is the 1st step to ensuring that all porn is limited to an easily censored and blocked top-level domain address.

This is the exact reason we should welcome the move and encourage all domain registrars to pressurise ICANN into formalising a ban on explicit content on any other domain suffix.

In the 20 years I have been using the internet I have only ever found one ISP willing to make an attempt to block porn at source, it is too expensive and to technically difficult to make it a viable service to offer,  even with great filtering services like OpenDNS cannot ensure a totally porn free web existence.  However moving all porn to an xxx domain would allow ISP to filter these sites at source and offer a much safer access to the web.

Of course porn will always be there, it will always available to those who want it – and there will always be site that flout the rules and individuals who make it available.  But xxx domains are a step in the right direction, a step towards making the internet a more usable experience.

Now domains will soon be available with the .xxx suffix we need ICANN to have the courage to put pressure on registrars, ISPs and and pornographers to ensure that this is the only place where pornography is legitimately available online and that people can by family-friendly web access that blocks this domain.

Its time for the internet to grow up and take some responsibility for its own house.

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One thought on “The XXX-Factor

  1. Yes, I think you're right, its high time to have the equivalent of a top shelf (although the purist in me hates the concept of a TLD for it). The one thing I doubt is that most pornographers are likely to use it. Given that some people will hijack forums and free hosting in order to advertise porn (and other financially rewarding but dubious enterprises) will they really volunteer to live entirely in their box?

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