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.xxx Suffix To Be Adopted

When the Internet first began, there was a semblance of order in assigning top-level domain names. .com domains were to be used only for companies. .net were to be used for Internet-related businesses, .org for non-profit organizations, and so on. Canada had very strict rules about the .ca suffix, legislating that only businesses that operated out of at least two provinces could use the .ca suffix. All others had to use a provincial suffix such as .on.ca, or even lengthy regional suffixes.

For good or for ill, this has long since fallen out of favor and at this time anyone can register just about any suffix. One of the few exceptions is .gov, which is still restricted to American government sites (so much for international equity in assigning domain names).

For many years now there has been talk of adopting the .xxx suffix for pornographic web sites. To this point proposals have been rejected, but it now seems that we will soon see such a suffix. The industry that drives much of the Internet, bringing in some $12 billion per year, will have its own “virtual red light district.”

An article at FoxNews says “ICM (an Internet Registry) “‘xxx’ Web addresses, which it plans to sell for $60 a year, will protect children from online smut if adult sites voluntarily adopt the suffix so filtering software used by families can more effectively block access to those sites.” Of course this is only partially true. If it was legislated that all pornographic content must be hosted at a .xxx domain, it would be wonderful and would go a long ways to protect children (and adults). However, this obviously will not be the case. While Internet filters can be quickly adapted to block all .xxx domains, this does not mean that there will be any fewer nasty sites using domains in .com, .net, .us and so on.

While there will no doubt soon be thousands or tens of thousands of active sites using the new .xxx suffix, this will do nothing to advance the cause of protecting us against pornography. In reality, it will only help Internet pornographers take their smut to a wider audience.


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