Utah Governor Wants Net Porn To Be Put In Its Own Port

from the censorship-disguised-as-technology dept

The governor of Utah has signed a resolution (via Broadband Reports) urging Congress to pass a law that would separate the internet into an "adult content channel" and a "family content channel. The proposal involves the "Internet Community Ports Act", which was created by anti-porn group CP80 (incidentally headed by the chairman of the SCO Group), and seeks to ensure that port 80, which generally carries HTTP traffic, becomes a "clean" port, with objectionable content moved to another port so people could easily block it with a firewall. There are plenty of reasons this isn't a good idea, apart from how obviously difficult it would be to implement, but the biggest being that it would force the creation of some sort of arbiter of what is and isn't objectionable -- and as the EFF points out, this would be a de facto censor making wholly subjective decisions. This is the same sort of problem with trying to force porn sites to use the proposed .XXX domain. Still, CP80 thinks it's a great idea, and a member of the group says the Utah resolution shows that "people are crying out" for the government to do something about the scourge of internet porn. Of course, he followed that up by likening the internet to a small appliance: "It's a toaster, we made it, we can fix it." This "problem" he cites is one that individuals can seek to solve on their own, should they see fit; lobbying the government for unnecessary, ineffective and impossible to implement laws, let alone laws enabling censorship, won't do anybody any good.

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  1. icon
    John (profile), 16 Mar 2007 @ 1:20pm

    And what is porn

    Like a previous poster mentions, who decided what is and isn't "porn"? Most people can agree that hardcore pictures and video are "porn", but what about Playboy style images?
    What about the Sports Illustrated Swuimsuitt edition- there's no nudity, but it's sexy. Is this porn? Not to me, but it might be to some highly conservative people. And what if one of these people decided that the entire SI site should be on the "bad" port just for showing these "porn" images?

    And how long until the fallout from this new rule hits? Will medical sites with nudity be consigned to the "bad" port? What happens when people try to do legitimate research, but can't? Will a woman looking for information on breast cancer be denied information because the medical sites are on a blocked "bad" port?

    What about people doing research about art? Will Michaelango's "David" be on the bad port because it's nude? Does this mean people won't be able to visit the virtual Louvre? Or will art sites and museums have to remove anything that anyone could possibly ever construe as being "porn"?

    And who's going to administer the list of sites on the port? Will the list contains billions of individual pages or only top-level domains? Will this list be forever playing catch-up with sleazy sites that change domain names every-other-day?

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