Sunday, June 27, 2010

ICANN will set up adult-only TLD

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names, ICANN, has agreed to create a new TLD suffix, “xxx”, for “adult entertainment Web sites” (and that’s a euphemism), according to a story Saturday June 26 in the Business Day section of the New York Times, by Miguel Helft, “For X-rated, a domain of their own”, link here.

The religious right fears that the measure will make Internet pornography more acceptable, whereas legitimate web operators fear that it could lead to more censorship and push legitimate but adult-leading content into the XXX category.

Proponents of the measure believe that the measure will, in practice, make it easier to keep commercial pornography away from minors, an original aim of COPA.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Facebook's approach to protecting minors: limit the access of search engines

Facebook does have a stance on protecting minors, as it says on its Privacy Control page that it will not allow search engines to index the information of minors until their 18th birthday, even if they’ve deliberately chosen “everyone” options. However Facebook says that “name, profile picture, gender and networks” can be indexed (the no-search “does not apply” to these three items) so their existence (by name) is available search engines. It’s conceivable that such exceptions could present issues for some families.

It’s an interesting concept in the “protection” of minors on the Internet – trying to limit what people can find out about them, as opposed to limiting what minors can view. I don’t recall that this view of things came up during the COPA trial.

In the early days of the Web, people used meta tags with keywords to get their pages indexed, but quickly that became rather unnecessary.

Coordinated post: BillBoushka blog, June 5.

Friday, June 04, 2010

An argument against filters? Just that times change?

Here is an interesting blog entry by Ben Black of “Systems Xpert” on “Ben Eficium” from May 12, 2010, “Why I am against the Internet filter”, link here.

The piece is not organized exactly as a first college freshman English theme. But he does list some points, and argue them. Filters affect Internet performance, he says. True, but so do many things (like P2P). But his main point seems to be that proxies and tunneling services bypass filters so easily that they are ineffective. Governments will censor anyway, he says, and governments are behind the times. A libertarian position; not quite, because filters are supposed to put some controls in private hands.

There was a lot of testimony at the COPA trial in Philadelphia about filters in the fall of 2006 (I was there in person for one day of it). It’s probably becoming less relevant with time.