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Pence wants dot-porn designation

By ELLIOT SMILOWITZ   |   May 24, 2005 at 8:49 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 24 (UPI) -- Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., thinks one way to keep pornography on the Internet away from children is to segregate it, and he is proposing such sites be confined to a dot-porn designation.

"We've got to be creative within constitutional protections" to prevent minors from accessing pornography, Pence told a recent summit sponsored by the American Decency Association, Kids First Coalition and other family values groups. "The Supreme Court seems more enamored with protecting obscene speech than with protecting everyday citizens."

Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., said even innocuous phrases, such as "baseball" and "Pokemon," turn up pornographic results when searched for in Kazaa and BearShare peer-to-peer programs.

"At any given moment, millions of people are using peer-to-peer technology to move hundreds of millions of products," Pitts said. "We simple do not have the manpower and technology to enforce the laws that we have on the books."

Dan Gluckman, a 20-year-old college student from New York and an avid user of the Internet, said he thought the dot-porn idea was a good solution.

"Right now, it's pretty easy to come across pornographic sites," he said, and noted the now-defunct mislabeled porn Web site WhiteHouse.com. "Sometimes, a simple misspelling of a URL will inadvertently bring you to a pornographic Web site."

Gluckman said while dot-porn would make pornography less accessible to children the flip side is "for users who do want to enjoy pornography, it makes it much easier to find the sites."

Pence sponsored the Truth In Domain Names Act in 2003, which made it a crime for a pornographic Web site to be misrepresented as anything else. "There aught to be a standard of integrity of domain names," Pence said.

Also at the summit, Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Fla., warned against the social power of pornography and called it "the malignant desensitizer that changes a person's perception."

"These monsters that prey upon our children can strike anywhere," she said and added there should be stricter penalties against sexual offenders.

Daniel Weiss, of the group Focus on the Family, said that "lax law enforcement" has allowed pornography to take root with many children. "When pornography becomes a filter through which life is viewed, damage occurs," he said.

© 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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