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Sen. Pryor still backs .xxx domain for ‘Net

LITTLE ROCK – Sen. Mark Pryor says he still likes the idea of an Internet designation for pornography sites and will continue efforts to create an “.xxx” domain name.

Pryor, D-Ark., said the separate domain would help protect children from pornographic Web sites, but the Family Research Council fears that a specialized domain would create a virtual “red light district.”

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which designates domain names, last spring rejected the creation of an .xxx domain. Pryor on Wednesday pressed again for the domain at a Senate subcommittee hearing, where a bill now stands.

Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council said Wednesday the bill would pertain only to the United States and would be unenforceable elsewhere.

“We think it’s good intentions, but a horrible idea,” McClusky said. “All you’re doing is, one, it’s legitimizing pornography. But, additionally, there’s no way to enforce that pornography sites go to the .xxx domain. All we’re doing is creating a red light district.”

Pryor said pornography on the Internet is already a problem.

“Basically the Bush administration has taken the view that if we set up the .xxx domain, it might lead to the proliferation of pornography on the Internet,” Pryor said. “Well, I’ve got news for them. It is prolific.”

A Justice Department study said that one-third of children ages 10 to 17 are exposed to unwanted pornography on the Internet, Pryor said.

“I don’t think we can bury our heads in the sand,” Pryor said.

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