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Username: markusbaccus
Date/Time: Tue, October 24, 2000 at 7:46 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.01 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: a voluntary association: ".kids" is ok, but a mandatory ".xxx" is not.


     There is a strong distinction between a ".kids" and ".sex/.xxx" TLD. 
Consider this example:  You are a merchant who sells to children.  The town mayor comes to you and says: "Hey- we are opening up a new public mall which caters to kids in the neighborhood, would you like some floorspace there?  You can use it to augment what you have built up here."  Now imagine you are a merchant who caters to adults as a member of the porn industry.  (that's right- your a porn king).  The mayor comes to you and says:  "You know we have this new zoned area for adult bookstores and bars in the neighborhood, and we want you to move your operation there.  I know you have a lot of out-of-town customers who have been coming here for five years, but the city council is considering making this mandatory, so if I were you I would get a good spot in the adult zone while you still can."

In other words, a ".kids" TLD would be a voluntary association with a group of speakers who meet minimal qualifications.  For example, an educational institution is not *required* to get a ".edu" domain, [as it could get a ".com", ".org" or ".net" domain], but the institution might *choose* a ".edu" domain in order that others can find the site more easily. 

Similarly, anyone who is willing to aim appropriate content at kids during saturday morning T.V. is free to do so if they choose to do so.  A ".kids" area is analogous to this choice.  It would be an area which many (of those who want to speak to children) would find desirable to be involved in, merely because it would most likely create a "parent approved", safe haven for children's content without the need for untrustworthy, draconian content filters.  It would empower parents to restrict their child's access to a part of the web which they know meets certain minimum standards.  (Currently, those standards would include the recent U.S. law regarding marketing to minors, as well as a ban on the usual suspects, such as pornography, drugs, etc.) 

Different variants of the TLD could be used to resolve differences in national child protection laws, such as ".uskid", ".ukkid", etc.

On the other hand, a ".xxx/.sex" TLD is a very dangerous idea.  It would create a ghetto which many speakers would be reluctant to relocate to because of the significant stigma associated with the adult pornography business.  Furthermore, many of those speakers would be rightfully reluctant to be forced to abandon a ".com" which they have built up over the last five years.  Finally, there is the distinct possibility that different governments would seek to make the scheme mandatory. 

Once tolerated, the principle could readily spread to areas which were never intended, such as ".hate", or ".politics", or ".satire".  All in the name of saving the children from the usual amorphous suspects:  Incitors of Terrorist acts, Child porn, hate speech, drug pushers, nuns who bet on sunday, etc.  (Won't someone pleeeeze think of the CHild-ren!!!)

  Perhaps one day you might recieve a nasty email, saying in effect that you have drawn the great displeasure of his Excellency, the Potentate of Kraplapistan, and that you must remove all discussion of your hemp-based fertilizer from your site as it conflicts with the sovereign drug laws of the Republic of Kraplapistan and impermissably burdens the budding Republic's number one export: hormone enhanced bovine excrement.  Or as here, someone writes a webmaster demanding that all insulting or satirical posts be removed or else they will sue to force this entire site into the ".satire" domain. 

This is just the latest example of ICANN presenting ideas which are fundamentally dangerous to our freedom.  No American should cow-tow to some dictator's idea of what constitute's appropriate content, let alone some agency of the Clinton Administration.  Stop purveying these poorly thought out "solutions" to non-existent problems, hire some decent constitutional scholars to provide some expertise in the proper role and mechanisms of would-be government, and leave the one-world socialism to Chairman Lenin's ghost.



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