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  • Smigiel (R) solves the Internet Porn Problem

       January 21, 2005

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I have terrific news! Maryland State Representative Michael D. Smigiel, Jr. has forever solved the internet porn problem!

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Despite the best filters, pornography could still find its way onto children's computer screens -- but perhaps not for long.

    A Maryland lawmaker believes he has come up with a simple, cost-free way to block online pornography, television station WBAL reported.

    Even the most innocent, innocuous commands while searching the Internet can turn up sites that make parents blush and dive for the delete button, the station reported.

    The solution? Calling porn what it is by adding ".sex" to the end of the Web site address.

    "As a parent, I have this wonderful research tool available that has so many land mines that are out there that I don't want to have to explain to my children," said Delegate Michael Smigiel Sr.

    Smigiel, who is the House Deputy Minority Whip, brainstormed what he called a simple solution that he's confident will receive wide support in the state's General Assembly.

    "This bill would require that any sexually-explicit materials sent over the Internet to have a suffix of dot-sex," Smigiel said.

    "Dot sex" would be easy for computer filters to weed out because the material would be flagged at the Internet service provider level, the port where online information travels. That way, material adults deem unfit for children wouldn't find their way into schools, libraries or home offices, the station said.

    "They [ISPs] will be able to afford to do this because they could sell those names, ... [they would be] able to sell that name for what the market would allow that money would be used to put in these filters," Smigiel said.

    The bill is being filled as a commercial law, not a criminal matter. ISPs that do not comply would be fined $1,000 per violation.

    According to Smigiel, the feedback so far is universal.

    "What took so long? Why didn't anybody think of this before?" he said others say.

    Of course, I'm being facetious.

    My Lord, where do I even begin with this guy? From reading the article you would think that porn providers don't actively TRY to get their site to pop up when uses "innocuous" search "commands." I'm sure that Mr. Smigiel sees that little disclaimer on the bottom of his spammail and thinks "Oh, golly gee, another marketer accidentally contacted me by error! I know that these guys make every effort to only contact people that specifically ask for this email because it says that right there in the disclaimer!"

    What a tool. I want to say "Let's start with the obvious," but the problem of not knowing where to start still remains because there are so many glaringly obvious problems.

    • First off, lets start with the jurisdiction/enforcement issues: Even if the U.S. could pass a law like this, the U.S. government doesn't have authority/jurisdiction to enforce it against foreign defendants. Pass a law, it may apply to 100 U.S. companies, but won't apply to 10,000,000 foreign companies.

    • The U.S. government doesn't own the internet. While one could make a case that the U.S. government effectively "controls" 8 of the top level domains, they could NOT make the same case for the 100+ other top level domains. (i.e. .uk, .de. .fr, etc.) So if Jacques puts porn on, what is Mr. Smigiel going to do? Invade France?

    • Third, as a technical matter, ISP's don't sell names, registrars do. And ISP's don't get money from registrars. The man is clearly confusing "ISP's" with "hosting companies," or just lumping everything internet-related together - "Internetty-companies, they have all that money, right?"

    • Fourth, I'm tired of making this list. This is such a phenomenonally stupid idea that I can't bear to waste any more time on it, so I'll jump to

    • four-point-fifth - didn't ICAAN take a similar issue up with the proposed .xxx domain? Libraries before Legislation, Mr. Smigiel.

    • Fifth, the whole crazy idea, despite being functionally and technically flawed, is also almost certainly unconstitutional. Pornographic material is not necessarily obscene (Miller) and is entitled to first amendment protection. I'd recommend that this fellow read the applicable 1A case law. The library filtering cases (i.e. Mainstream Loudon) seem particularly instructive. In a layman's nutshell, if I have a right to show sexually explicit pictures, I have the right to do so right here on as much as I do on, especially considering that every other foreign-based dot-whatever will have porn on it.

    Smigiel says that everyone is applauding his brilliant idea, asking "[w]hy didn't anybody think of this before?" Yes, Mr. Smigiel, of all of the millions of people that have considered it, no one at ICAAN, no one at CERN, no one at Sun, no one at Oracle, no one at Cisco, no one at IBM, etc, no one in Congress (see failed Communication Decency Act), no one ANYWHERE thought of this incredibly simple yet brilliant idea. You're a regular Einstein, Mr. Smigiel.

    Posted by jkhat at January 21, 2005 10:23 PM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Dave Rhodes at January 25, 2005 02:41 PM

    Not to mention the most obvious of all--kids would find out about it and go looking for ".sex" sites (does nobody remember what 5th grade was like??) and this proposal puts them all right there for the taking!




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