Rating System Urged For Adult Internet Control

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An influential U.S. Senator warned the adult entertainment industry on
Thursday that if it does not develop a rating system for its Internet
content, Congress will.

"My advice to your clients is that you better do it soon or we will
mandate it if you don't," Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska,
chairman of the Commerce Committee, told Paul Cambria, general counsel
to the Adult Freedom Foundation. "If you do not wish to do it, then we
will, but you probably will not like our system very much either."

Cambria told the committee hearing that it was the first time his
group had been invited to testify before Congress on the issue and he
would take the message back to his clients.

"I take that as a message and mandate to my clients that we should do
that," Cambria said. "I might welcome a shot across the bow rather
than one between the eyes."

Tim Lordan, executive director of the Internet Education Foundation,
said about 75 percent of Internet pornography comes from overseas,
beyond the reach of U.S. laws. He said parents play a crucial role in
keeping unwanted material away from their children and that a rating
system would help.

James Burrus of the FBI, illustrating how pervasive the problem is,
said that a word search on "pornography" produced 19 million results.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Laura Parsky said law enforcement is
using increasingly sophisticated techniques, including following the
path of financial transactions, to crack down on child pornography.
Younger children are being abused and the images are becoming more
disturbing, she said.

"In the past several years, the children we have seen in these images
have been younger and younger, and, very regrettably, the abuse
depicted has been increasingly more severe and is often sadistic," she
said.

She declined to comment on a Justice Department subpoena of Google
Inc., saying she could not talk about ongoing investigations. The
department is seeking documents as part of the agency's probe of
Internet pornography and the company rejected the demand as
overreaching by the government.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: FBI agent Burrus may be correct in his
assessment that Googling the term "pornography" 'produced 19 million
results' -- I do not know, I did not go through and count them all --
and even though he _may_ be correct in his count, much of it will be
repeated references to the same article (I have seen the same reference
show up three or four times for the same source material) and much of
it will not be pornography as such but merely references to the topic.
For example, when this article gets indexed by Google, it will probably
show up three or four times depending on how the inquirer places his
quotation marks and other punctuation. "Pornography produced" (with
quotes like that) would produce a result each time this Digest is
indexed (either by my efforts or those of other users whose collection
of back issues of TD are indexed); 'pornography' will produce a
different item count for the same reason, etc. And did he include in
his count all the jillions of references to 'Viagra', 'Ciallis' and
similar?  I can see his point however; there is an awful lot of that
stuff on the net; too much really for most people's good at all.  But
how many of those people would voluntarily deal with any type of
'adult code' is difficult to predict.   PAT]
 

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