Two Senators have introduced a bill that aims to create a virtual red light district on the Internet. Senator Mark Pryor from Arkansas and Max Baucus from Montana, both Democrats, have proposed their “Cyber Safety for Kids Act”, which would require websites with adult content to have an .xxx domain ending that only adults can access. The approach would allow programs to more effectively filter adult content by putting them all under a single domain ending, the Senators claim.
If it passes, the act would require adult oriented websites to re-register their names under the new .xxx endings within six months. Sites that fail to comply will be hit with fines.
The bill forces the Secretary of Commerce to work with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to make the .xxx domains. Since ICANN is technically an independent body, it could refuse to make the new domains, which would render the bill useless. In addition, it will be interesting to see how the Senators will deal with adult websites that are hosted outside of the United States.