Local News

State House Passes Resolution Supporting New Domain Name For Internet Porn

Posted September 24, 2002 5:33 a.m. EDT

— Online users are often confronted with spam involving pornography on the Internet. A local woman is trying to change all that.

Mary Conyers' crusade began when her young granddaughter opened a pornographic Web site by mistake shortly after Sept. 11.

"I promised her that day that I was going to do something to stop this and I've got to keep that promise," she said.

Conyers has pushed for months to have porn Web addresses end with .xxx, instead of .com or .net. On Monday, Conyers' group,

Protect Every Child

, got a boost from the state Legislature. House members unanimously passed a resolution requesting the state's Congressional delegation support the .xxx domain name.

Some in the Internet security business praise the efforts of Protect Every Child, but say changing to .xxx will be a tough road.

"It's entirely voluntary and it doesn't stop anybody overseas from keeping a different domain name," security consultant Gary Cooper said.

The problem is not about just Web sites. Companies are also able to obtain your e-mail address to send photos.

"If your e-mail address is on a company Web site, that's a very good way. There are programs just like Yahoo or Google that search the Internet. These programs search the Internet for e-mail addresses," Cooper said.

There are a few services that can help filter out pornographic e-mail, but online users do have to give up some freedom. Sept. 11 made Conyers fight for her First Amendment rights and those of her grandchildren.

"I was Minnie Mouse before Sept. 11. Now, I'm trying to be Mighty Mouse," she said.

The amount of unsolicited e-mail on the Internet is exploding. According to recent numbers, 37 percent of spam represents a type of get-rich quick scheme, 25 percent is adult-related and 18 percent deals with software offers. Various promotions for investments and vacations also fill users' e-mail boxes.