At the Utah Valley Business Expo last week I ran into a company that is fighting pornography — CP80. I had subscribed to their newsletter a while ago but didn’t know they were a Utah company. I met their president and some of the employees and was impressed by how strongly they feel about the issue.
As a bit of background, Internet traffic is divided into separate “channels” which are called “ports”. For example, port 80 is for web pages, port 443 for secure web pages, port 25 for email between ISP’s, and port 5190 for AOL Instant Messenger. There are over 65,000 ports in all, and many of them go unused.
CP80 is advocating that pornographic web sites be transmitted, by law, over a separate port. (The company was originally named Clean Port 80, implying that only “clean”, non-pornographic material should be transmitted over port 80.) This is similar to separate cable channels for TV shows.
If all pornographic material were transmitted over a separate port, it would be easy for filtering software to work — simply disallow content from the “porn channel”. This would make it easy for parents and schools to protect children from pornography. As it is now, internet filtering programs generally don’t work well because they have to maintain a database of “bad sites” or look for “bad words” in the text.
Like the idea of a separate TLD for porn sites, CP80 will only work if all porn publishers are required by law to transmit over a separate channel and the law well enforced.
If CP80 can get the right legislation passed, this is an intuitive solution to the problem. They’ve already met with all the Utah Congressmen. Senator Orrin Hatch said pornography is a “clear and present danger to children and families,” an interesting choice of words since those words represent the legal basis for limiting free speech.