December 12, 2013

Cultural Comment: Pornographers Hiding Out Online

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires that every registered website provide to it accurate and reliable contact information.  This is a wise deterrent to crime, however many porn sites do not provide such information. Instead, they give false or unusable mailing addresses, emails, and phone numbers to hide the identity of website owners. A recent Washington Post article shed light on this problem by investigating a popular rape porn website that charges a fee to customers viewing this vilest of hardcore material.

Why do such site operators feel the need to hide? Perhaps they fear rape laws in the U. S. or in countries where such material originates.  Some of the material depicted may be of actual rapes or at least depicts material that is indistinguishable from actual rape.  According to the Post article, the rape porn site it investigated bragged that, “This is, without a doubt, the sickest and most depraved rape fantasy content I have EVER seen. . . . Even if you are a seasoned fan, like me, you may STILL come away shocked.”  If site operators don’t fear rape laws, perhaps they fear U.S. obscenity laws, which prohibits distribution of hardcore, “obscene” material via the Internet. While some First Amendment extremists say that such laws are passé, we doubt that there is a jurisdiction anywhere in America that would find rape porn acceptable under current community standards. We suggest that ICANN and the U. S. Attorney General combine efforts to attack all rape websites.  There would be few complaints.

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