Senators Promote Red-Light District on Internet

Two Democratic senators want Internet pornography segregated from other Web content in an ".xxx" domain -- a virtual red-light district on the Internet.

Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas introduced legislation Thursday that would direct the Bush administration to create the new Internet domain.

Pornographic Web sites would be required to relocate there, ideally consolidating them all in one Internet neighborhood that would allow parents to more easily filter material they consider inappropriate for their children to view.

Baucus compares the idea to city zoning for adult stores.

"Parents should not have to worry about their children surfing into Web sites for adults, either on purpose or by accident," he said.

The legislation may be hard to pass, with Christian conservatives and the pornography industry both opposing the measure.

The Free Speech Coalition, one of the nation's largest adult entertainment trade groups, calls the idea "ghettoization" and says it could be unconstitutional.

"The adult Internet is not like brick and mortar," said spokesman Tom Hymes, who predicted that forcing international adult sites to move from ".com" to ".xxx" would be difficult.

The conservative groups Focus on the Family, Family Research Council and others at least temporarily blocked creation of a ".xxx" domain last year by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. So many complaints were received that ICANN put off a final decision on creation of the domain.