According to research published in the February issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 42 percent of teens surveyed indicated that they were confronted by unwanted porn on the Internet.

So when is some sort of action going to take place to stop this? And by that I mean installing an-easy-to-block .xxx top-level domain (TLD).

Though it may not solve the problem, it will not hurt, and at least it would be an attempt to do something!

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This particular research resulted in the following interesting assertion: "Although there is evidence that most youth are not particularly upset when they encounter unwanted pornography on the Internet, [the unwanted porn] could have a greater impact on some youth than voluntary encounters with pornography. ... Some youth may be psychologically and developmentally unprepared for unwanted exposure, and online images may be more graphic and extreme than pornography available from other sources."

And yes, despite all the promotion for porn, most people do not like it, and nobody likes it shoved in their face out of the blue.

So ask yourself: Why do various family and fundamentalist pressure groups detest the idea of the .xxx top-level domain, which can be effortlessly blocked by people who do not want porn in their lives?

They think it is because porn will be easier to find. So what? It will be easier to block, too, and most people will block it.

This brings me to an incident that happened in the Kelly Middle School in the apparently backward community of Norwich, Connecticut.

There, a substitute teacher was on a school computer and ran into a pop-up porn storm. I haven't seen one of these for years, since pop-ups are easily blocked with Firefox. But, apparently, they still exist.

So this teacher couldn't stop the pop-ups and some kids saw it, and she got 40 years in prison as a sentence because she didn't unplug the computer immediately.

Just to make sure that she got Connecticut kangaroo-court justice, nobody who knew anything about these sorts of Web sites was allowed to testify.

The case is outlined in a news report here and updated here. And finally, here is a blog discussion of it.

Oh, and PC Magazine's Larry Seltzer covered it in his Security Watch piece in late January.

Here are a couple of things that were not made clear to the jury.

First, you have to know how easy it is — especially for someone who knows little about computers — to be caught up in a pop-up storm. She had to be trying to clear the screen for the storm to initiate. I guess there's not a person in Norwich that has a clue about how that works.

And second, I doubt seriously that someone who is a substitute teacher, with apparently little computer experience, would know to unplug the machine.

I would think that such a person thought that unplugging would harm the machine somehow and she'd get in trouble for doing so. Most people unfamiliar with computers are constantly afraid of damaging them.

Of course, if anyone should be prosecuted by the government, it shouldn't be the teacher, but the pornographers pumping out pop-up sites.

Were they indicted for anything that happened in Norwich? I think not. And, apparently, the school was remiss for not having adequate or up-to-date blocking software. The principal should hang then.

Would an .xxx TLD have prevented this situation and its subsequent miscarriage of justice? Maybe. Maybe not. But you would have to worry less about the up-to-date blocking software, since .xxx will always be .xxx.

And, yes, I know that some porn kingpins will not abide by the .xxx domain and still force porn upon us. But if they ever end up in court, they will not have any excuse, and that possibility should lead them all into the domain eventually.

Someday .xxx will happen, and this whole thing will become marginalized and controlled, as it should be.

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