opinion

ASACP Working Toward International Solutions

Tim Henning

The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) recently returned from its annual whirlwind tour of Europe, embarking upon the latest installment in its ongoing European and broader international outreach initiative.

This effort saw the association visit Amsterdam for the annual Webmaster Access business and networking event, held on Sept. 20-23, at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel; then off to London for the XBIZ EU conference, held Sept. 22-25 at the luxurious Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Hotel; and then to Budapest for The European Summit, staged Sept. 24-27, at The Buddha Bar Hotel.

The European scene is heating up, with new legislative moves causing a crackdown on adult-oriented materials on the Internet, now is the time for online companies to begin taking protective action. -Vince Charlton, U.K. ASACP

Each of these unique business-to-business educational and networking events offers something different to attendees and draws representatives from different segments of the adult entertainment and digital media ecosystem. This combines with the close proximity of the events’ dates and locations to make this the ideal time of year for ASACP to reach the growing range of international companies operating in the Internet and mobile arenas — wherever they may be located.

For example, Webmaster Access Amsterdam unites adult webmasters from across the European Union and beyond, ranking among the biggest shows targeting the European market and incorporating the Dutch Webmaster meeting and the AWM Open event that is targeted towards Russian webmasters. Additionally, a local installment of the executive networking traffic dinner and the annual GFY Party, bring together a diverse group of adult website operators and Internet service providers.

This event draws many operators that may not typically travel to U.S.-hosted events, leveraging the importance of the perennially popular gathering, so it was important for me to attend the event as part of ASACP’s international outreach, as it provides us with a platform for educating global digital businesses owners about the need to protect children on the Internet; and how our services, such as the Restricted To Adults (RTA) website meta-label, segment specific Best Practices and ASACP’s Code of Ethics, help to enable this endeavor.

Many of the businesses represented at Webmaster Access operate in jurisdictions outside of the reach of U.S. laws, where online child protection may not be high on the legal agenda. Bringing ASACP’s message of keeping children out of and away from adult entertainment and other age-restricted content to these companies is thus doubly needed and is a vital part of the association’s mission.

Next up was London’s XBIZ EU event, which brought together an executive mix of global digital media professionals for a series of symposiums, networking opportunities and more. XBIZ EU attracts adult entertainment website operators and their affiliates, plus content producers and a wide range of service providers in the interactive, mobile, IPTV, traffic and billing sectors.

The event also attracts activists and higher-level academic discussions, such as a the U.K.-based Sex & Censorship campaign’s “Keep Britain’s Internet Uncensored” session, which discussed the growing media censorship sweeping Europe and beyond. XBIZ EU also presented a “State of the Industry” session on the U.K.’s War on Porn, featuring the regulatory representative, ATVOD CEO Pete Johnson; as well as a Porn Studies Forum session examining the controversial new academic research project studying pornography “in its cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contexts.”

These sessions fuel debate that guides stakeholders and makes XBIZ EU a valuable venue for ASACP to deliver its message of how responsible media companies can protect themselves by protecting children, as legislators and legal teams take notice.

ASACP’s U.K.-based director of European outreach, Vince Charlton, attended the event on behalf of the association, carrying the cause of industrial self-regulation as an alternative solution to online child safety, rather than the regulations currently in play.

“Given the recent restrictions on Internet access by the U.K. government, XBIZ EU was center stage for the formulation of the adult industry’s response, as well as a proving ground for a range of alternative solutions to the problem of minor’s accessing adult oriented materials,” Charlton stated. “It’s important for ASACP to have a voice in these discussions and to educate adult-oriented businesses about what they can do today to help prevent similar restrictions from taking hold in other countries.”

“These companies’ livelihoods are at stake because not enough has been done to protect kids online,” he added. “It’s time for us to change that situation, and ASACP is here to help.”

Following Webmaster Access Amsterdam and London’s XBIZ EU, Vince and I got together in Budapest for “Europe’s leading B2B conference for the online entertainment industries,” The European Summit, which draws a diverse group of adult digital media mavens from more than 30 countries and 300 companies, for networking, seminars and socializing, at this crossroads between East and West.

The European Summit is a vital stop on ASACP’s global journey to help spread the word about the need to protect children on the Internet and allows us to reach players that we wouldn’t be exposed to at other events.

“The European scene is heating up, with new legislative moves causing a crackdown on adult-oriented materials on the Internet,” Vince explained. “Now is the time for online companies to begin taking protective action. ASACP provides all the necessary education and resources to get the job done, but it can only do so with your support.”

Of course, ASACP would not have been able to have this presence at these major events throughout Europe, if it were not for the continued generosity of its fine sponsors, members, supporters and contributors.

As a non-profit organization, ASACP carries out its mission with a limited operating budget and minimal staffing, bolstered by the efforts of its friends and supporters that are able to offer various services to assist our organization.

For example, the generous organizers of this most recent round of European business gatherings and trade events targeting the adult entertainment industry, provided ASACP with many perks, granting us sponsor status, accompanied by premium banner placement, along with an advertisement in the event’s show guide, an insert in attendee “swag bags,” and free event registration. Other freebies assisting ASACP in reaching this diverse array of attendees included an exhibition table at XBIZ EU’s popular Mix and Meet session, where association literature was available, as well as an “under the door” informational room drop at The European Summit, providing direct access to industry stakeholders.

In some cases, event sponsors provide complimentary hotel rooms for staff members, allowing ASACP to project a physical presence at events it might otherwise be unable to attend due to budgetary concerns.

It all, however, illustrates the unity that the adult entertainment industry shows on the issue of keeping children out of and away from porn, to which ASACP says, “Thanks!”

For more information regarding ASACP, sponsorship opportunities and how your business can help in the fight against European government legislation, please contact tim@asacp.org or vince@asacp.org.

ABOUT ASACP

Founded in 1996, ASACP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to online child protection. ASACP is comprised of two separate corporate entities, the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection and the ASACP Foundation. The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization. ASACP manages a membership program that provides resources to companies in order to help them protect children online. The ASACP Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The ASACP Foundation battles child pornography through its CP Reporting Hotline and helps parents prevent children from viewing age-restricted material online with its Restricted To Adults (RTA) website label (www.rtalabel.org). ASACP has invested nearly 17 years in developing progressive programs to protect children, and its relationship in assisting the adult industry’s child protection efforts is unparalleled. For more information, visit www.asacp.org.

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