opinion

ASACP: Is the Pendulum Swinging Back

Tim Henning

I continually hear from industry that porn has become so ingrained in modern culture that it has now become virtually mainstream to the masses and there is no putting that Genie back in its bottle. While I agree that adult entertainment has become much more accepted by a larger segment of modern society than it was pre-Internet, I believe we are beginning to see the pendulum swinging back towards more conservative values and while the Genie may or may not be able to be forced back into the bottle it can certainly be made to hide — one way or another.

2014 is continuing to see a surge of activity in the war against child exploitation and under-age access to age-restricted materials on the Internet, making headlines and causing many cries for action against the adult entertainment industry, which continues to be wrongfully painted as being responsible — either directly or indirectly — for everything from the sexualization of children to underage sexting to outright illegal CP. Nevertheless, getting the vital message out that the adult entertainment industry is not to blame remains a vital endeavor and one that ASACP does not shy away from despite the difficulties involved.

Historically, whenever societies experience difficult times the masses have tended to gravitate toward more conservative values.

The industry is seeing attacks coming from multiple fronts — not only government representatives and regulators but also financial institutions and online corporate giants that were once only too happy to be doing business with the industry. There have always been right wing and religious organizations that have fought to criminalize all pornography, online and offline — such as MIM (Morality In Media) — the difference now is that more and more are actually listening to these groups and taking them much more seriously. Porn has recently been portrayed in the media as a “public health crisis in the US” that is destroying relationships, the family, causing people to leave the church, sexualizing children, contributing to alcohol and drug abuse and leading to an increase in sexual violence against women and children. It has even been claimed recently that watching porn shrinks the human brain — not kidding — look it up. So why now after 20 years is the anti-porn movement gaining so much traction?

Historically, whenever societies experience difficult times the masses have tended to gravitate toward more conservative values. Many historical examples can be cited from the Dark Ages to the Great Depression to World Wars 1 and 2 where this cause and effect relationship has been seen time and again throughout history. In today’s world there is more than enough to cause the masses some level of anxiety. We have seen terrorism, never-ending war, wide spread government and corporate corruption, government sponsored mass surveillance, the loss of any real privacy, the curtailing of human rights and freedoms, continually increasing natural disasters related to global warming, massive man made ecological disasters, austerity and a seemingly never-ending worldwide recession, just to hit the big ones. Groups such as MIM prey upon these anxieties as a tool to accomplish their agenda by painting a picture of what is wrong, who is responsible for it and how to go about fixing the problem — sound familiar? Don’t let them make you a scapegoat for society’s ills.

The question is what can you do, as a responsible business owner, to help protect your business and defend against this seemingly growing, multi-pronged, wave of discontent with the adult entertainment industry? While there may be no easy answers and the issues are complex, there are some simple things you can take positive action on.

There are many legal pitfalls that are a reality of doing business in the adult space and businesses need to not only be aware of these pitfalls but also take steps to mitigate the risks. Every company, large or small, needs to have procedures in place in order to best deal with unexpected issues should they arise. ASACP, in conjunction with many experienced adult entertainment industry leaders, have developed recommended Best Practices as a basis for companies to build or augment their own procedures in order to better protect their business as well as the greater industry as a whole. These best practices can be found on the ASACP website. The ASACP membership and sponsorship program goes even further in enabling companies to protect themselves. ASACP visually reviews all members and sponsor sites, spiders these sites for unacceptable terms and checks the URLs against our database of confirmed child pornography URLs collected by the ASACP CP hotline. ASACP monitors these sites on an ongoing basis and cross-references the sites against new child pornography reports in order to ensure the sites are not being abused by CP traffickers.

Ensure that you label your sites with RTA — RTA is a functional and robust solution to preventing minors or other unwanted audiences from exposure to age-restricted materials, which is freely available for websites and mobile devices, including WordPress via a plug-in. Online age verification is an ongoing and increasingly mandated challenge, however RTA is available here and now and when used correctly and in conjunction with parental supervision and filtering software, provides an effective solution to the problem of inadvertent access to age-restricted content. Consult regularly with a knowledgeable industry savvy attorney to ensure all your bases are covered to the extent that they can be.

This all helps to demonstrate your company is providing an extra duty of care to make sure your sites are by and for adults only. This foundation of corporate cooperation for the greater good is what drives ASACP’s ability to carry out its vital mission of keeping children out of and away from adult entertainment, as this task is only accomplished through the continuing efforts and cooperation of the adult entertainment industry.

RTA, ASACP’s segment specific Best Practices, Code of Ethics as well as membership and sponsorship programs offer an alternative to the global porn crackdown but in order to be most effective there needs to be a majority of the industry that is on board and marching in the same direction with the same voice.

For more information regarding ASACP, sponsorship opportunities and how your business can help, please contact tim@asacp.org.

ABOUT ASACP

Founded in 1996, ASACP is a non-profit 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 18 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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