opinion

ASACP: At the Crossroads

Tim Henning

With 2014 beginning to wind down I have found myself reflecting upon the kind of year it has been with so many challenges facing both online child protection and the online adult entertainment industry. In my gut it feels very much to me like the industry is at a crossroads.

Politically the focus in Europe and especially the U.K. has been a mandate to do more to protect children online from real or perceived threats — depending on your position and point of view. Many of the actions, in my opinion, have not adequately taken into consideration the role of the parent or guardian and how crucial this relationship is in online child protection.

It is refreshing to see innovative industry leaders that are trying to address these concerns head on with such projects as BoodiGo — an all encompassing adult-oriented search engine.

While this has been unfolding there have been equally important developments in the so called “war on porn” with corporate giants and financial institutions now — either wholly or partially — shunning the industry for a variety of reasons. This trend is on-going with the latest shot being fired by Yahoo when they recently announced that they would be discontinuing adult content listings for its directory program. It is clear that the industry has its work cut out for it in addressing the concerns that have led up to these decisions.

It is refreshing to see innovative industry leaders that are trying to address these concerns head on with such projects as BoodiGo — an all encompassing adult-oriented search engine. According to the owners, BoodiGo eliminates sites that are known or potential security threats from its search results, ensures that BoodiGo sessions are HTTPS-encrypted, and works closely with rights-holders to keep unlicensed and illegal content from appearing online; allowing users an enhanced search experience in a safe, private and anonymous setting.

Regarding BoodiGo’s child protection efforts, ASACP is supplying BoodiGo with a variety of data, including multilingual search terms commonly used to locate child porn online. In return, BoodiGo is redirecting users who enter banned search terms to a resources page on the ASACP website. ASACP endeavors to develop and cultivate relationships such as this in order to share in a technical knowledge base that helps keep the ASACP mission moving forward benefiting both child protection and industry efforts. This is a crucial component of ASACP’s community outreach program since we are able to teach, learn, and share with companies actively involved in this evolving arena where the industry is continually in flux.

After recently returning from highly productive European trade events and having the opportunity to talk with many business owners, decision makers, and those in management positions within the adult entertainment industry, it is clear that many companies are doing their best to protect children and their businesses. However, it is equally clear that there are still some that are not doing what they need to do in order to best protect their businesses, children and the industry in general.

I speak to those that ask — what is in it for me? — how will it increase my bottom line? What you need to be asking yourself is; what can I do as a responsible business owner to better protect my business, children and serve my industry? Being an ASACP member or sponsor may or may not increase your bottom line in the short term but it will serve your greater business efforts over the long term. It will make a difference in making the Internet a safer place for children. It will help to ensure the industry has a voice when it comes to child protection issues. It will help to demonstrate that the industry cares about these issues and is proactive when it comes to online child protection.

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.

ASACP, in conjunction with many experienced adult entertainment industry leaders, has 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. The ASACP recommended Best Practices includes recommendations specifically for many segments of the industry including; adult content sites, mobile adult content sites, thumb and movie gallery post sites, dating sites, search engines and directories, social media, billing companies, hosting companies as well as user generated content. These best practices can be found on the ASACP website here: http://www.asacp.org/index.php?content=best_practices

The ASACP membership and sponsorship program goes even further in enabling companies to protect themselves. ASACP visually reviews all member sites, spiders these sites for unacceptable terms and checks the URLs against our database of confirmed child pornography URLs collected via the ASACP CP Tipline. ASACP monitors these sites on an ongoing basis and cross references their sites against new child pornography reports in order to ensure the sites are not being abused by CP traffickers. This demonstrates 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.

ASACP is the only organization that bridges the necessity of online child safety issues with the needs of legitimate adult entertainment business owners and the noted concerns of international regulators and lawmakers — an effort which is made possible by the sponsorships, membership fees and donations that the association receives from decision makers like you — and an effort which reaps continued rewards for all stakeholders.

To learn more about how you can become involved visit ASACP.org. It’s the right thing to do! For more information, 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 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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