Porn Sites Surge to 1.6 Million

Rhett Pardon
SAN DIEGO – The number of porn sites has surged in the past four years to nearly 1.6 million – 17 times greater than it was just four years ago – according to a new study released today.

San Diego-based Websense Inc. says the rapid growth in porn websites, 88,000 in 2000, has been fueled by the growth in technology.

"As the availability of bandwidth and high-speed Internet connections increases, so has the quality and quantity of online programming -- especially in pornography," said Harold Kester, chief technology officer of Websense, which markets workplace filtering software.

Websense wrote the study in tandem with a sales pitch for its Enterprise brand software, which is designed to filter out porn in the workplace.

"Offering employees unlimited broadband connectivity and access to streaming video is the equivalent of installing an adult theater on each desktop," Kester said.

The company said Enterprise can weed out many porn sites. The software “gives IT managers the ability to block access to questionable Internet categories” in a database that contains more than 6.2 million sites, the company said.

Nielsen/NetRatings estimates that 34 million people visited porn sites in August 2003, about one in four Internet users in the U.S. According to ComScore Networks, 37 percent of Internet-enabled employees in the U.S. have visited a porn website while at work.