back to article Utah backs calls to boot porn from Port 80

Utah's governor and state legislature has lent its weight to efforts to persuade Congress to pass laws requiring adult content providers to stay off port 80, which generally carries HTTP web surfing traffic. Governor Jon Huntsman last week backed a resolution from the state's parliament calling for the net to be split into " …


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  1. MegaZone

    Of all the idiocy

    OK, I thought the .xxx TLD was idiotic. Sure, if people *want* to use .xxx, I'm all for it. But there were people talking about trying to legislate its use to force adult sites into the .xxx ghetto. First of all, the US government can't event define pornography better than "you know it when you see it". I have frank, adult, non-pornographic content on my personal website, which I'm sure some would consider pornographic simply because it discusses sex. Hell, how many blogs, LiveJournals, MySpace pages, etc have sexual content?

    So, anyway, now they want to push porn off port 80? Please, that'll never work, period. It is just absolute idiocy. Sure, just move the porn sites to port 443 and don't bother running SSL, your firewall probably allows that. Not on port 80, so it is fine! Or are they going to establish the vice port - 666? Oops, taken:

    mdqs 666/tcp

    mdqs 666/udp

    doom 666/tcp doom Id Software

    doom 666/udp doom Id Software

    # <>

    The US government keeps forgetting that it is the WORLD WIDE web. Even if they managed to pass this and herd all US sites off port 80 (or into .xxx) under the weight of law, servers around the world would laugh at the US government and continue to serve the content on port 80.

    Legislating morality is always stupid, but these people just take it to a whole new level of ludicrous. It figures someone connected with SCO would be involved too.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Port 443?

    ...seems to me like Port 69 would be a better choice.

    Right, I'll get my coat, etc, etc...

  3. Dillon Pyron


    The above says it all. Anyone outside the US (the vast majority?) can just keep plugging on port 80. And those inside can always claim "we're not pornographic" since there's no definition that would fit the bill. Can't show exposed breasts? I've got a couple of breast cancer sites for you. Can't show testicles? Same concept. Heck, there was a post on YouTube (noted on el Reg) of a doctor showing how to perform breast and testicle self exams. Should that be blocked?

    Can't do it, won't work, waste of time and money. Not that it won't pass.

  4. Tim Bates

    Almost a plan.

    I think it's a clever idea... Pitty they didn't think of it 10 years ago when there were still some port numbers available. Now they either have to reuse one or use a "non-priviledged" port.

    I guess it doesn't matter since they'll need to put the port number in the URL anyway... I can't see them also defining "httpxxx" or something to go with it... And even if they do, will MS update IE to support it? Would it be a critical update (so it forces itself out) or just an optional one (requiring manual intervention)?

  5. Kevin Hall


    To quote the late Bill Hicks he once said not even the supreme court could adequately describe porn, he said they described it as: "has no artistic merit and causes sexual thoughts" in which case, as he put it, the entire advertising industry should hand itself in. America is making a caricature of itself.

  6. Matt


    This has now become the most retarded thing I've read today, I thought the car game thing was gonna hold that title, but oooo no.

    The internet is what it is becouse people wanted their porn faster and better, better image and video compression, flashy sites. Long ago you had two things online, geekyness and boobs. People don't like going into shops to buy their smut, and there has been a long line of innovation towards getting more smut with less human interaction.

    But then we all know the yanks hate porn, it's their number one hate, blow some dudes head off? Snort a few lines of coke and shoot up some smack, go ahead, drive by shootings, run some ho over, no problem. Consentually nob your girlfriend HELL NO NOT IN OUR US OF A you can shoot her in the face with a semi automatic pistol whilest stamping on her grandma, but you can't make love to her (the girlfriend not the grandma lol).

    I love those crazy yanks. All hail porn bringer of streaming media, jpegs, video chat and all the other mighty wonders of the net.

    lol drama llamas

  7. Peter

    biggest loophole in the world?

    Ok, let's assume this goes through. Lets assume somehow it gets enforced (acknowledged to be no trivial task...).

    Lets say I decide one day I'm a bit bored and want to put up a massive porn site for no particular reason. I register a domain name, then stick a site on port 80 with meta-refresh to port xxx and no other (i.e. no pornographic) content.

    Perfectly 'legal', and functionally identical to serving off port 80 to the end user.

    So what's the objective again?

  8. Simon Painter

    Overly complicated...

    The .xxx domain idea is far more preferable because it has the least impact on the current technology. Considering the hassle getting that through I can't see how this is going to be any easier apart from in one respect: With .xxx it was ICANN who said 'no' and had the final decision whereas with this *solution* it can be implimented by the legislator entirely without ICANN approval.

    By making it a state law they can require that service providers bear the responsibility of making content from outside the state appear on a different port whereas with the .xxx idea you have to get everyone to move to .xxx domains out of the goodness of their heart despite them all being fully aware that it will have a negative impact on traffic.

  9. regadpellagru

    Won't work, and even if it did, what about the rest ?

    "CP80 is led by Ralph Yarro III, the chairman of SCO, who wants porn to be kept off port 80"

    Well, that's the explanation of SCO's plunge, then ?

    Even if some bright brains would succeed in seggragating

    porn from the rest, is it the only danger of the net ?

    So, nazis groups, scientology groups recruiting in public

    areas (since no point in doing it in a secret place), paedophiles etc ??? Not a problem surely ?

    And then our kids wandering in the Net, reassured by

    Yarro III to be confident since it is now a sure place ?

    No, no way, let's wait for next patch, Yarro IV and tell the

    kids to watch out ;-)

  10. Geoff Richards

    Preserve URLs?

    "Supporters of Internet Community Ports Act argue that the approach preserves all current URLs..."

    How exactly will it preserve URLs, if they will have to have a different port number in? HTTP URLs have port 80 as the default. There's no way to use other ports without including the port number as part of the URL. This scheme would require all existing URLs which point to resources the censor defines as pornographic to be broken, or at least replaced with redirects.

    So this is really just the same idea as the .xxx TLD, except it doesn't require ICANN's support, and doesn't require the whole new expensive registration infrastructure. It would likely be even more confusing to users though.

    If there is going to be any kind of mandatory classification, why does it have to be embedded in the URL? Sure, that makes it trivial to filter, but it wouldn't be hard to create firewalls which filter based on 'meta' elements in actual content, or a new HTTP header could be used instead. The technical issues are not the problem here, so there's no reason to come up with weird new ways of supplying metadata about content.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    .. The US Government plans 'operation ICANN(OT)' requiring ICANN to terminate all non-US hosted hosting providers TLDs if they are suspected of carrying anything more sexually appealing than a picture of Prince Charles.

    ... So that’s practically everything then.

  12. Michael

    pedantic I know...

    I can't help but be a pedant on this but surely you meant 616?

    Although 69 is more appropriate. The port number.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why don't we just take away the internet?

    Just kidding...kind of. The US govt created the inet (kind of), we can just take it away from people we don't like right? Just like we do countries?

    Here's an idea that all the biggest money in porn has already considered I'm sure, move all your porn sites to a country that is not bound by US law.

    And this from the leader of SCO? I pity the fool.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not our fault (USofA)

    It's pretty cheeky of you Brits to blame the US for this porn thing, after exporting your annoying Pilgrim puritans and their religious theocracy onto the otherwise pristine shores of north america.

    The vast majority of americans either actively enjoy porn or else could care less. And the Victorian prudes (hmm, Victorian... somelthing faintly British there) don't care whether their laws are unimplementable or stupid. (Hey, in Louisianna, the legislature decreed the value of pi to be exactly 22/7). They just want to say they hate porn.

    Y'all can relax. It just means more offshore jobs running the porn sites. I don't think the CP80 thing will gain any traction here. And watch for internet gambling to eventually return to our shores. They can't keep it out forever. It just won't fly in the era of the world wide web.

  15. Brian

    You are missing the point

    The purpose here is the same as for putting jews into the Ghetto. When the SS wants to gather them all up they can do so easily. If you want to block all content on 6969, its one firewall rule. Doesn't matter if there is a redirector, the port 6969 content would not be allowed to pass.

    I think that the really funny part is that some government schmuck is going to have to classify it all :)

    "Nope that one gave me no sexual feelings, nope not that one either, ahhh little boys, that one has to go!"

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real problem is click-driven income...

    Porn sites are "easy" to get to because most of their income is driven by ad content, not registration fees. Any sort of voluntary access restrictions by the sites themselves ain't gonna happen. Legislative action won't work because the definition of what is "art" v. what is "porn" is subjective, making proper classification nigh impossible.

    No amount of legislation can replace proper parenting, combined with a modicum of technical knowledge.

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