Solutions: Technology

The CP80 Internet Zoning Initiative uses a three-pronged approach to solve the Internet pornography problem:

  1. A Technical Solution
  2. A Legislative Solution
  3. Internet Governance Solution

The technical solution leverages the current structure and technologies of the Internet to categorize all of the content on the Web into Internet channels, similar to cable television channels. With content categorized into Internet channels, consumers could easily choose which channels they wanted to access or block in their home and office.

Besides the technical solution, federal legislation is critical to effectively implement this solution. The CP80 Foundation has drafted legislation, the Internet Community Ports Act (ICPA), which will balance regulation and free speech.

Finally, the Internet Zoning Initiative enables Internet governing bodies to take action against individuals and entities that violate content categorization regulations and laws.

How the Internet Works

Understanding the Internet Zoning Initiative requires a simple understanding of how the Internet works. The Internet is simply an enormous computer network that connects millions upon millions of computers together from all around the world. Furthermore, you need to understand how your data request is actually routed from your computer to its ultimate destination, and how a response is then directed back to the browser running on your computer.

This system works because there is a detailed order to the process and procedures of the Internet. It is not a chaotic, tangled web of connected computers. In simple terms, the Internet is comprised of billions of computers, websites, servers and Internet accessible devices located throughout the world. Each of these devices is connected to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider (ISP) (See figure 1).

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Browsing the web relies on two distinct actions: sending a request and receiving a response. A request is initiated by clicking on a link or entering a website name in a browser's address field. Each request creates a virtual packet of information. This virtual packet of information, transparent to the computer user, contains the address of the requested website. The website name is translated into a specific delivery address (IP Address)—(See figure 2).

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The addressee (website server) receives this packet, reads who is requesting the information and then replies with the requested information by sending back virtual packets containing the requested information (See figure 3). This process is repeated each time a new link is selected or a new website address is entered.

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Web browsing uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to send and receive virtual packets. A protocol is a standard procedure for negotiating the data transmission between computers. This protocol is assigned a number commonly referred to as a port number.

The port number maps the virtual packet to the appropriate application running on a computer. When a request is sent to a server, the Internet Protocol (IP) process determines the appropriate application to use based on the port number within the request. The protocol allows the server to open, read, and respond to the request appropriately. The port number for standard web requests, by default, is port 80 (See figure 4).

The combination of protocols and ports allows other applications using different protocols and ports to utilize network resources without conflicting or interfering with each other.

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Why the Internet Fails Us

Currently, all standard HTTP content uses the same port for transmission. For example, whether you are browsing sport scores, financial information, news, children's programming or pornography on the Web, you use port 80, the HTTP port. That is the equivalent of all television programs being forced onto a single television channel (See figure 5). Imagine one channel being used simultaneously to watch a program geared towards children and a program with sexually explicit content.

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In reality, there are many television channels that help categorize and organize the different types of programming that are available to consumers. On the Internet, only one port is being used for all standard HTTP traffic when over 65,000 ports or Internet channels are available, most of which remain unused. These unallocated ports could be adapted to further categorize and organize content on the Internet, in the same manner as television channels categorize and organize television programming.

Internet Zoning Initiative

The Internet Zoning Initiative proposes that an Internet governing body, accountable to the general world public, designate content-specific ports that categorize the Internet into Community Ports (or Community Channels) and Open Ports (Or Open Channels). Community Ports would be designated for content that is appropriate for a general audience; and Open Ports would be designated for all legal content.

The appropriate Internet governing body would establish policies for content-specific ports, making it illegal for content deemed "inappropriate for minors" to be routed via the Community Ports. Publishers of mature content would have to sanitize their Community Port presence and use the Open Port ranges to publish adult content.

With content organized into ports (channels) and communities, the consumer could choose to opt-out of the Open Ports ranges and only receive the Community Ports directly from their ISP (See figure 6).

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Thus, a child using a Community Port Internet connection attempting to access pornographic content published over the Open Ports, whether deliberately or inadvertently, would not be able to access the mature content. The Internet Zoning Initiative addresses the issues associated with all Internet connected devices, including cellular phones, PDAs, desktops, laptops, nanotops, game consoles and any future Internet-enabled devices (See figure 7).

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Website Server Configuration

Internet publishers of content that is inappropriate for minors will simply configure their web servers to only allow mature content to be available on the Open Ports. This is a simple web server setup and is often accomplished with less than 10 lines of configuration parameters (See figure 8). The server configuration is unseen and has no impact on the content of the material served. The simplicity of this approach is illustrated by the fact that a website server may be configured to serve content on both port 80 and port 443 simultaneously. This is a standard practice that is globally accepted and content neutral.

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For example, a consumer shopping online at a website such as Amazon.com browses existing inventory over port 80. When a purchase is made, the transaction occurs securely via port 443. The consumer then returns to port 80 to continue browsing without ever realizing that the port switch had occurred.

Switching between ports takes place transparently to the consumer and can occur with any designated port with no impact to the network performance and no increased cost to the publisher. At the same time, requiring an individual to transfer from 80 to an Open Port in order to access adult content would protect anyone with a Community-Ports-only Internet connection, but blocking access to the mature content.

The Internet Zoning Initiative preserves the access to all forms of content to the consumer who chooses both the Community Ports and the Open Ports. In addition, this initiative creates a choice for those consumers who wish to receive only the Community Ports. Under either scenario, the Internet experience is determined by the consumer (See figure 9).

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IP Address Management

Due to the lack of international laws that protect children from Internet pornography and the seeming unwillingness of Internet governing groups to manage access to it, consumers need additional choices to manage their Internet experience.

At the request of the consumer, ISPs could simply block all IP addresses originating from a non-compliant country. A non-compliant country is a country that lacks the means to appropriately implement and enforce legislation, Internet governance policies or a combination of both.

IP address management would be an individual choice; furthermore, since most consumers access content that is served within their own geographic / cultural regions, blocking content from non-compliant countries is a reasonable solution until global content management is achieved.

Internet governing agencies could compile and make available a list of compliant and non-compliant countries. ISPs will utilize this list with existing infrastructure and methodologies to block access to non-compliant IP Addresses when a consumer requests it. A consumer who wants access to websites within non-compliant countries will continue to have access to all websites, worldwide. Thus each consumer's choice is unrestricted and flexible.

Global Enforceability Solution

The technical solution is simple. It enhances consumer choice, preserves free speech, and places no economic burden on the consumer, publisher or Internet Service Provider. The CP80 Foundation believes that ensuring compliance globally can be equally simple. This approach consists of two parts: oversight by the appropriate Internet governance body and the enactment of suitable legislation where applicable. For example, in the United States, the CP80 Foundation is proposing legislation known as the Internet Community Ports Act (ICPA) to facilitate the required compliance.

Understanding Internet Governance

It is a popular notion that the Internet is without regulation or governance - this is false. Certain areas of the Internet are regulated. For example, there are standards bodies that define standards for protocols, policies for operation and methods for implementations. Additionally, there are both government and private entities that regulate domain names, IP numbers, electronic commerce and criminal activity on the Internet. Furthermore, there are numerous professional, governmental, non-profit, corporate, self-interested and global entities that direct policy and assert influence through these Internet governance agencies. (See figure 10)

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Currently, the control of the Internet lies with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a division within the United States Department of Commerce. The NTIA website lists the following priorities in regards to the Internet:

The NTIA recently renewed its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the fulfillment of NTIA's priorities yet, protecting children online is not addressed in the contract.

ICANN, a California based, non-profit organization, is responsible for the day-to-day management and future development of the world's Internet. Typically, this level of authority and control for a single, privately held organization that is unaccountable and non-transparent to the global community that it serves is unprecedented.

Internet governing bodies should be accountable and transparent to the people they serve and adopt strategies that enhance choice and protect children.

Regional Internet Registrars

Besides ICANN, the Internet is further managed by five Regional Internet Registrars (RIR):

(See figure 11). Isp11

Each of these RIRs controls the allocation of IP Address blocks within their respective regions. These blocks of IP Addresses are assigned to National Internet Registrars (NIRs), individual entities or ISPs who operate within each RIR's geographical area.

RIRs could play a significant role in the management and enforceability of global Internet policies that would protect the world's children.

Applying Internet Governance Policy for Compliance

With a basic understanding of the current Internet governance hierarchy, it is easy to understand how this hierarchy could be leveraged to implement, manage and enforce the appropriate policy to protect child worldwide. Each entity depicted in the chart below (see figure 12) is accountable to a supervising body and should be free from conflicted interests and be accountable to the global Internet population.

Each Regional Internet Registrar (RIR) and National Internet Registrar (NIR) is a key entity for the successful implementation of the compliance policies. For example, the publisher of inappropriate material on the Community Ports and their Internet Service Provider (ISP) will be put on notice of a violation of policy and potentially a violation of local law. Once notified, a violating publisher must comply within the appropriate time frame to move the content to the Open Ports. Failure to do so or repeatedly violating policy will result in a publisher being subject to penalties which may include loss of Internet domain names and IP address numbers. The ISP will also play a key role to ensure compliance with content publication requirements. The RIR or NIR now becomes the authority for compliance for their respective regions and are represented by and accountable to the regions that they serve.

With a new commitment to protecting children with appropriate Internet governance, a greater level of accountability is achieved. No longer can irresponsible pornographers seek out and trap children by publishing adult content on Community Ports without facing any consequence.

Summary

The solution is simple. Categorize and organize all Internet content using the existing and available ports which will allow users to access what they want and avoid what they don't want. This solution creates a space for those who value the freedom and who want to avoid unwanted intrusions into their businesses, homes, and minds.

The implementation could be equally simple. An Internet governing body, accountable to the world governments and the public they represent, can designate content specific ports and appropriate penalties to ensure compliance. Furthermore, individual governments would be free to implement additional laws as appropriate for their citizens to enhance the adoption and enforcement of this approach.

The CP80 Foundation is dedicated to offering solutions that are free, that leverage existing technologies and infrastructure, and that consider the global nature of the Internet. The foundation is also committed to educating and enabling the individual consumer to the real possibilities of a better Internet.

The CP80 Foundation is also proposing the Internet Community Ports Act (ICPA) in the United States that honors, supports and protects the basic human rights and freedoms that all people should enjoy. The ICPA can be used as a roadmap for legislative efforts in other countries around the world.

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Free Training

The CP80 Foundation is pleased to offer free training to individuals who wish to learn more about the Internet, pornography, current laws and the CP80 Internet Channel Initiative.

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