ASACP Reaches Out to Congress, State and Federal Attorneys General
LOS ANGELES (March 29, 2011) — In response to the so-called “War on Pornography” being waged by special interest groups demanding Internet censorship and Congressional interference with Constitutionally-protected speech, the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) has sent a letter to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. and state Attorneys General offering a counterpoint to the organized anti-porn phone-in and letter-writing campaign.
According to ASACP CEO Joan Irvine, proactive steps needed to be taken to provide a balanced view of the complex issues and passionate debates surrounding the legitimate adult entertainment industry; the nebulous notion of “obscenity;” and the need to keep children out of and away from adult-oriented materials.
“I read in the Amarillo Globe-News that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Reps. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., and Randy Forbes, R-Va., have drafted a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that he begin vigorously prosecuting illegal adult pornography producers and distributors under existing obscenity laws,” Irvine stated. “In my email to Congressional legislators and Attorneys General, I informed them that ‘there is no need for this action, since the legal adult entertainment industry is not involved in obscenity.’”
“ASACP can prove that the adult entertainment industry has taken steps to protect children from being in and viewing age-restricted content,” Irvine added. “The adult industry is just that — ‘by and for adults.’”
Since 1996 ASACP has operated a child pornography (CP) reporting hotline. An analysis of data compiled from more than 400,000 reports of suspected child pornography received by its hotline during a five-year period provides a deeper understanding of the scope and context of online CP (www.asacp.org/whitepaper/ASACP-whitepaper-9-10-2010.pdf).
ASACP launched the Restricted To Adults (RTA) label in 2006. The success of this initiative shows that proactive steps taken by the adult entertainment industry, coupled with technology and parental supervision of children’s Internet and mobile use, is a highly effective means of keeping kids from age-restricted material (www.rtalabel.org/rtapaper/rta-label-paper-final.pdf).
According to Tim Henning, ASACP’s VP of Technology and Forensic Research, more than 4.5 million adult websites currently use the RTA label, accounting for the bulk of professional sites. “There are more than 20 billion monthly hits to pages labeled with RTA,” Henning stated, adding that “the majority of sites have self-labeled with RTA including the 20 percent of adult sites that generate approximately 80 percent of all adult Internet traffic.” Henning noted that this rapid adoption of RTA stopped U.S. legislation for mandatory labeling, adding that “If parents have installed parental filtering software and/or setup the built-in features available in Microsoft and Apple operating systems, then RTA blocks children from viewing age-restricted content.”
For its dedication and efforts, ASACP and its RTA labeling initiative have received widespread support from business leaders and trade associations, governments and civic organizations.
At a recent Free Speech Coalition (FSC) press conference, Pink Visual President Allison Vivas commented on the industry’s support for ASACP, stating that “This is a group whose entire purpose is to help protect children and which has been recognized by the U.S. Congress.” On the Andre Controversa radio show, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke praised the adult industry’s filtering system, which prevents children from accessing its content. Duke reinforced the timely message by blogging at XBIZ, “The adult entertainment industry has always supported efforts to improve child Internet safety, especially greater parental involvement in filtering and supervising their children’s use of the Internet.” At the time of its launch, AVN’s Paul Fishbein foresaw the value of this unique tool for self-regulation, “not only to the parents themselves, but to the adult webmaster community, which can now have less fear of government action against them, and to the government itself, which can now rest a little easier knowing that the adult industry is taking important steps to prevent unwitting web surfers from inadvertently accessing material which they would not want to see and which might not be appropriate for them.”
These leaders referred to ASACP’s advanced online child protection technology and RTA. The website – RTALABEL.org - has recently been translated into French, German, and Spanish to address the needs of international consumers and website owners.
“Thanks to the support of the industry, ASACP has been able to create a free and easy-to-use label to designate content for adults-only,” Irvine stated. “The movie industry has MPAA, the video gaming industry has ESRB, and the adult industry has its own label with RTA.”
The ASACP RTA program was also honored by the American Society of Association Executives by being named the overall winner of the 2008 Associations Make a Better World award. ASACP has received Certificates of Recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives, the California State Senate, California State Assembly, and the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, among others, all of which acknowledged ASACP’s efforts to help parents prevent their children from viewing age-restricted content.
The association educates the public through an ongoing series of Public Service Announcements, available on its YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/ASACPRTA). The most recent RTA PSA, first aired at the 2011 AVN Awards Show, featured star performers Riley Steele and Tori Black.
“By bridging the needs of parents, industry, regulators and other stakeholders,” Irvine concluded, “ASACP strives to make a profound societal difference that protects children and underscores the legitimacy of the adult entertainment industry — and which lessens the need for governmental involvement.”
Founded in 1996, ASACP is a non-profit organization dedicated to online child protection and is comprised of two separate corporate entities: 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 via its Restricted To Adults (RTA) website label (www.rtalabel.org). ASACP has invested nearly 15 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.