Vice Squad
Monday, July 05, 2004
Pressuring Credit Card Companies to Fight Internet Porn

Greetings from the renowned vice city of Amsterdam, where I, alas, am only changing planes. But already one of the pleasures of Europe -- easy access to British papers -- is cheering me. This linked story comes from Saturday's Guardian. It is interesting that just a few days after the US Supreme Court more-or-less rejected a law that would have required commercial porn websites to set-up credit card or age-check screens (many of which themselves use credit cards), the Guardian reports on private pressure upon credit card issuers to preclude their use on porn sites. Already, of course, credit card companies would avoid being associated with child porn, which is illegal in the US as well as in Britain. But the new (non-binding) guidelines go further, to separate credit cards from sites "which trade in images of sexual violence, racism or terrorism..."

While we are taking advantage of the Guardian, Saturday also brought this surprising report that a powerhouse country in terms of providing Internet porn is -- no, not my current host country, the Netherlands -- Niue (and Tonga, too.) OK, I have never heard of Niue, but check out the linked article for the story. I'll append the beginning:
Two Pacific island countries have become global centres of the internet porn industry, according to a new report.
The report, by US-based consultants Secure Computing, said Niue and Tonga together provide addresses for almost as many pornographic web pages as the whole of Asia and Latin America. It alleges that Niue hosts 2.9 million porn pages, while the Netherlands has only 1.9 million.


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