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October 17, 2016

The Good Fight: ASACP Marks 20 Years

This article ran in AVN magazine's October 2016 issue. See the digital edition here. It was written by Tim Henning, the executive director of ASACP. To learn how your company can help protect itself by protecting children, visit ASACP.org or email tim@asacp.org. One major milestone in the life of any organization is the celebration of its 20th anniversary, something that the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) enjoyed earlier this year. Despite its 20-year history of success and the support of some of the industry’s most influential players, however, ASACP remains a mystery to many of those who would benefit from and be able to support its mission to help protect digital media businesses by preventing children’s access to age-restricted materials. Founded in 1996 as the Adult Sites Against Child Pornography, ASACP changed its name in 2005 to Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, retaining its “ASACP” identity while reflecting a growing diversity in its membership and mission. A non-profit, member-supported organization, ASACP provides its award-winning, internationally recognized Tipline, which allows members of the public to anonymously report suspected child pornography—with ASACP now having processed over one million CP reports. As part of this process, ASACP determines the site’s IP address, hosting and billing providers, ownership, and links to other sites, then forwards verified “Red Flag” reports to the appropriate agencies, including the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and European CP prevention agencies. The Tipline, along with the Restricted To Adults (RTA) website meta-label program, is funded by ASACP’s sister organization, the ASACP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Contributions to the ASACP Foundation are tax deductible for American companies and may be tax deductible for others depending on the tax laws in their countries. The free-to-use RTA label works with content filtering software to provide parents and institutions, libraries and schools, with effective, basic protection against exposure to age-inappropriate materials, and is an easy addition to any adult website with one simple snippet of code. Our continued development of RTA brought enhancements such as the RTA Verified program, plus an easy plugin to add the label to WordPress-powered sites, along with translations of our site and services, and entry into the peer-to-peer and mobile arenas (including parental controls for Android applications). These developments have helped the association to keep pace with today’s fast-changing technology and the significant challenges it presents. For example, the rush to virtual reality and ubiquitous mobile internet access present a new range of child protection issues we need to address. Backed by a small yet highly experienced staff and the efforts of volunteers, ASACP receives guidance from a rotating Advisory Council, made up of veteran professionals from some of adult’s biggest brands, who offer valuable insights on the industry’s inner workings—helping the association strike a balance between business and child protection, while focusing its efforts where they will do the most good. ASACP doesn’t only receive advice from the industry; it gives it some too. From its Best Practices to its Code of Ethics, to targeted initiatives such as assisting CCBill in its policy development process and by partnering with BoodiGo.com to build a safer adult search engine and more, ASACP is here to help you. Another valuable resource ASACP provides site owners is a list of banned words and phrases often used when searching for CP. Translated into 25 languages, this scrub list is an easy plugin for search engines, tube and other sites with user-generated content, filtering out any trouble before it becomes a problem. And even though the association offers these services free of charge to all users, they are not free for us to provide, so ASACP relies on funding from the industry. From AVN (one of ASACP’s founding sponsors) to Xbiz, YNOT and Zombaio, ASACP relies on the continued support of the adult entertainment and digital media industry’s top players and service providers to fund our mission. In addition, a wide range of members and supporters stand by ASACP’s mission of keeping children out of and away from adult entertainment, including top industry attorneys, advocacy groups such as Free Speech Coalition, the Eros Association, Parents in Adult, the ACI Foundation, dozens of webmaster communities, and consumer groups. Individual adult industry business leaders and performers also support ASACP, appearing in ads and public service announcements on behalf of the association and its RTA labeling program. These range from stars such as Chi Chi LaRue, Catalina Cruz, Kayden Kross, Kirsten Price, Riley Steele, Stormy Daniels, Sunny Leone, Tera Patrick and Evan Seinfeld, Tori Black, and Ron Jeremy, to Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas and AWE’s Mickey Bojcsik. Industry veterans Michael Klein and Colin Rowntree also made appearances in ASACP ads. As part of its community outreach initiatives, ASACP attends a wide range of adult industry, consumer and governmental gatherings around the globe, in an effort to reach decision makers and stakeholders. We are of course extremely grateful for this outpouring of support, with initiatives such as our monthly Featured Sponsors program and annual ASACP Service Recognition Award honoring our top benefactors. As for what we have accomplished on behalf of children and the industry, ASACP’s distinguished record of ongoing success has earned it widespread recognition within the industry as well as among consumer and government stakeholders. For example, the association played a role in closing illegal websites that featured underage models or depictions of child sexual exploitation, including “Dreamboard,” as well as the billing firm “Regpay,” in two of the world’s largest and most infamous CP busts. ASACP’s industry knowledge and forensic analysis expertise allows the association to assist authorities in distinguishing actual CP from legal depictions of underage models, enabling law enforcement to focus its resources on criminal content. It is this governmental outreach, both in the U.S. and abroad, that has perhaps provided the most benefit to ASACP’s supporters. Such as when Congress demanded that the industry “do something” about children’s easy access to age-inappropriate material online, we responded by developing the RTA meta-label, which now sees more than 20 billion monthly hits made to RTA-labeled web pages—including from the 20 percent of adult websites that generate nearly 80 percent of all adult traffic on the internet. ASACP builds bridges between adult businesses and government regulators. ASACP was vocal in its congressional protest of HR 4472, the “Children’s Safety and Violent Crime Reduction Act,” which would have strengthened the already onerous 18 USC Sec. 2257 federal record-keeping requirement, and we also endeavored to influence the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, when it held a hearing entitled “Protecting Children on the Internet.” ASACP also works with NGOs such as the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), and more. Because the internet has a global reach, ASACP works with legislators and stakeholders around the world, such as with ATVOD to add reason to the discussions over the future of the U.K.’s digital media marketplace, covering topics such as mandatory age verification and ISP-level Internet filtering, with ASACP’s Director of European Outreach, Vince Charlton, participating in the inaugural meeting of the U.K.’s Digital Policy Alliance. By promoting common-sense, fact-based regulation, while fighting misconceptions about the adult entertainment industry, ASACP has prevented stricter rules governing online content creation and website publishing. On a personal note, for more than 20 years it has been both an honor and a privilege for me to serve the industry and to further child protection efforts on its behalf, and I wish to offer my heartfelt gratitude to every individual and company that continues to support our vital organization. Currently, ASACP is working on several key projects that will help move the organization and industry child protection advocacy forward, but I cannot emphasize this enough: much more can and needs to be done with greater industry support. The work that ASACP does and the data we collect is invaluable in the fight against online child exploitation on behalf of the digital adult entertainment industry, so please help ensure that ASACP continues to be there for you, parents, educators, policy makers and of course our children. We simply cannot continue to do what we do without your generous help and support—and if we all do our part, then ASACP will be around for everyone who benefits from our efforts for another 20 years of distinguished success.

 
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