SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — The world's leading adult film studio is calling on Internet giants Google and Yahoo to "erect stronger barriers" to keep children from viewing online pornography.
Vivid Entertainment co-founder Steven Hirsch said he plans to make his case publicly during a lecture at Yale's School of Management on February 16, during the Ivy League university's "Sex Week."
"None of the search engines and portals, but particularly Yahoo and Google, has taken any significant steps in this direction," Hirsch said in a written release.
"This is not about First Amendment rights, it is about protecting children."
Yahoo and Google defend their efforts to keep under-age Internet users from accessing grown-up content.
"We have made it a company priority to protect children online by creating tools for users to safeguard themselves and by supporting efforts to educate children, parents, and communities about safe online experiences," Yahoo said in response to an AFP inquiry.
"We have focused on protecting children from online pornography through our safe search feature, filters for offensive language, privacy preferences and parental controls."
Yahoo recently joined an industry Age Authentication Task Force exploring ways to protect children on the Internet.
The Internet search titans each noted custom software tools to filter and limit what children can access online.
Users of Google-owned video-sharing website YouTube can "flag" content deemed objectionable. Flagged material is reviewed and explicit adult-oriented videos removed from YouTube, according to Google.
Google says it works with nonprofit groups including Common Sense Media, Family Online Safety Institute, and i-Safe to tutor families and teachers about children staying safe online.
"We're deeply committed to helping keep our users safe," Google told AFP.
"When it comes to child safety, we aim to empower parents with tools to make their own choices about what content they want their children to see and educate children on how to stay safe online."
Hirsch says he wants major Internet service providers to aggressively verify ages of people seeking to buy adult content.
Vivid is offering to work with any Internet company interested in making it tougher for children to be exposed, even accidentally, to adult material online, according to Hirsch.
Vivid credits its ranking as the top adult film studio to capitalizing on technology such as high-definition video, establishing brands, and owning a cable television network.
"We always believed it was important to stay on top of all new technologies," Hirsch said.
"In the end, running the world's biggest adult film studio isn't that much different than running any other studio except that our product is pretty much exclusively about sex."
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