Saturday, October 2, 2004

Porn sites take old addresses


Racy content angers candidates

By Carl Weiser and Faith Bremner
Enquirer Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - It's 2004: Do candidates know where their cast-off campaign Web addresses are?

If they don't, they had better check to see. Online pornographers may have taken them over.

Geoff Davis, the Republican running for Congress in Northern Kentucky, is one of the unlucky politicians whose old site has gone porno.

Geoffdavis2002.com, which once sported Davis' family photos and campaign promises, now transfers people logging in to a pornographic site - and the Davis campaign is not amused.

"I think it's a shame that that exists," said Davis' campaign manager, Justin Brasell. "Geoff Davis supports limiting access to that type of filth. It's a shame it's out there. But it's a fact of life."

Other local congressional campaign sites from 2002 appear uncorrupted.

Davis is running against Democrat Nick Clooney to replace the retiring Ken Lucas.

Those old addresses went into a pool where they were snatched up by a domain reseller. That reseller is offering to sell them again for $500. In the meantime, the addresses are parked at a porno site. The reseller did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

This happens to a lot of expired Web addresses and candidates shouldn't take it personally, said Kieran Baker.

Baker is spokesman for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit organization that manages the domain name system.

"It happened to a 9/11 victim recently, with a Web site dedicated to her husband," Baker said. "She forgot to renew it and lost it and now it's a porn site."

Other than buying the address back, if it's for sale, there's nothing an aggrieved former owner can do, Baker said. Among the victims: a Colorado congresswoman and former presidential candidate Howard Dean's Montana campaign.

Brasell called the use of the old Web site an attempt at extortion. But he said no one actually had demanded money from the Davis campaign.

Just the fact it is for sale suggests the company hopes the campaign will buy it back, he said.

The geoffdavis.com Web site also is taken, though not by porn. A San Diego ship engineer who describes himself as a "dork" and a "computer junkie" runs a blog on the site. He describes it as "random sputterings on travel, midgets, too much salt water, and of course scurvy. Yarr."

Another politician whose site has now been taken over by an online pornographer is Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo.

"It's just outrageous," said Musgrave, who has become known across the country for sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages. "You know good and well that they desire people going to my campaign site would get a little shock."




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