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All anti-porn efforts worthy

Society has learned the best way to deal with danger is to put it aside and allow limited access. We do it with guns and drugs. We do it with career criminals.

Now, a plan is afoot to do the same with Internet pornography.

ThinkAtomic, an Orem high-tech outfit, has fashioned what it calls CP80 — a nonprofit organization pushing to flush pornography on the Internet into specific ports and through specific channels. The idea is to package it — as with the edgy content found on cable television — without censoring it and thus creating free-speech havoc.

The free-speech issue quickly surfaces, of course. But free speech has been curbed in the past when it endangers the well-being of others. The old saw of crying "Fire!" in a full theater comes to mind, along with the fact a person can't send e-mails threatening the life of the president of the United States or print articles libeling the good names of others. The free speech issues could be easily worked out.

Corralling Internet pornography may prove to be a tougher task.

In a letter to the Deseret Morning News, reader Nathan Toone of Layton expressed such concerns, saying, "Many people have tried — unsuccessfully — to force pornographers into complying with certain requirements." Toone goes on to lament that such solutions are simply unworkable, that the "scum that produces such harmful content" will find a way around any attempt to limit their efforts.

Toone, who stresses better filters, may well be right.

But ThinkAtomic is not distracted. The company has spent three months in Washington, D.C., drumming up support for its plan, and it seems to be sounding the right note among politicians.

We applaud the company's verve and commitment and urge lawmakers to consider the new CP80 as something worth a test run. As with the weather, everyone talks about pornography but nobody does anything about it. Now is a chance for people to join hands and try to herd harmful Web garbage into the same receptacle.

As Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch recently put it, "We have to pursue creative and innovative solutions to this growing public health threat, and CP80 is one of the leaders of that effort."

We urge ThinkAtomic to soldier on, and we urge Utahns to rally behind this and all other attempts to bottle the Internet swill pouring into the homes of Americans.