HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The University of Hawaii is asking legislators to toughen laws to make it easier to go after web site operators who try to hurt the school's image after a pornographic web site called universityofhawaii.xxx began operation earlier this year.
The UH is already threatening the porn web site operator with legal action if it doesn't stop using the school's name as its domain name. The site features pictures of men and women in various sex acts.
The UH wants lawmakers to consider amending a bill on unauthorized computer use to include fraudulent use of Internet domain names.
"We believe that individuals who willfully and purposely attempt to profit through misleading the public by misrepresenting governmental organizations should also be held accountable as the wrongdoers they are," wrote University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood in written testimony to the State Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology.
The committee's chair, State Sen. Carol Fukunaga, said Wednesday she planned to work with the university to amend the bill to incorporate UH officials' concerns.
While the UH has not developed specific language for a bill, Greenwood said, "One approach might be to update Hawaii's decade-old statutes on 'cybersquatting' to include the fraudulent use of domain names, such as the kind of malicious representation we are now seeing."
"I think it's important to us that people who try to besmirch us don't get to do it without some penalty," Greenwood told Hawaii News Now on Monday.
The UH has given the porn web site until Friday to stop using its name or the university has threatened to take the web site to federal and or state court.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the web site was still up and using the same University of Hawaii title.
But there was one change. On Monday, the link to get into the site said, "Hot Nude Hawaiian College Girls." But Wednesday, that link was gone and replaced with the more staid word, "ENTER."
Other universities have purchased various versions of the .xxx suffix, which became available in December 2011, to protect themselves from just this sort of unsavory use. Each .xxx suffix costs about $100 a year. But UH did not.
"We considered it. But then when we thought about it, we realized that there are so many names that could have xxx attached to it," Greenwood said. "So this was the decision that we made that we would fight it if it happened but there was no way we could completely buy every name."
Hawaii News Now emailed the web site's webmaster Monday and asked for comment but did not receive a response.