.xxx Gets Thumbs-Down From ICANN

The .xxx domain suffix that was proposed for sites containing adult content (porn) has been voted down by ICANN, the internet’s governing body, by a vote of 9-5.

Women holding each other

Word on the street is that it was voted down because of US political interference:

…from Reuters…

Supporters said a .xxx domain would have made it easier to confine sex sites or filter them out, but critics such as the Family Research Council, a conservative U.S.-based religious group, complained it would only legitimise the porn industry.

The EU executive said the decision underscored the need to make ICANN independent quickly, following unsuccessful demands last year by a group of countries including the EU to make ICANN fully independent.

“We see here a first clear case of political interference in ICANN,” said Martin Selmayr, spokesman for EU Information Society and Media Commissioner, Viviane Reding.

He said correspondence between ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce, highlighted the “interference”.

ICANN, a California-based non-profit group, cannot make changes to the domain-name system without the approval of the U.S. Commerce Department.

“It’s a worrying development that the U.S. administration has interfered in this process,” Selmayr said.

Creating a dedicated domain suffix (xxx) would make it much easier to filter adult content. You could block it at the ISP level so there would be no way of viewing .xxx sites through your internet connection, if that was what you wanted.

CBC reports the story a little differently, stating that many porn sites were against a .xxx suffix fearing censorship. They also report that anti-porn activists were against the proposal for fears it would legitimise the porn industry.

CBC also reports:

ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey said the creation of .XXX sites might put the organization in the position of having to regulate the online pornography industry, a task considered extremely difficult because of different laws around the world.

The online porn industry’s revenues exceed 2.5 billion dollars annually. I don’t think the creation of a dedicated domain suffix would legitimise the industry any more than those kind of revenues do.

What do you think?

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