TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: ICANN Will Create '.xxx' Porn Domain

ICANN Will Create '.xxx' Porn Domain

Anick Jesdanun, Associated Press (
Sat, 06 Jan 2007 12:25:08 -0600

Plan would create '.xxx' Web porn domain
By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer

The Internet's key oversight agency has revived a proposal it earlier
rejected to create an online red-light district, after adding stronger
provisions to prohibit child pornography and require labeling of Web
sites with sexually explicit materials.

The use of the proposed ".xxx" domain name would remain voluntary, but
any porn sites that choose to use it instead of the more popular
".com" would be subject to the new terms issued late Friday by the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

The idea of a separate ".xxx" domain has generated significant
opposition from conservative groups and even some pornography Web

But ICANN officials said they initially rejected the proposal in May
not because of the opposition but because of concerns that the agency
might be put in a difficult position of having to enforce all of the
world's laws governing pornography. They noted that various nations'
speech-related laws sometimes conflict with one another.

The new proposal does not directly address any potential conflicts in
laws, but it calls for the company backing it, ICM Registry Inc. of
Jupiter, Fla., to hire independent organizations to monitor porn
sites' compliance with the new rules.

ICANN, the agency in Marina del Rey, Calif., designated by the U.S.
government to oversee domain name policies, opened the proposal to
public comment but did not indicate when it would rule.

If approved, ICM would be required to help develop mechanisms for
promoting child safety and preventing child pornography, "including
practices that appeal to pedophiles or suggest the presence of child
pornography on the site."

Porn sites would have to participate in a self-descriptive labeling
system, likely one from the Internet Content Rating Association. Under
it, Web sites add tags based on such criteria as the presence of
nudity and whether it is in an artistic or educational context, such
as for sites on breast feeding. Relatively few sites now participate,
although major Web browsers have mechanisms for reading the tags.

ICM also would have to develop automated tools to check for compliance
and give users ways to report violations.

ICM believes the domain would help the $12 billion online porn
industry clean up its act, as those using it must abide by rules
designed to bar such trickery as spamming and malicious scripts.

Anti-porn advocates, however, countered that sites would be free to
keep their current ".com" address, in effect making porn more easily
accessible by creating yet another channel to house it.

Many porn sites also objected, fearing that an ".xxx' domain would
pave the way for governments or even private industry to filter speech
that is protected in the United States by the First Amendment.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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