August 16, 2005 5:39 PM PDT

Vote on .xxx pushed back a month

A final decision on the fate of the highly controversial .xxx domain, which was intended to be reserved for online pornography, will not happen until September.

The board of directors of the nonprofit group that oversees domain names said on Tuesday that it would delay a vote until its next meeting on Sept. 15. That decision follows last-minute opposition to the creation of .xxx from the Bush administration and other national governments. The vote was originally supposed to take place on Tuesday.

The move by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was expected after ICM Registry, the Florida company that plans to operate .xxx, agreed on Monday to a month's delay, saying the additional time would permit it to assuage concerns about the creation of a virtual red-light district.

John Jeffrey, ICANN's general counsel, said in an e-mail that ".xxx was deferred in response to requests from the applicant ICM, as well as ICANN Government Advisory Committee Chairman's and the U.S. Department of Commerce's request to allow for additional time for comments by interested parties."

In an unprecedented move in ICANN's seven-year history, the Bush administration intervened in the domain name creation process by sending a letter saying: "The Department of Commerce has received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails from individuals expressing concern about the impact of pornography on families and children." ICANN had endorsed the concept of an .xxx domain in June and approval of ICM Registry's contract to run the suffix was expected to take place in a routine vote this week.

After ICANN's vote to approve .xxx, conservative groups in the United States called on their supporters to ask the Commerce Department to block the new suffix.

The Family Research Council, for instance, warned that "pornographers will be given even more opportunities to flood our homes, libraries and society with pornography through the .xxx domain." In an unusual twist, the American Civil Liberties Union has also raised concerns about .xxx, predicting that the new domain would create a near-irresistable temptation for governments to make it mandatory for pornographic sites.

Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, chairman of ICANN's advisory committee of government officials, asked for a halt to .xxx in a letter last week. Tarmizi told CNET News.com that "I have not gotten a response from the Board as yet, nor do I expect one.

"I spoke to the board based on my observation of the recent meeting in Luxembourg that many governments are still grappling with the debates on this issue and although it is a long outstanding issue, in this regard, I felt that a little more time was warranted for views to be expressed, if any," said Tarmizi, an official on Malaysia's communications commission.

17 comments

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Just let it go
ICANN has already approved the thing. Just let it go through. If anything this will make it easier for parents to block pornographic sites because all they would have to do is block the domain .xxx. It should be mandatory for pornographic sites to have a .xxx tld.
Posted by darkfate26 (8 comments )
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Posted by (4 comments )
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what duh?
Exactly, it should be *mandatory* for porn sites to be in .xxx and not .com or others. It would make it so much easier to block these sites and much less likely to just stumble onto these sites like many people do.

Do any of these people who are protesting this even surfed the web before? There must be a million of these porn sites and I doubt giving them a new domain name will do any harm.

Their slippery-slope argument is like saying because Nevada legalized prostitution, everyone will move there.

Get your head out of the hole and be realistic.
Posted by (3 comments )
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the only way to go is .xxx
Joe is so right, it's a no-brainer, all adult content to .xxx, protect kids, and allow adults to have their own domain. Variants could be .adu, etc., but the idea finally will be, once agreed to [the domains] content NOT so denominated would be subject to prosecution, for being outside where it belongs. The responsible websites will always comply.

It'll happen in time, because it's the easiest plan to implement.
Posted by eirehawk (1 comment )
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Where do these people think porn will go?
I agree with the other comments. Blocking the .xxx domain will not stop pornography, it will simply keep it where it is now, primarily on the .com domain. This makes it less difficult for parents to block, and also makes it more likely the rest of us will suffer inadvertent exposure to porn sites.

This is a typical response of the conservative, religious, far-right movement. Ignore an issue and pretend it will go away. They confuse acknowledgement and management of an issue with condoning and approving it. Like handing out condoms to kids.

Bruce
Posted by bahead (27 comments )
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Posted by (4 comments )
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I have to agree BUT...
The whole idea behind the xxx etc domains is to keep pornography out of the eyes of innocents, those who just don't want to know, and the far right theologists who'd burn everyone but religious freaks (of their own denomination) at the stake.

It's now the 21st Century live and let live for crying out loud. Let those interesed in pornography have their domains and leave them alone. IT'S NEVER GOING AWAY! at least this way it is kept to those who are interested and away from those who aren't.


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Posted by ghaaspp (10 comments )
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Another sign of stupidity of the Bush Admin.
I think everyone that has posted here is on the same page. As a programmer, I know how much easier it is to block .XXX domains, even for IT admins and need I say parents! Are these people stupid? Why don't they stick to what they know best... violence(war).
Posted by VbMan (5 comments )
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what I still want to know
I've posted this at least a dozen times and never gotten an answer.

Is how your are going to get compliance, do you really think that just becase there is a ".xxx" domain all the porn sites hosted across the globe are going to magicly switch over? Who is going to define what porn is and what porn isn't even if you can get them to switch?
Posted by Bob Brinkman (556 comments )
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Use of the .xxx Domain in an IT environment.
I think the .xxx domain would be a great idea. From an ITs perspective, being able to block all pornographic websites is almost an impossibility. With the new domain, and a mandatory usage among the porn industry, one would be able to restrict access by simply adding the domain in your website blacklist. This would solve trying to block any and all randomly named porn sites and lessen the use of the filtering software an organization would have in place for such things.

Jeff
Posted by (1 comment )
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No Delays!
The necissity for for the new xxx domains is more than a little urgent.

Those concerned for the welfare of children, and those involved in the adult industry must push to get this sorted once and for all

Marcus Gardner




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Posted by (1 comment )
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Posted by (4 comments )
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its been around for years
.xxx is nothing new. It has been around for many years, just not as a top level domain as they are trying to push it now but as an "plugin" type offered by a certain registrar. What is not fair is all the people that registered a .xxx domain using this registrar and will now lose out if this with the release of xxx a top level with ICANN. This whole thing should just be dropped its just wrong.
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Posted by (4 comments )
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I Understand...
Having read the replies to this story, "it's been around for years" etc, I have to reitierate that in the interests of children and the industry it is important that the xxx domains are introduced as soon as possible.

We in the industry are already facing draconian measures from the American Federal Government amongst others, so these domains are essential if the industry is to continue as it has in the past.

Making it easier to prevent children accessing unsuitable content HAS to be a good thing all round. Just for starters it will place the responsibility for what children access on the web, squarely on the parents shoulders.

Marcus Gardner

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Posted by ghaaspp (10 comments )
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Unenforceable?
So, how will it be possible to force all pornographic websites to switch?
Many domain owners are not US based, and frequently the .com and .net domains for the same name are owned by different people. So who would get the .xxx domain?
What about country level domains used for pornographic websites, how are you going to enforce transfer of these?
I am in favour of the .xxx domain (although it could be argued that ICANN would have to pay royalties to Stad Amsterdam, for use of the xxx symbol - it is part of the cites crest and the origin of the symbol), but am against making it mandatory.

Stuart
Posted by stuartindigo (9 comments )
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Use robots.txt instead
Creating a new TLD would do no good as all the .com porn sites would remain .com porn sites.

Forcing sites over to .xxx would be a violation of free speech, outside of US jurisdiction, and an unrealistic expectation.

Instead, append the robots.txt standard to support a reference to adult content.

User-agent: *
Adult: /

This would make it easy to filter the sites, it would be optional (and trivial) for them to comply, and it does not require an unrealistic migration of all porn over to a .xxx domain.

I have yet to hear a more practical solution to the problem.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
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