Home Industry Development .xxx gets the go-ahead from ICANN

.xxx gets the go-ahead from ICANN

The ICANN board has gone against the advice of its government advisory committee and approved a proposal for a .xxx domain.


Who says tenacity doesn't pay off? After more than a decade, a proposal to establish a .xxx top level domain (TLD) as a home for 'adult' content on the Internet has been approved by the ICANN board. The decision was made in the face of concerns expressed by the ICANN government advisory committee (GAC).

ICM Registry's proposal for .xxx dates back to 2004, although there were earlier attempts to establish such a TLD. Much of the debate over the years has been technical in the sense of focusing on whether ICANN's processes and criteria had been correctly applied.

In mid 2010 it was determined that ICM had met the required criteria for establishing a sponsored TLD.

However, the GAC was still not happy, and advised the board that there was no active support by the GAC for the introduction of .xxx, and that some members were emphatically opposed to it from a public policy perspective. Furthermore, "an introduction of a .xxx TLD into the root might lead to steps taken by some governments to prohibit access to this TLD. The GAC therefore calls the Board's attention to concerns expressed  by experts that such steps bear a potential risk/threat to the universal resolvability and stability of the DNS."

The board pointed out that the support of the GAC is not a required criterion, and that "if some blocking of the .xxx sTLD does occur there's no evidence the result will be different from the blocking that already occurs."

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ICM CEO Stuart Lawley said "For the first time there will be a clearly defined web address for adult entertainment, out of the reach of minors and as free as possible from fraud or malicious computer viruses. We believe consumers will be more prepared to make purchases on .xxx sites, safe in the knowledge their payments will be secure."

The proposed registry agreement between ICANN and ICM requires the latter to (among other things) promote responsible business practices, take steps to prevent malicious domain hijacking, verify the identity of organisations registering .xxx domain names. and provide for rapid takedown when abusive registrations are challenged.

On the subject of abusive registrations, ICM has proposed a mechanism that will allow the GAC or individual governments participating in the GAC to propose the reservation of names that match words of cultural or religious significance.

"Tens of thousands of adult entertainment website owners recognise the business benefits of .xxx and have already applied to pre-reserve over 200,000 .xxx domains," said Mr Lawley.

 

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.