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ICANN scrubs .xxx domain plans

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 0 comment
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London - The internet regulatory body ICANN has canned its own plans for a .xxx domain for pornographic content in a split 9-5 board decision last night.

The move follows several months of speculation and back room dancing, as proponents of the domain demanded somewhere where adult content can be located on the internet, making it easier to keep track of ; and detractors saying that it could both legitimise pornography and also lead to greater state control over the creation of pornographic content.

The domain proposal has been floating about since 2001, and the decision on it was delayed several times. In August of last year it was delayed at the request of the US department of commerce, which said that it had "concerns" over the proposal. The European Commission has bitten back today, with a spokesman for EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding saying "We see here a first clear case of political interference in ICANN," terming the US DoC correspondence as "interference" in ICANN.

Australian minister Helen Coonan welcomed the decision, saying that the .xxx domain would have created a "haven" for illegal material. "The Australian government had grave concerns about the .xxx proposal, stating strong objections to any measure that would lead to an increase in pornography on the internet, push offensive content on vulnerable groups or create a haven for illegal material," Senator Coonan said to Australian IT News.

The campaigns for and against the .xxx domain have been bitter, with one ICANN board member receiving a threatening letter for perceived support of the domain. Those for the introduction of the domain have been crying foul at the political football which has been raging between the US government, which wants to maintain effective control over the internet, and other nations, led by the EU, who want a more independent body than ICANN currently represents. In order to make a change to the domain name structure ICANN would need the approval of the US Department of Commerce, and while the US government has been espousing a "hands off" policy in public, many claim that it is the conservative US government which has been delaying, and finally it seems killing, the .xxx domain.

The 9-5 split on the ICANN board will leave a sour taste in many of the involved people’s mouths, and the reasoning behind their individual decisions will be published later this month. The .xxx domain is dead for the foreseeable future, and the bitter fight for, and against, its existence has highlighted the political battleground that is the internet, and who controls it.

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