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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    sTLDs hoping to enter legacy root ICANN .xxx
    posted by michael on Thursday June 02 2005, @05:30AM

    Talk about decisions that come out of nowhere with no public discussion or warning: ICANN advances the .xxx domain name. Read the official press release or the CNN story.

    But most of all, read Lauren Weinstein's commentary, which seems to me to get the issues about exactly right.

    As the online link won't be up for a while yet, I've taken the liberty of reproducing the full text below:

    From: Lauren Weinstein 
    Date: June 2, 2005 12:39:32 AM EDT
    To: dave@farber.net
    Cc: lauren@vortex.com
    Subject: ICANN's "ex-ex-ex" domains and the slippery slope


    As noted in:


    ICANN has reversed its long-standing opposition to a TLD (top-level domain) "red-light district" and is moving toward creation of a "dot-ex-ex-ex" domain space (my phonetic spelling is an attempt to avoid having this message and your list shunted by the usual simpleminded filters).

    This about-face by ICANN demonstrates yet again how major decisions by the organization are made without significant, broad public discourse. Ironically, it also reverses one of the more sensible arguments that ICANN had previously been making.

    Unlike other "topic-specific" TLDs like dot-jobs or dot-travel, the existence of dot-ex-ex-ex is likely to create a political and litigious firestorm over time, as various government entities move to try force "adult" sites into the new domain space, and battles erupt over what an adult site is defined to be.

    While some obviously hardcore sites will likely be enthusiastic about having an ostensibly "safe" TLD for operations, a vast number of sites that aren't hardcore, or that have a variety of materials -- only some of which are adult oriented in nature -- are likely to be far less willing to be categorized in that manner.

    Will there be calls for any site with explicit photographs or texts (even in classical or health contexts) to be relegated to the new dot-ex-ex-ex domains? What about sites selling contraceptives, sexual aids, or "adult toys" of various kinds? Given the history of the religous right, these should not be considered to be far-fetched possibilities. Will it be mandated that you must "prove" your adult status (e.g., by identifying yourself with a credit card) before you may have access to the new domains? Certainly many organizations (and possibly even ISPs) will be pressured to block access, making "forced" population of the new TLD even more problematic.

    And does this set a precedent that will be applied to other areas of Internet content control, especially if some or all of the Children's Online Protection Act (COPA) is upheld by the Supreme Court?

    The creation of dot-ex-ex-ex may set the stage for potentially damaging and disruptive content control and censorship wars that we can hardly even imagine today. It's worth thinking through these issues very carefully before going down that path.

    Lauren Weinstein
    lauren@pfir.org or lauren@vortex.com or lauren@eepi.org
    Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
    Co-Founder, PFIR
      - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
    Co-Founder, EEPI
      - Electronic Entertainment Policy Initiative - http://www.eepi.org
    Moderator, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
    Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
    Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
    DayThink: http://daythink.vortex.com

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      Related Links  
    · ICANN
    · official press release
    · CNN story
    · More sTLDs hoping to enter legacy root stories
    · Also by michael
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