this is really funny, some people want it and some people don't
Commerce Dept. Opposes '.xxx' Domain for Adult Sites
By Chris Gaither
Times Staff Writer
2:57 PM PDT, August 16, 2005
The U.S. government wants the Internet's oversight body to put a red light on its plans to offer an online red-light district.
Officials from the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers were struggling today on how to roll out the .xxx Internet domain — which would be for pornographic websites what .com is for general sites — in the face of increasing criticism.
The domain was proposed five years ago by a private company, ICM Registry, as a virtual red light district where adult websites would have to follow certain guidelines, such as not advertising through unsolicited commercial e-mail or marketing to children.
Participation by those sites would be voluntary, and critics said it would do little but legitimize pornography.
ICANN gave the plan tentative approval June 1 and planned this week to sign a contract to have ICM Registry oversee the domain. ICM on today offered to delay the signing by a month to allow more discussion.
Michael D. Gallagher, assistant secretary for communications and information in the Commerce Department, said in a letter to ICANN Chairman Vint Cerf last week that the department had received 6,000 letters and e-mails opposing the creation of a so-called top level domain, such as .com and .edu, specifically for adult sites.
"The volume of correspondence opposed to the creation of a .xxx TLD is unprecedented," Gallagher wrote in urging ICANN to take those concerns into consideration before acting.
Complaints have grown louder as the launch grew imminent.
Other countries have voiced concerns about dedicating a portion of the Internet for pornographers. Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, chairman of ICANN's Government Advisory Committee, said in a letter last week that "a strong sense of discomfort" exists among committee members representing countries that he did not name.
ICM executives said today that they were disappointed by the last-minute criticism. ICANN members and the public have openly debated the issue for 18 months.
"We are, to say the very least, disappointed that concerns that should have been raised and addressed weeks and months ago are being raised in the final days before the [ICANN] board is scheduled to approve the agreement negotiated with staff," ICM Registry Chairman Stuart Lawley wrote to Paul Twomey, executive director of Marina del Rey-based ICANN.
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