ICANN approves .xxx domain for pornography

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Saturday, March 19, 2011
Yesterday, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the agency governing Internet addresses, approved the creation of an "adult entertainment" Internet address, .xxx, on the web, first proposed in 2003. ICANN is the manager of the Internet's top-level domains, such .com, .org and .net.

Cquote1.svg "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 Cquote2.svg

—Stuart Lawley, CEO ICM Registry


ICANN's decision means success for the Florida-based ICM Registry (ICM), the company that first applied for the .xxx domain in 2004. ICM will oversee the new domain and will sell the .xxx Web addresses. ICM hopes that the establishment of a .xxx domain will contribute a degree of predictability and security to the largely unrestrained world of Internet websites. Its chief executive, 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."

The decision was criticized by some of the Internet pornography industry's biggest players who fear they could be the target of arbitrary censorship by governments and boards regulating the .xxx domain.

Anti-pornography campaigners also criticized the move, saying it gives the sex industry legitimacy. But since the .xxx system and its vetting process is voluntary, popular pornographic sites are not likely to trade their .com domains for .xxx. Anti-porn critics say that users who think they are avoiding porn by filtering out .xxx domains will therefore be misled.

ICM's Lawley saw only positive outcomes from the decision: "Everybody wins. The consumer of adult sites wins. The providers will benefit because more people will become paying customers. And those who don't want to go there will win as well, because the sites will be easier to filter."


Sources

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