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Censorship

ICANN Finally Rejects .xxx Domain 245

Posted by Zonk
from the at-least-it's-over dept.
stalebread writes "Faced with opposition from conservative groups and some pornography Web sites, the Internet's key oversight agency voted Wednesday to reject a proposal to create a red-light district on the Internet." From the article: "In a split 9-5 board decision, the organisation acted ruthlessly, against its own previous position, in order to put an end to an increasingly difficult and controversial issue - the approval of a .xxx top-level domain. The .xxx registry application has been the focus of enormous political pressure on ICANN for the past six months and was used at one point as a political football in a wider tussle for power within the internet."
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ICANN Finally Rejects .xxx Domain

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:07AM (#15307885)

    By managing to force ICANN to kill this initiative, you've made certain smut remains where it belongs...out of sight and out of mind (your sight and your mind, anyway).

    Never mind that by stopping the .xxx domain you've neatly made it impossible to protect minors from exposure to pornography (your ostensible goal)...after all, the style is more important than the substance, and 'heroically making a stand against the legitimization of pornography on the Internet' sounds quite stylish, doesn't it?.

    Never mind that porn is as old as the human species, and will continue to be present on the Internet just as it has been present in every other media in human history.

    Never mind that your rejection of an accepted place for it to be located just insures that it will remain in unacceptable places.

    Nope...it's much more important (not to mention easier) to address the hot-button issue of the legitimization of adult content, while conveniently ignoring the reality: that porn isn't going anywhere, no matter how much the fundies shout..

    So porn on the Internet will remain where it belongs...all-pervasive and impossible to effectively block...but at least you made your 'stand'. Well done.
  • Utter stupidity... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drakaan (688386) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:09AM (#15307907) Homepage Journal
    Well, I suppose that if you ignore the reality that internet porn will continue to exist, then it's a good thing to not have it segregated to a particular TLD.

    I really don't get why "conservative" groups would *not* want it...it would make filtering (for sites following the rules) so trivial it'd be ridiculous.

    For that matter, why are some of the porn outfits against the idea? Aside from worrying about a squatter getting your domain name, what's the downside? It's not like a .xxx domain is going to have some stigma that customers would avoid.

    I just don't get it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:10AM (#15307915)
    Or, ICANN protected free speech by refusing to restrict so-called obscene content to certain, easily-blocked, corners of the internet.
  • Never mind that by stopping the .xxx domain you've neatly made it impossible to protect minors from exposure to pornography

    Allowing a .xxx domain would've done nothing to protect minors from exposure to pornography.

    I can't imagine why you think it possibly would. The .xxx domain was just another way to make money from a TLD domain rush (quite a good one I suspect, looking at how much sex.com ended up being worth).
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@OOOopto ... inus threevowels> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:15AM (#15307977) Journal

    A huge campaign against .xxx has seen ICANN's public comment board for the registry flooded in recent days by hundreds of posters with little or no understanding of the .xxx bid, but all stating their opposition to its approval. The same campaign has been raging for months, with one ICANN Board member sent threatening letters due to an assumed bias for the registry.

    Sounds like a typical day on Slashdot... but seriously, everyone's so concerned about the problem of pornography and had to limit access to it, and yet here is an attractive solution, with very little downside, and of course the fanatics are opposed. They want porn banned entirely, and aren't willing to even see a half-measure put in place to curb and control it. THey want to throw the baby out with the bath water, all because their "morality" is somehow superior to mine. Well, last time I checked, the Constitution of the United States gives me the right to decide for myself what I want to look at and see, and also allows me the right to do it without fear of persecution by the Government or my fellow citizens.

    Not everyone believes what the fanatics believe and every individual is entitled to his/her own opinion. And while your opinion might be different than mine, I don't get to foist mine off on you and visa versa. So the fundamentalist s need to go home and play with their toys in private and leave me alone.

    What happened behind the scenes was that the US administration told ICANN chairman Vint Cerf and head Paul Twomey that it did not approve of the domain, but due to the difficult political position that it would put both ICANN and the US government in were it to be seen to be directing internet policy (against its publicly stated "hands off" policy), there has been a carefully co-ordinated effort to kill the registry through delay.

    Ok, who sees this for the FUD it is? Of course the US Government is directing things at ICANN; they've been basically getting ICANN to thumb its nose at the rest of the world's concerns for years. Why should now be any different? They undoubtedly made it clear that this wasn't going to happen, and Cerf and Twomey then had to find some way to kill the thing gracefully, rather than coming out and saying "the US made us do it" and face the wrath of Congress. And so the slow, lingering death.

    ICANN gets less relevant every month it seems.

  • Never mind that by stopping the .xxx domain you've neatly made it impossible to protect minors from exposure to pornography (your ostensible goal)...

    I normally agree with you, but I think you're completely off-base here. I was against .xxx because it was a bad idea. There were two main possibilities: 1) usage was voluntary, or 2) usage was compulsory. The former was silly; I don't recall anyone ever saying that they actually looked forward to using .xxx. The latter was scary; who decides what goes in there? What countries are affected? What's the penalty for deciding to publish a nude photo under .com and being ratted out by an over-zealous watchdog group?

    No, I can't think of a single change from this proposal (other than compelling 90% of the population to add .xxx to a TLD blacklist in their browser - if you don't want to look at porn, you won't mind blacklisting it, ja?). No one wanted it, it couldn't have worked, and it would have caused more problems than it ever could have solved.

  • Re:Good (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:20AM (#15308021)
    "1) establish .xxx domain
    2) pass law forcing all questionable content to use .xxx domains only
    3) block all .xxx domains."
    4) Now that the .xxx domain is useless all porn is moved back to the normal domains (outside US,just like taxes)
    5) Create a timemachine go back to the earlier stages of the domain suggestion and cancel it.
    6) MORE PORN!=)
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:23AM (#15308052)
    What makes .xxx a farce is that you would never be able to enforce step 2, and the meaning of 'questionable' is highly subjective. I think ICANN is right to reject the idea of the .xxx TLD, it is a ludicrous idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:24AM (#15308073)
    ...in zoning regulations, and accidentally allowing them to pop up anywhere without restriction.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:28AM (#15308108) Journal
    As stated, it is a foothold for censorship... of the worst kind, and that is because it will be totally ineffectual, cannot be enforced any better than any other pornography law. Worse, it would make some groups feel they are getting something done, and soon there would be other domains where this or that is supposed to be neatly filed away.

    The ONLY real answer is sensible sex industry cooperation and self censorship. I don't mean they should take their websites down, but they should open their site with a uniform warning page allowing the site to be filtered thereafter, or other such methods. By following rules that make them nice netizens, they will effectively allow the law enforcement agencies to track those that are not playing nice... and it IS the ones that don't play nice that we all want hammered into dust. Pop-ups, spam, pop-unders, hijacking... all these things need to go away, and if legitimate porn sites played nice, it would soon become apparent how to attack the problem from a legal standpoint.

    Not having the .xxx domain is the right thing to do as it would only allow the same result as above, and not achieve anything but allow ICAAN or others to make more money off of the porn industry... sigh
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:33AM (#15308149) Homepage

    And I sure as hell support this domain [blindmindseye.com]. Why? It's the only way to let us conservative Christians block porn that won't get struck down by the courts.

    I'm tired of the pornographers whining about the "ghettoization of their free speech." Why don't we just let them sell their goods in the kids' section of a book store? Pornography is not sexual speech. Should it be outlawed? No, each adult has to work on their own morality and forcing them won't make the right moral changes to fix society.

    Let's call a spade a spade. Pornography is only art if you consider a picture of the virgin Mary painted in elephant dung to be art. I consider Playboy's photos to be low class art. A typical porn site is not even remotely art or expressive except in the lowest, most attavistic sense. There are two good reasons for not banning porn: we don't want judges and legislators legally defining what is and isn't art and it's a private moral issue that cannot be stopped by the stroke of a pen.

  • Let's see.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Churla (936633) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:38AM (#15308198)
    The conservatives don't want an easy to access way to find lots of porn. They want to keep it tucked out of sight.

    The porn industry doesn't want to be partially forced into one little cubbyhole where they can be easily targeted and persecuted for the services and products they provide. They want to stay out of the limelight of persecution.

    The geeks know that this is useless as it will be impossible to enforce (just like ONLY non profits being .org or only net based businesses being .net or only businesses in a certain country using that countries extension (i.e. .us and .uk for example))

    Is there ANYBODY who actually has a good reason for this to exist?
  • Unacceptable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Never mind that your rejection of an accepted place for it to be located just insures that it will remain in unacceptable places.

    What's so unacceptable about pornographic sites residing in .com, .org, .net , etc domains?

    People in western countries, and in the United States in paticular, have, for reasons inexplicable, a huge problem with sex. It's still seen as wrong, dirty, nasty, etc, etc. Unfit for public exposure. Unacceptable.

    Tough shit. People are interested in sex. People want to know about sex. In fact, people need to know about sex. Just because certain wretches find anything to do with sex perturbing does not mean that the rets of us have to kowtow to their demands.

    Of course, most contemporary pornography is pretty grotesque. This is of course, a result of the mass censorship and taboos placed on it, not because sex is inherantly predisposed to concoct such images.

    Todays fun fact: In the 1930's, the Irish Free State Government commissioned a report into the sexual behaviour of the strongly Catholic, highly conservative irish population. What did they find? Rampant deviancy. Incest, Beastiality, pedophilia, rape, extra-marital affairs, sado-masochism, etc were all extremely common. Why? Because of the censorship and vilification of normal healthy sexual relationships. The report was vigourously supressed, and is largely unspoken of to this day. Now I understand where all those jokes about farmers and sheep came from when I was growing up.

    My own opinion is that the Bible Belt territory of the United States is probably in a similar state, thank' to years of repression. Whenever I see images of crowds of "moral crusaders", I'm of the opinion that a large number of them are very depraved in private. I think statistics would back me up if anyone had the gall to do some surveys on the matter. I suspect that these are the people buying all this twisted porn.

    So screw them. And screw the opinion that the rest of us should have to censor ourselves because of their dirty minds. People should grow up knowing what a clitoris is and what it's for. If some poor girl grows up never knowing because her idiot parents or pastor felt it was better that she didn't, that's unacceptable.
  • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @09:57AM (#15308365)
    In many discussions it seems that this is getting turned into a "conservatives vs. liberals" discussion or similar. I do not really see why.

    Why? Because the whole issue only exists because of a division in US Republican Party internal politics. And since the Republicans control the US Congress and White House, they have a certain amount of influance over ICANN and were pushing this issue one way or the other.
  • Let's try a little experiment: replace ".xxx" with ".abortion". A majority of Americans are against abortion, so it seems like a good idea to segregate information about it from the rest of the Internet. Now, who is more likely to be anti-.abortion - fundamentalists or pro-free-speech groups? Doesn't the second group have at least as much legitimate complaint against the idea as the first?

    Ok, take the analogy to the next step: .whitesupremacy. I don't think a great majority of the planet likes the idea any more than I do, so let's segregate it as well.

    This isn't a free speech issue. Anyone can sign up for a domain name and host a web site. You can have just about any combination of domain and TLD you can think of to represent your business, your ideas, your organization. And it's free for anyone to access (except in China [different topic for a different day]). Not only is it free to access, it's also possible for you to avoid content you don't like. The choice is yours -- it should not be up to any subgroup or splinter faction.

    Now, I hate white supremacists, but they have the right to espouse their views just as I have when I post here. Do I go to their web sites? No. I avoid them. Real easy -- I don't search for them and don't follow links to them. If they wanted their own TLD (and ICANN decided [with US Government "assistance"] it was ok) that it was ok, fine by me. It makes it easier for me to find, true, but it also makes it easier for me to avoid. Don't go to sites with the TLD .whitesupremacy. Buy filtering software for my computer so my kids can't go there either.

    In the end, this is not some heinous idea. It won't lead to the fall of civilization -- lying, backstabbing, graft, corruption and violence will take care of that. I see your point, but I don't think you've taken into consideration the scope of human belief. THe only way we're going to make things work in this world is to accept the premise that everyone is different, while at the same time those differences can be bridged by common, fundamental rights that all can enjoy without duress.

  • by tyresyas (826753) <rtharper@a f t e r e ternity.co.uk> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:00AM (#15308404)
    Pictures of naked people for people to look at just because they're naked are porn...seems a fair definition.

    A lot of artists and photographers would probably take issue with that comment. The line is far from clear-cut and this is not the first argument over what is classified art vs pornographic material. And not just visual/audio information is a problem. What if people blog about something inappropriate (sexual experiences, whatever), are then, all Livejournal/Blogger/etc. sites required to move to .xxx or at least a subset of journals thereof? I don't consider that pornography, although probably not something I'd want my young child to read. But I don't think it should be moved to the red-light district of the internet.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:09AM (#15308482) Homepage
    I know it's fun and easy to blame so many things on "the fundies", but would you mind referencing ANY influential Christian group that was lobbying ICANN over the .xxx TLD? And just because The Register says so, that doesn't make it true.
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@@@earthshod...co...uk> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:11AM (#15308515)
    The problem is this. If you create a top-level domain specifically for porn, you are admitting that porn exists. And unfortunately, there are too many people who have a problem with that.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:24AM (#15308640)
    Allowing a .xxx domain would've done nothing to protect minors from exposure to pornography.
    That's not 100% accurate.

    With a .xxx TLD, the legitimate porn vendors would have a TLD that could be 100% blocked by schools and "nanny" programs. That means that anything they put there would be as "safe" as possible from innocent children accessing it. Any time a kid at school got to a .xxx site, it would be the fault of the vendor making the "nanny" app or the school for not securing its system correctly.

    Now, this would not do anything to "protect" the children from a .com site run in some other country. But partial "protection" is better than no "protection" at all.

    "Protection" is in quotes because this is about filtering and legal liability, not "protecting" children.

    That being said, I don't think another TLD is scalable. Instead, a .xxx.us domain would be better. And so on for each country that wants to do so.
    The .xxx domain was just another way to make money from a TLD domain rush (quite a good one I suspect, looking at how much sex.com ended up being worth).
    Yeah, there would be a rush. But that's just evidence that the TLD system is busted. There wouldn't be as big a rush if it was .xxx.us.
  • by shotfeel (235240) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:32AM (#15308720)
    Yes, everyone seems to forget that people across the political spectrum were against this. Seen from the right, is was a tool for propogating porn. Seen from the left, it was a tool for censorship. Seen from the middle, who cares one way or the other?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:34AM (#15308756)
    Folks like you (not schooled in art) say "I don't know what art is, but I know what I like."

    One of my art instructors was fond of saying "I know what art is, but I don't know what I like."

    The fact that you hated the elephant dung piece so vehemently is proof that it IS art. Art is NOT a pretty picture on the wall (sometimes if it is stunningly beautiful, but not simply "pretty"); if it doesn't elicit a reaction, it isn't art.

    You probably don't consiter a Picasso to be art, either. However, if you do consider Picasso an artist, you will be chagrined to learn that in his final years, he drew and painted nothing but vaginas (google if you wish, or search a wiki).

    Matt Groening hiliariously shredded you folks in a Simpsons cartoon where Flanders tried to ge Michalangelo's "David" censored. Or don't you consider Michaelangelo an artist either?

    As to your Christianity, you might want to read a little of the NEW testament - you know, the part that actually has Christ in it.

    Before you try to take the speck out of my eye, you might get the two by four out of your own (yes, I paraphrased Jesus there).

    Unless you are without sin, perhaps you should drop your rocks, eh? You raise your children as you see fit, read, watch, and ignore what you want, pray for those you think are sinners (as if you're not), speak against what you percieve as evil, and leave everyone else alone? Because, after all, that IS what Jesus would have done. Hypocrite.

    BTW, I'm a Christian. That means I'm against the war (ANY war, my greatest sin was being in the Air Force) and against capitol punishment. And FOR a higher minimum wage and universal health care. Again, you might want to crack open the last several chapters of your Bible, you folks seem to have not read much past Deuteronomy. Have you read the Song Of Solomon? I'd have to place that part of my bible [holy-bible.us] (yes, I posted it there) in an XXX domain.

    It's hypocrites like you and Pat Robertson who give Christians a bad name.

    -mcgrew
  • Re:Unacceptable? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AnonymousKev (754127) on Thursday May 11, 2006 @10:57AM (#15309028)
    >What's so unacceptable about pornographic sites residing in .com, .org, .net , etc domains?

    I often ask myself a similar question. What's wrong with raw sewage flowing down the middle of my street? Defecation is a normal and natural part of everyone's life, why shouldn't it be put on display in public areas? In vast quantities. If someone wants to take a simple stroll without having to deal with the visuals and the smell, well, just screw them.

    Your response is fairly angry and, ironically, makes the same bad assumptions of the people you're blasting. I only have time to briefly address your mistakes, so here's the quick outline.

    • Mistake #1: sex == pornography.

      Granted, this line will never be definitively drawn. It varies from person-to-person ... and always will. But --in general-- information about sexual function is not the same as explicit sexual photos/descriptions for the purpose of excitement. The .xxx domain idea was to catagorize pornography, not censor it. I personally don't think it will work for reasons better stated by other posters.

    • Mistake #2: Blaming Only "Them"

      You should at least read the article summary: "conservative groups and some internet porn sites". Both sides had arguments against the proposal.

    • Mistake #3: Binary solution

      You paint the "fundies" as sex-hating hypocrits who want to solve the problem by locking up all references to sex. But your solution is to release it into all aspects of life. There is no ON/OFF solution to this problem. No matter how much politicians and TV anchors try to convince you otherwise.

    • Mistake #4: "So screw 'em"

      At it's core, the argument concerning how a society handles sexually explicit material is a matter of compromise. And, like all matters of compromise, require a level of respect and reason to reach a satisfactory solution. Yes, you will find unyielding jerks on both sides of this argument, but try to reduce the count by one and be part of the solution.

  • by Kadin2048 (468275) <[slashdot.kadin] [at] [xoxy.net]> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:03AM (#15309092) Homepage Journal
    This is all very well and good, but it relies on porn sites having 100% compliance with the .xxx TLD -- that is, they have to agree to be in the porn ghetto themselves.

    I don't see that happening. Oh sure, maybe in the US, in the current political climate, we'd see a rush of laws to require "adult" sites to be in .xxx, but I don't think you'd get that in other countries. And in case you haven't trolled around the internet recently, there's a lot of porn out there that doesn't call the Estados Unidos home.

    I'd wager once you had all of the good, wholesome, American style big-boobies-and-sultry-lips porn locked up behind nanny filters, instead you'd just have kids seeing what kind of new and different Japanese tentacle porn they could turn up. Or German schiesse porn -- now that's what I want to see at my local library.

    So what do you do about all the porn from the foreign countries that don't have .xxx laws? Build a giant National Internet Filter? I'm sure Cisco could get right on that, but then I think you've created a solution that's a thousand times worse than the problem. (Which I'm not convinced is that severe anyway -- I saw my share of porn growing up, and some of it was really filthy shit, and I didn't turn into some sort of maniacal sex pervert as a result. Just one sample, but I'm unconvinced of the "danger" of pure porn. Anyway...)

    Everything about the .xxx TLD was stupid. Just dumb. It was a regulation being promulgated by politicians and pundits and a whole lot of other people who either don't know or choose to ignore the complexities of the Internet, and never wanted to think about the enforcement aspects of such a rule.

    Partial protection is NOT better than no protection at all. That's where I fundamentally disagree with you. Any level of protection is just going to cause parents to get lazier, and feel that they can send their kids down to the library to use the internet in lieu of daycare or a babysitter (or actually spending time with them), because someone on TV told them the internet was now "safer." A false sense of security is worse than no security at all.
  • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday May 11, 2006 @11:34AM (#15309457) Homepage Journal

    This is all very well and good, but it relies on porn sites having 100% compliance with the .xxx TLD -- that is, they have to agree to be in the porn ghetto themselves.

    No, it doesn't. Reread the post you responded to.

    Solutions don't have to be perfect to be useful.

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