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Censorship Government The Internet

India To Ban .xxx Domain 257

Posted by timothy
from the isn't-that-the-whole-point dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Indian government have said they will introduce measures to block the newly approved .xxx domain from the country. The Economic Times reports that 'India along with many other countries from the Middle East and Indonesia opposed the grant of the domain in the first place, and we would proceed to block the whole domain, as it goes against the IT Act and Indian laws.'"
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India To Ban .xxx Domain

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  • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:02PM (#35617836)

    Excuse the pun.

    This is exactly why we didn't want the .xxx domain name. It seems like it exists for the sole purpose of being censored.

    • Errr, top-level domain, oops.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:23PM (#35618016) Journal
      I haven't quite decided on whether it exists to be censored, or as some sort of unwholesome baptists/bootleggers coalition between those who want censorship to be easier and those who want smut to be yet more profitable(and some of that cash to go to them).

      A given human-readable domain name in some TLD just has to be DNS-able back to an IP with something on it in order to be functional. There is no requirement that it be the only domain name that points back to that IP, or that it only point back to one IP. Given that, I'd expect that a fair slice of the .xxx names will simply be purchased by porn outfits who are already online under .com, .net, or others and will point back to exactly the same IPs and servers. Those will represent easy money for whoever runs .xxx; but blocking them will achieve very little, since they will just be a second alias pointing to something that is already pointed to by 'respectable' domains(or obscure TLDs that are super cheap, and who cares as long as our pagerank is good).

      Anybody who is .xxx only will, indeed, be fairly easily censored; but that won't be too helpful to the powers-that-be unless someone manages to require all smut to show up only on .xxx(and how exactly would that be accomplished? Individual nations can restrict use of their own TLDs, or make operating porn servers criminal, or what have you; but nation X can't really tell smut.net in nation Y what TLDs it can or can't have domain names in...) Whether or not .xxx is largely a tool of people who just want another TLD to spin money from(not as bad as those "hey, let's let literally any string be a TLD!" nuisances; but in the same vein...), or whether there is a bloc of ignorant moralists who think that .xxx will magically force all the smut into that one area, where it can be blocked, or whether the moralist bloc is playing a long game, and the eventual plan is some sort of legislative shove is not yet clear to me...
      • Well, certainly having a .xxx TLD would be a prerequisite for requiring adult sites to use it, but I'm not panicking about that...yet.

        I would bet that the real reason the domain was created has nothing to do with either the pornographers or the moralist crusaders, and has everything to do with domain name registrars wanting a piece of action. I read somewhere about a week ago that over 200,000 .xxx domain names had already been purchased. That's a tidy bit of cash, especially if adult websites in the future

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        The thing is, it's not exactly possible to censor a TLD. About all you can do is mandate that ISPs block it on their DNS servers. You can't realistically prevent an entire country from running their own DNS servers, nor from using DNS servers outside the country, nor from using a VPN to tunnel DNS requests, etc. And if there's a market for it, somebody will sell access using just such a VPN.

        • by NevarMore (248971)

          Well actually you can. It just takes a few more steps.

          1. Get a list of all .xxx domains
          2. Query the DNS for the IPs for those domains
          3. Block IPs
          4. Go pick up a whore in the red light district of Calcutta now that you've blocked internet porn

          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Not without a lot of collateral damage, you can't. There's nothing stopping a single hosting server from serving Whitehouse.gov and Whitehouse.com on the same IP.

            • by NevarMore (248971)

              True, but they've already shown that they don't care about the basic social contracts of the internet and are equally ignorant of the technical issues. Why would they care about collateral damage?

        • Having a distinct TLD, rather than just a series of domain names that you have to collect manually, or assemble by some keyword mechanism, or some other messy setup, doesn't make blocking any easier, it just makes identifying your targets easier.

          It doesn't make your censorship mechanism any more sophisticated. ISP DNS server mandates are still the easiest and cheapest and least disruptive to constituencies who matter. Mandating that ISPs block attempts to reach 3rd party DNS servers isn't too much harder
        • by Pharmboy (216950)

          The thing is, it's not exactly possible to censor a TLD.

          Not only is it possible, it is relatively trivial to do. All they have to do is get all ISPs to redirect all port 53 requests to internal DNS servers, then filter their own DNS servers as they wish. Then it is a matter of the DNS server essentially returning "127.0.0.1" for *.xxx That should take care of more than 99% of users. Pretty effective by anyone's standards.

      • There is no requirement that it be the only domain name that points back to that IP, or that it only point back to one IP.

        Not yet. India's action is one half of the censorship that was (accurately) predicted for when .xxx became a reality; the other half, which will probably happen about five minutes from now, is exactly "requir[ing] all smut to show up only on .xxx." What constitutes smut? Why, that's up to "community standards" or some equally ill-defined phrase, of course.

        It doesn't matter if the laws are meaningfully enforceable. It's just another move in the pass-laws-that-makes-everyone-a-criminal game. Double stand

      • ".xxx is largely a tool of people who just want another TLD to spin money from"

        I am not sure all in the money crowd are eager to go there. Can you imagine www.disney.xxx?

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Though, how will they do it? Web proxies? Will they block DNS resolving? What stops a person from pointing to external DNS?

        Trivial to get around. Now maybe they will spider the xxx domains and ban them by IP? That would be awesome... then all someone needs to do is register an XXX domain and point records at IPs.... whoops can you say denial of service?

        Makes me want to register an XXX domain and point records at every IP in ipv4 space. See if they drop off the internet entirely.

        Hopefully, this is good for t

    • by mewsenews (251487) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:37PM (#35618106) Homepage

      This is exactly why we didn't want the .xxx domain name. It seems like it exists for the sole purpose of being censored.

      I would argue the exact opposite and say that this is why we DID want the TLD to exist.

      Reputable smut dealers don't exactly try to hide what they're selling and will have no problem hosting their domains under the .xxx TLD.

      Most people have no problem with the product in adult hands, but would like it to be as easy as possible to block traffic from .xxx domains to an elementary school library without some stupid third party whitelist or blacklist.

      It works out for everybody except porn fans in puritanical countries, as TFA illustrates.

      • Reputable smut dealers don't exactly try to hide what they're selling and will have no problem hosting their domains under the .xxx TLD.

        They do, because they want to sell to "porn fans in puritanical countries."

        India has 1.15 billion people, it's not exactly a small market even for a foreign porn producer.

      • Most people have no problem with the product in adult hands

        Here, "most people" excludes India, the second most populous country on the planet, and presumably China, the most populous country.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It works out for everybody except porn fans in puritanical countries, as TFA illustrates.

        I can't help but notice the influence the religious reich holds over American politics...

    • It seems like it exists for the sole purpose of being censored.

      Exactly...which is why you have to wonder at what the Indian government was thinking when the article also states that "India along with many other countries from the Middle East and Indonesia opposed the grant of the domain in the first place". Shouldn't they have been campaigning for it since it makes it easier to ban?

      • by jrumney (197329)
        Perhaps they opposed the introduction of the domain because the politicians like their porn as much as any other red blooded male (perhaps even more due to the repressed society in which they live), and now they have no excuse not to block it.
        • by Xtifr (1323)

          Damn, it's rare that a post deserves both +1 insightful and +1 funny, but you pulled it off! :)

    • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

      We all knew that it would be banned. We also all know that it will be very profitable to give access to the people who want access to it.

      So, who's going to start the first VPN service targeted to .xxx surfers in India...

    • by sjames (1099)

      Where it is censored, porn in .com will probably also be censored. OTOH, the porn site operator with only .xxx domains has the advantage that nobody can plausibly claim they wandered in and were morally outraged to find porn when they expected child friendly content.

  • Excellent play (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NFN_NLN (633283) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:07PM (#35617884)

    Excellent move by the Indians.

    Nobody wants there porn censored out, not even the Indians (except a few crazy religious zealots). By declaring they will censor it immediately this will surely kill the .xxx domain AND ensure they can get their porn the good ol'fashioned way as they've already been doing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The religious zealots are also the ones consuming. You can look at the consumption rate in Utah for example. (It is much higher)

      http://techliberation.com/2009/03/02/conservatives-porn-and-community-standards/

      • Re:Excellent play (Score:4, Insightful)

        by binary paladin (684759) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `nidalapyranib'> on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:46PM (#35618194)

        Their prescription drug abuse tops the charts. Who needs to loosen up with a beer when you can get Vicodin for a hangnail. Remember, if your doctor okays it, so does your god!

      • all that really says is conservatives think they should pay for sex, liberals may well, being liberal and all, get the stuff for free.... possibly off some other liberal hippy chicks.

        or a million and one other reasons (e.g. liberals put out easier than conservatives so there are more people in conservative places who ain't getting any)

        But there is one thing that should be noted.... people tell you about themselves... so if they think that only dirty perverts watch porn, they must have gotten that idea from

      • by tobiah (308208)

        That's some funny stuff

    • Nobody wants there porn censored out, not even the Indians (except a few crazy religious zealots).

      So far as I know, India is pretty conservative (at least as far as societal norms go). I mean, we're talking about a country where homosexuality is a criminal offense punished by a few years in prison.

      • by NFN_NLN (633283)

        Nobody wants there porn censored out, not even the Indians (except a few crazy religious zealots).

        So far as I know, India is pretty conservative (at least as far as societal norms go). I mean, we're talking about a country where homosexuality is a criminal offense punished by a few years in prison.

        "The Kama Sutra (Sanskrit: , Kmastra) is an ancient Indian Hindu[1][2] text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sanskrit literature written by Vtsyyana. A portion of the work consists of practical advice on sexual intercourse.[3] It is largely in prose, with many inserted anustubh poetry verses. "Kma" which is one of the three goals of Hindu life, means sensual or sexual pleasure..."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kama_Sutra [wikipedia.org]

        I could have just replied with the word "Kama Sutra"

      • Do your research. India has decriminalized homo sexual activity in 2009 and nobody has been convicted for it in twenty years either.

        • You're the fifth person who posted that same exact comment in response to mine. I suggest you follow your own advice regarding doing research first before calling other people stupid.

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)

            So your only response to being shown totally wrong by several people is to attack the latest of them for being one of many? You should at least also apologize for being wrong and looking like a bigot. But since you didn't, you tend to confirm that you're a bigot, and don't really care whether you're right or wrong.

    • by antdude (79039)

      "their" :P

  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:10PM (#35617912) Homepage

    Why are they against porn being collected into a domain that they can easily block?

    • by tacarat (696339)
      Exactly. If you lived in those countries, porn access wasn't allowed anyhow (pretty much unenforceable, though). It won't change anything. Porn sites will keep their .com/net/sheep TLD names and have a .xxx one. Countries or networks with filters in place will still have circumvention by whatever means are needed. The politicians and folks in power can now make empty boasts about cleaning up the internet and the rest of us can still enjoy the things from the pre-.xxx world like nothing happened.

      Wake
  • Makes me wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nikker (749551) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:19PM (#35617974)
    Kinda makes you wonder though, if so many people are against pornography that they had made it law, why would they need the law since none of them would look at it anyway?
    • Laws exist for the lawbreakers. If you make something illegal people will assume you don't do it because it's illegal.

    • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wingnut64 (446382) on Friday March 25, 2011 @08:01PM (#35618308)

      Slashdot comment pulled from my quotes file:

      Social conservatives keep demanding laws to regulate everyone because their usual tools of ostracism and shame are only effective within their own communities.

    • Re:Makes me wonder (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Friday March 25, 2011 @08:15PM (#35618398) Homepage

      Because religion puts you up to being a busybody. As individuals I mind my business and you mind yours as long as it doesn't have too ill effects on each other. But if you're seeing this as a sin and an offense against god, then it's not just my choice and your choice but a Right and a Wrong choice.

      To religious nuts it's like trying to say that a cancer cell isn't better or worse than other cells, just different. They want a society that encourages people to make the Right choice and discourages them from making the Wrong choice. They want to push their way of life, their moral systems and their belief on you. They want to cleanse society of sin and taint and if you like your sinning ways that's a problem that needs solving, not a choice to be respected.

      As for why pornography? Because lust is such a basic feeling in people, I doubt there's any religious man who isn't at least feeling somewhat guilty for having naughty thoughts. That's the hook that makes people work for religion, they give you guilt then let you work towards forgiveness. Religion is a bit like evolution, it doesn't care how it survives it's only about numbers - births and converts.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Religion doesn't put people up to that, they do it on their own. Islam, Christianity and Buddhism in particular do not allow for that sort of behavior as a route to the goal. It's something which the ignorant amongst them do, and if you actually study up on the theological aspect it's really clear that such individuals are not in keeping with the religion.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          Religion doesn't put people up to that, they do it on their own. Islam, Christianity and Buddhism in particular do not allow for that sort of behavior as a route to the goal. It's something which the ignorant amongst them do, and if you actually study up on the theological aspect it's really clear that such individuals are not in keeping with the religion.

          If you claim the ignorant is 90%, maybe. Christianity and Catholicism in particular has been doing it for 1500 years at least with absolution of your sins. And if you think being a good Buddhist is easy, try following the Eightfold Path [wikipedia.org] and you'll quite quickly see it's near impossible to be that good. So to offset that you haven't been a living saint, you donate to the Tibetan monks or whatever. When you add up the collective guilt of a people you get a lot of money and a lot of power. You do know a fairly

          • I think what the previous poster was saying is that those religions don't encourage imposing that sort of behaviour outside their community. All the rules in the Bible are for either the Jews (OT) or the Christians (NT). Pretty much the only thing Christians are supposed to do in regards to non-Christians is to tell them about Jesus.

            The problem exists when you have a theocracy - which was essentially what we had during the middle ages, and what some Americans believe the US has now. In a theocracy, everyone

    • by Burning1 (204959)

      Laws are about making sure other people don't do the stuff you want to do yourself... E.g. tax evasion laws. If there is no incentive to do something to begin with, there is no need for a law.

    • by Ubi_NL (313657)

      I agree with your intention but your reasoning is wrong. It's like saying "Why make a law against homicide if most people wouldn't kill someone anyway"

  • They don't know what they are going to be missing... :)

  • The people in India and the middle east have their governments, and those governments want to block porn. Now they have a simple way to do it. Why would they not want that? Were they really successful in blocking .com porn sites? And the sites that don't want to deal with that will go to .xxx. It's a perfectly civilized solution.

  • How will these domains be distributed? What constitutes porn? Obviously google.xxx and ford.xxx and microsoft.xxx will be bought up quickly just to prevent a squatter from photoshopping Bill Gates humping a goat as a whole domain, but what about, say, the rest of us?

    I would like an XXX domain for the hell of it, and I wouldn't put any porn on it. I'm just some random guy- I'm sure plenty of people would feel that way.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      This is why I disagree with idiots who go around touting the whole "PROTECT THE CHILDREN!" bullshit with the intention of nerfing everything in the world at the expense of free expression and consumption by adults and in favor of someone's children. Nobody is forcing parents not to parent. Nobody is forcing parents not to censors their children's content. There's too much risk and corruption in allowing some organized body of people (think the MPAA creeps, here, which are composed mostly of people in their

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Part of the issue is that the registrar for the .xxx TLD has neither the mandate nor the resources to ensure that the sites registered are legal sites. Meaning that the various sites feature consenting adults doing whatever freaky stuff the site features. If having a .xxx site provided some assurance that the materials were legal that might be a competitive advantage, at least in places where sex laws are serious business.

        As it is the .XXX TLD is basically just a .com TLD for porn.

    • Vin Diesel and Ice Cube might want one too.

  • They have their khajuharo temple with different background
  • by pclminion (145572) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:47PM (#35618198)
    A sovereign nation taking steps to enforce their own moral and legal standards. What is the world coming to?
    • by _0xd0ad (1974778) on Friday March 25, 2011 @07:56PM (#35618264) Journal

      Nations aren't supposed to enforce moral standards.

      • by hedwards (940851) on Friday March 25, 2011 @08:34PM (#35618560)

        The US bars and prosecutes people for cannibalism when it comes up, but in the past their have been societies that engaged in it from time to time as a part of the culture. I'm not sure if any still exist, but that's definitely a moral call and one that has the full force of law.

        The relevant question is at what point it becomes reasonable for a government to regulate it or ban it or has to just deal with people having other morals.

        • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

          Those societies? Yes... I've heard of them. Actually, they supposedly don't partake of cannibalism anymore, but certain marker diseases were discovered among them that are only transmitted by the consumption of human flesh. (Or so I've heard.)

          But no, the objection to cannibalism is purely on moral grounds, as you said.

          • by guruevi (827432)

            Cannibalism was/is not something that happens or even happened all that often. It was either used in rituals, usually when fighting with another tribe and then only certain parts (brains or vital organs - wherever your soul or power was considered to be located) or in extreme situations (survival) but most of all it was used to dehumanize an opponent and morally authorize savagery from the other side. It is associated with a Creutzfeldt-Jakob type disease in humans but I don't think that it's prevalent anym

      • by Alex Belits (437) *

        Why not?

        In most of the world people expect some degree of uniformity in public behavior and expectations. Americans do it, too, they just usually believe that their (often outright disgusting, and not in a sexual way) behavior is universally acceptable.

        • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

          Why not?

          Separation of church and state.

          In most of the world people expect some degree of uniformity in public behavior and expectations.

          If there is a good reason for social behavior. As opposed to a purely "moral" reason for it, since everyone's morals are different.

          Unless you want to be a theocracy with the ruling religion setting the rules? I don't.

          • by Alex Belits (437) *

            Religion, being a politically privileged form of superstition (and often fraud), has nothing to do with morality. Government may or may not be given a task on encouraging moral and discouraging immoral behavior depending on how much the society finds it important or necessary. The idea of amoral government is an quirk (or, usually, delusion) that is popular in some places and unpopular in others, and there would be much less conflicts in the world if neither of those side tried to make their traditions univ

          • by a whoabot (706122)

            The things which are "moral" in the sense of "morally good", and the things for which there are "good reasons" must tend toward the same reference, varying only with what exactly you mean by a "good reason". Certainly any morally good end must have a morally good reason for it to be chosen, insofar as it is possibly an end which is deliberately aimed at by a reasoning person. If some "to be done" thing did not have a good reason to be done (whether accessible or not), then how could it be said to be moral

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        orly

      • by pclminion (145572)

        Nations aren't supposed to enforce moral standards.

        Because you say so, I guess?

  • A country so prude you can get a year in jail for kissing in public, yet so corrupt the police blatantly ignore child brothels in Kolkata.

    FIX UR CNTRY. Then worry about internet domains. Kthxbye.

  • ... jobs developing apps and administrating .xxx sites won't be outsourced to Bangalore.

  • Isn't that the entire point of wanting the .xxx domain? Then laws can be passed to require pornographic sites to use those domains and anyone who does not want pornography on their internet connection can block them easily?

    Good job India... you're using it for the reason it was proposed!

  • by Nyder (754090) on Friday March 25, 2011 @10:14PM (#35619234) Journal

    With our population problem, it's best if peeps didn't have sex on their minds. -- Indian Official

  • Seriously all it would an proxy program that reroutes all the XXX domains to a public DNS XXX cache. You really think the online porn industry doesn't have the incentive to get around stuff like this? They could also just make a plugin for browsers that changed all XXX domain to a sub domain of something else that resolves to the same addresses. Wouldn't cost much bandwidth at all.

  • by formfeed (703859) on Friday March 25, 2011 @11:30PM (#35619670)
    .. how can one get phone support for that TLD?
  • from icann

    The Board intends to complete the process for final approval of the New gTLD implementation program at an extraordinary meeting of the ICANN Board to be held on Monday, 20 June 2011, at the ICANN public meeting in Singapore.

    which is why there are 0 sites for india to ban yet as none exist.

  • ... my opinion is that this development is just to score political points, or, more accurately, to pre-empt your (right wing) political opponents from scoring political points. Technically, it's illegal to watch, read, store, sell, purchase, write or distribute porn, just as its illegal to urinate in the open in urban areas. But reality has little to do with the availability of porn or the practical freedom of all Indians to piss and shit wherever they feel like. Indian censorship of Internet porn sites [wikipedia.org] s

  • by Dwonis (52652) * on Saturday March 26, 2011 @09:09AM (#35621470)

    I'm seriously considering moving some of my websites to .xxx and not having porn on them (anybody want to register laughingsto.xxx?). Are there any restrictions to registering whatever you want on .xxx?

    Oh, and for the record, RFC 3675 [ietf.org] anticipated this whole mess.

  • by OldSoldier (168889) on Saturday March 26, 2011 @02:42PM (#35623704)

    If you believe this article [cnet.com] the powers that be should force all porn providers to use IPv6 addresses too. If porn helps push technology forward then this should help IPv6 rollout.

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