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Anti-pornography advocates pleased as .XXX domain proposal crumbles

.- The five-year battle over whether the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) should implement a .xxx domain for porn sites finally ended after the private agency rejected the proposal this week in a 9-5 vote.

The .xxx domain proposal had been floating around since 2001, but the decision on it was delayed several times. Proponents argued that the domain would make it easier to keep track of porn sites. Opponents argued that the domain would legitimize pornography and lead to greater state control over the creation of pornographic content, reported TG Daily News.

Last June, ICANN voted to give the project preliminary approval. But this was delayed in August 2005 at the request of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which said that it had "concerns" over the proposal.

Concerned Women of America (CWA) applauded ICANN’s decision. Jan LaRue, CWA’s chief counsel said she met with officials at the U.S. Department of Commerce last year to express vigorous opposition to the porn domain. According to LaRue, after thousands of e-mails were sent to the Department of Commerce, the Bush administration announced its own opposition to the domain. Letters of opposition were also sent to Paul Twomey, CEO of ICANN.

“We objected for many reasons but the most obvious was that porn sites would be free to keep all of their current domains, such as .com, and add the .xxx domain,” LaRue said in a press release.

“This vote proves the power of regular folks when they raise their voices against the power-brokers who think they can run the universe without opposition. This is a win against a multi-million dollar, six-year effort on behalf of the porn industry,” she said.

Twomey told journalists that the ICANN board’s decision “was not driven by a political consideration.” But that didn’t stop EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding of accusing the U.S. Department of Commerce of "political interference in ICANN,” reported TG Daily News.

Some proponents have accused the U.S. of wanting to maintain control over the Internet. In order to make a change to the domain name structure ICANN would need the approval of the US Department of Commerce.

According to the TG Daily News report, some people accuse the U.S. of espousing a "hands off" policy in public, but of being responsible behind the scenes for delaying and then killing the .xxx domain.

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