ICANN and the .XXX Decision

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As I stated in my last blog post, the latest ICANN meeting had plenty of action. The .XXX top-level domain (TLD) was approved, and there was plenty of drama surrounding the renewal of the IANA contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Effectively, .XXX and gTLDs have driven this last round of actions and the responses by all of the key actors in the governance world.  At the meeting, the ICANN board voted to enter into an agreement with the ICM Registry for the .XXX TLD.  The .XXX decision was unique not just because it adds a new “adult content” top-level domain to the Internet – it also tidily summarizes all of the governance conflicts plaguing ICANN for the past several years.  Not only did the board provide a 20-page rationale outlining the reasons for its approval of the ICM Registry application for the .XXX domain, many board members also explained their vote, whether in favour or against. 

Concerns about how to handle GAC advice, about the technical concerns of the anticipated DNS blocking, about alienating international governments, about influencing Web content, about lack of process and predictability, about respect for diversity and cultural sensitivities, and freedom of expression, were all on the table as the board hashed out, at times painfully, the .XXX decision. 

And while surely every aspect of the ICANN governance debate was raised during that decision, I think it is significant for two other reasons. 

First of all, ICANN definitely did not follow GAC advice in approving the new TLD.  This may very well trigger a shift in global Internet governance, whether by some other international body attempting to take control of certain ICANN functions, or by the GAC becoming more focussed, better organised, and asserting itself more powerfully and earlier on in the policy development process in order to ensure this type of decision, surely a disaster in many countries’ minds, never occurs again. 

Secondly,   I have never seen such a well thought out, articulate and clear ICANN board decision than the .XXX decision.   Those of us in the community who have pushed for greater accountability and transparency are hoping this is a harbinger of what we can expect from ICANN in the future.  If that’s the case, the Internet governance landscape is changing, for the better.

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  • http://dashworlds.com Dashworlds

    In depth discussion – but was it the correct decision?

    The contentious XXX extension will have many ramifications, but none on adult Dotcom websites (the supposed target?). With so much adverse publicity – including threats by Governments to block XXX country by country – many will look to avoid the XXX webspace completely. For those compelled to reserve domains defensively, it’s likely that anonymity will be required as names get set as Unresolvable and/or Unknown. The outcome? Perhaps a mass of “For Sale” signs by speculators looking to offload their XXX investments.

    All ICANN has done here is to openly advance fragmentation of the Web and encourage people to find new ways of making the most of their surfing experience. The result is that Internet users are now bypassing ICANN to create their own unique, memorable and personalised range of brand new Dashcom Domains and TLDs, totally free.

    Sites such as Dashworlds.com now provide brand new Dashcom (not Dotcom) domain names. Dashcoms are addresses in format “business-com”, “paris-fashion”, “social-network” (and of course any XXX your might desire). Totally outside the realm and control of ICANN, Internet users can create any domain or TLD in any language, instantly and at no cost.

    With users and members in over 90 countries worldwide, resolution is via an APP; although new ISP Links are available to make this unnecessary (ISP Links that are also available to ICANN).

    Having just one Internet floating in infinite cyberspace is like saying you can go anywhere in the USA as long as you only use route 66. So now, just as in the USA (and everywhere else in the world) the Internet has more than one option.

  • http://www.unlimitedgb.com Web Hosting India

    Hi dear!!!!!This was very awesome article about XXX and gTLDs.It is really useful for all of us.Thanks for your blog.

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