Sex industry fears ".xxx" domain would create porn 'ghetto'

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Sydney, Mar 11 (ANI): The proposed setting up of a ".xxx" domain name has caused an uproar in the adult sex industry, as it fears it would be the first step towards segregating porn sites into a "ghetto".

They believe that the new .xxx domain would create an online red-light district where porn sites can set up shop away from the wandering eyes of children and teenagers.

Parents would be able to use the system to help block access to porn sites, though because its use would be voluntary, the ".xxx" suffix wouldn't keep such content entirely away from minors.

Religious and other anti-porn groups worry that ".xxx" would legitimise porn sites, and the proposal has already been rejected three times since 2000.

But the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the allocation of internet addresses globally, may revive ICM Registry LLC's bid yet again as ICANN meets this week in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

Last month, responding to complaints from ICM, an outside panel questioned ICANN's grounds for the latest rejection in 2007.

According to ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, board members have been weighing the matter ahead of formal consideration of the ".xxx" bid on March 12.

Australian Sex Party convener Fiona Patten said the entire porn industry was against a .xxx suffix, saying they would be extremely reluctant to give up their .com sites in favour of moving to the .xxx "ghetto".

She feared the entire .xxx domain could be blocked by the Government's Internet filters in future.

A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the Government did not support the introduction of a .xxx top-level domain.

"I don't think it's got anything to offer ... except that [for example] Hustler.com's now got to buy Hustler.xxx to protect our trademarks and protect our names," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Patten as saying.

Beckstrom said he was not able to give details of those discussions for legal reasons, and he could not say when ICANN may reach a decision.

ICM, which planned to charge US60 dollars for a site to register a ".xxx" name, first proposed ".xxx" in 2000 as a way to help the online porn industry clean up its act.

Those using the domain would have to abide by yet-to-be-written rules designed to bar such trickery as spamming and malicious scripts.

And parents could set up internet software to automatically block any site ending in ".xxx", reducing the chances that minors and other internet users would accidentally stumble on pornography online.

Given its voluntary nature, however, ".xxx" would unlikely have much effect on parents' ability to block porn sites.

And because a domain name serves merely as an easy-to-remember moniker for a site's actual numeric internet address, even if its use is required, a child could simply punch in the numeric address of any blocked ".xxx" name.

"I can only see this as a money-making venture for ICM," Patten said.

Anti-porn activists, meanwhile, worry that the creation of a virtual red-light district would serve as an endorsement of the adult-entertainment industry, as ".xxx" would be sitting alongside other suffixes such as ".com" for commercial sites and ".edu" for schools. (ANI)

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