Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

Europe asked the US to delay .xxx

Kevin Murphy, May 5, 2011, 14:16:21 (UTC), Domain Policy

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes asked the US Department of Commerce to delay the introduction of the .xxx top-level domain after ICANN approved it, I can reveal.

In an April 6 letter to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, a copy of which I have obtained, Kroes expressed dismay with ICANN’s decision, and wrote (my emphasis):

I would therefore consider it necessary for the [ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee] to reflect, at a senior level, on the broader implications of the Board’s decision on .XXX, and to do so before the TLD is introduced into the global Internet. I assume that the United States government would appreciate the opportunity to hear the views of other countries on this important issue, and I very much hope therefore that I can count on your support for such an initiative.

The letter was sent after ICANN had approved .xxx, but nine days before the National Telecommunications and Information Administration instructed VeriSign to add it to the DNS root.

It seems to be an implicit request for the NTIA to delay .xxx’s go-live date to give the Governmental Advisory Committee of ICANN time to regroup and consider how best to continue to oppose the domain.

As I reported this morning, assistant secretary Lawrence Strickling replied to Kroes later in April, agreeing with her in principle but saying that to intervene could do more harm than good.

Kroes objected on the grounds that GAC had “no active support” for .xxx, that national-level blocking of the TLD could threaten internet stability, and that parents will be given a “false sense of security” if they choose to filter .xxx domain names.

She also didn’t buy ICANN’s rationale for its decision, saying it contained “mostly procedural arguments that do not adequately reflect the significant political and cultural sensitivities” created by .xxx.

She additionally noted that:

Most importantly, perhaps, are the wider consequences that we have all have to deal with as a result of this decision. We are both aware of the broader geo-political Internet governance debate that continues regarding the legitimacy of the ICANN model. I am concerned therefore that ICANN’s decision to reject substantive GAC advice – of which there is also an apparent risk in relation to the new generic TLD process – may be detrimental to the multi-stakeholder, private sector-led model which many of us in the international community have been stoutly defending for years.

This seems to be a reference to the longstanding debate over whether the International Telecommunications Union, or another intergovernmental body, may be better suited to overseeing domain name system policy.

In his reply to Kroes, Strickling offered to meet her by teleconference or in person in Brussels, in order to discuss how to proceed.

The fallout from .xxx’s approval may not be over by a long shot.

UPDATE: Read the Kroes letter: Page One, Page Two.

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Comments (11)

  1. JS says:

    Nice digging Kevin.

    Funny how governments don’t seem to realize that ICANN was to be sued if they did not approve .xxx –further weakening the ICANN model in my opinion.

    Do you think the whole Euro zone will block .xxx ?

  2. Curt Backer says:

    Good. Get rid of this filthy domain once and for all. The

    entire world did not want this .XXX tld yet ICANN

    approved it for one company, ICM? Something is wrong

    here! With ICANN!

  3. […] Neelie Kroes urged Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to block or delay .xxx back in April, and subsequently met with Strickling to discuss their mutual opposition to the […]

  4. […] Neelie Kroes urged Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to block or delay .xxx back in April, and subsequently met with Strickling to discuss their mutual opposition to the […]

  5. […] Neelie Kroes urged Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to block or delay .xxx back in April, and subsequently met with Strickling to discuss their mutual opposition to the […]

  6. […] Verisign or NTIA in thought might refuse to delegate new gTLDs — do not forget that once .xxx was heading to the foundation the european Union requested NTIA to prolong the delegation. […]

Add Your Comment