'.xxx' Domain Delayed

GENERIC : XXX, Porn Industry and Internet---XXX written on side with a computer, mouse, shirtless man and silhouette of a woman. AP

The Internet's key oversight agency agreed Tuesday to a one-month delay in approving a new ".xxx" domain name after the U.S. government cited "unprecedented" opposition to a virtual red-light district.

Michael D. Gallagher, assistant secretary for communications and information at the Commerce Department, had stopped short of urging its rejection, but he called on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to "ensure the best interests of the Internet community as a whole are fully considered."

The department received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails expressing concerns about the impact of pornography on families and children and objecting to setting aside a domain suffix for it, he said.

"The volume of correspondence opposed to creation of a .xxx TLD (domain name) is unprecedented," Gallagher wrote to Vinton Cerf, ICANN's chairman.

Gallagher said ICANN should take more time to evaluate those concerns.

The chairman of ICANN's Government Advisory Committee, Mohd Sharil Tarmizi, also wrote ICANN officials last week urging delay and expressing "a strong sense of discomfort" among many countries, which he did not name.

ICANN's board decided Tuesday to rescheduled the matter for Sept. 15.

Approval had been expected as early as Tuesday, five years after the domain name was first proposed and two months after ICANN gave it a tentative OK.

Gallagher's letter, sent last week and made public Monday, had particular resonance because his agency has veto power over ICANN decisions given the U.S. government's role in funding early developing of the Internet and selecting ICANN in 1998 to oversee domain name administration.

But ICANN also was swayed by an agreement to a one-month delay by the chief backers of ".xxx," ICM Registry Inc. of Jupiter, Fla.
  • Gina Pace

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