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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mixed reactions trial .XXX approval

The approval of .XXX at the recently concluded 40th public meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in San Francisco, United States has generated lots of concerns. REMMY NWEKE who was there reports that .XXX has kept stakeholders divided ever since.

Since the end of the 40th public meeting of the Internet for Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, California, United States on March 18, 2011, a lot have been said about the approval of the .XXX, which left stakeholders divided.

ITRealms Online recalled that despite protests and prolonged tussle for the soul of .XXX as far as ICANN is concerned, is a Sponsored Top Level Domain (sTLD) and got a green light penultimate Friday at the 40th public meeting of ICANN stakeholders.

Ordinarily, the sponsored Top Level Domain represents a specific community interest, while the sponsor carries out delegated policy-formulation. This came barely 24 hours after some participants at the public meeting led by a California-based Free Speech Coalition (FSC) demonstrated to drum home their points against the plans by ICANN to give dot XXX being proposed by ICM Registry a go.

However, while approving the ICM Registry application for .XXX, ICANN board noted that following the June 25, 2010 substantial public comments, some 700 inputs were received on the process options available to ICANN to consider the Independent Review Panel’s Declaration of February 19, 2010, of which ICANN said it accepted in part the findings of the Panel.

Following this, ITRealms Online gathered that the Board had directed staff “‘to conduct expedited due diligence to ensure that (1) the ICM Application is still current; and (2) there have been no changes in ICM’s qualifications,’” part of the resolution read.

Equally, the board said ICANN staff performed the required due diligence which showed that ICM application remained current and there have been no negative changes in ICM’s qualifications, thus they were fortified with an updated proposed registry agreement which included additional provisions, requirements and safeguards to address the issues that the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) and other community members under ICANN had raised in respect to the previously proposed agreement, the proposed registry agreement and due diligence materials were posted for public comment.

ICANN noted that in the over 700 comments received, though few of the comments addressed the terms of the registry agreement, no changes to the registry agreement were recommended, arguing that on December 10, 2010, the Board agreed with an assessment that entering into the proposed registry agreement would conflict with only three items of GAC advice and directed the staff to communicate this information to the GAC.

Further, the Board determined that it intends to enter into a registry agreement with ICM Registry for the .XXX sTLD, subject to GAC consultation and advice, and thereby invoked the consultation as provided for in ICANN Bylaws section Article XI, Section 2, Paragraph 1(j).

Additionally, ICANN led by Mr. Peter Dengate Thrush as its chairman, alongside the chief executive officer, Mr. Rod Beckstrom, had clarified at a press meeting on Friday after the reading of board resolution, that in order to facilitate the Bylaws consultation with the GAC, the Board on January 25, 2011, directed staff to forward a letter from the Board to the GAC clearly setting forth the Board’s position on how the ICM proposed registry agreement meets items of GAC advice, and setting forth the items of GAC advice remaining for consultation, following which the board on March 16, this year, forwarded a letter clarifying GAC advice on the ICM matter to the Committee.

According to them, having carefully considered comments from the community and the GAC in making this decision, ICANN in furtherance of its mission, had in conjunction with GAC completed a formal Bylaws consultation on those items for which entering the registry agreement might not be consistent with GAC advice.

Beckstrom said that based on authority given to him or the General Counsel to execute the proposed registry agreement for the .XXX sTLD, in substantially the same form posted for public comment in August 2010, “The Board’s statement is without prejudice to the rights or obligations of GAC members with regard to public policy issues falling within their responsibilities,” part of the resolution stated.

Nevertheless, the agitating group under the Free Speech Coalition led by its Executive Director, Ms Diane Duke, opined that the imperativeness of the whole issue by the adult industry professionals mostly of the serious ramifications of this complex issue in what she described as a five-part series, which points out some of the atrocities in ICM’s proposal on .XXX TLD, asserting that owning a .XXX TLD may be far more dangerous and detrimental to online business than not.

As said by her, the adult entertainment industry is certainly no stranger to the use of “child protection” as a pretext to impose unnecessary regulations on it while engaging in direct attacks on the civil liberties of its members. But governments are not the only serial abusers of this hypocritical tactic. ICM also uses “child protection” as one of the fundamental reasons why a .XXX sTLD is needed. It even did so in its application when it made the vague promise to “support the development of tools and programmes to protect vulnerable members of the community.”

Although ICM promised ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) it “will donate $10 per year per registration to fund IFFOR’s (International Foundation for Online Responsibility) policy development activities and to provide financial support for the work of online safety organizations, child pornography hotlines, and to sponsor the development of tools and technology to promote child safety and fight child pornography,” the coalition remain skeptical.

The coalition insisted that there’s a problem with ICM’s math, stressing that this is the same ten dollars per year per registration that ICM’s Stuart Lawley described and continued to portray as quite differently to the adult entertainment community.

Speaking on the .XXX, the president, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Mrs. Mary Uduma, said the approval granted ICM on .XXX as typical definition of endorsement of pornography on the Internet by the coordinating body, especially it’s having presence on the root of internet, inferring to the TLD.

Equally responding, some Internet stakeholders said that the seven-year old saga of XXX top level domain ended, more or less, on a lucky note for those are able to read the Board’s rationale for its decision, and capable of making sense of the legal and process details; there is an abundance of good precedents and good news.

This category of stakeholders noted that the only blemish is that only eight Board members voted the right way, that is, three voted no and four abstained. The decision is important because of what it means for process and institution-building in Internet governance.

For an Internet activist, Mr. Tom Morris wrote in his blog that the approval of XXX shows that the Domain Name System sucks and ICANN may be broke to the fact that who, especially on new Top Level Domain (TLD) allocation, which he claimed is now being driven by marketing, fashion and whoever could dump a sufficiently large pile of cash on the desk of the relevant people at ICANN, rather than actually provide a compelling argument for that TLD.

“I’ve heard that some of the Wikileaks and Pirate Bay crowd are working on a distributed alternative to DNS,” he said, stressing that this may work, but politically, stakeholders should push for an actual democraticisation of ICANN, and get a bunch of wise Unix neckbeard types to join and require all TLDs to get a super-majority vote of ICANN or a future counterpart to ICANN.

“Or we could form a loose coalition of people who are willing to just direct all DNS lookups for idiotic TLDs like .tel, .xxx and .mobi to /dev/null,” Morris suggested.

Yet, another school of thought described the approval as making global internet users to pay taxes on online sin, to the extent of paying about $70, about N10,500.00 to have access to the domain name.

Avri Doria stated that assuming one accepts the idea of taxes in general, wondered why people engage in behavior that is sometimes harmful and sometimes has a social cost such as smoking, drinking, drugs, driving gas guzzlers, eating pastry to name a few; all things that are not necessary for life pay a little extra for the fun?

“So, it’s really a sin tax” Doria declared and stakeholders should believe as such.

But responding on this, Marc Perkel agreed the approval could be likened to sin taxes, arguing that why he is against sin taxes is that even if something is a sin that taxing it is not a good idea.

According to him, the issue is the .XXX TLD, which is something like porn or adult themed information dealing with sex. Is sex sin?

“With the exception of certain high technology solution we all exist because of sex. Without sex there would be no human race. Some might argue that .xxx type sex (porn) is different that virgin marriage monogamy sex but it’s the same principle,” he said.

Some people, he pointed, just get turned on by different things, so if humanity had limited itself to virgin marriage monogamy reproduction then humanity would have gone extinct and none of us would be here having this discussion.

“I think it could probably be proved mathematically that every one of us has an ancestor born out of wedlock,” he argued and went on to make a universal moral assumption that to exist is better than to be extinct.

“That’s what I’m asking you to accept on faith,” he maintained, saying that since sex and .xxx activity is necessary for humanity to exist then it cannot be immoral - or sin.

On the second part of his argument, Perkel said, “Suppose we all agree that smoking cigarettes is a sin. There may be some smokers in the group who don’t agree but we’ll ignore it for now. Should it be subject to sin taxes? But increasing the price of cigarettes might marginally reduce the number of smokers but smoking is addictive and the addicts just have to pay more.”

Further, he said, this makes them poorer and more desperate, increases stress, might deprive them of money they might otherwise feed their children with, go to the doctor, or some other productive activity in addition to increasing crime as more people need to steal to get cigarette money.

“Then you get government getting hooked on cigarette income. So, when society evolves away from cigarettes governments start noticing a shortfall in revenue which creates an incentive against anti-smoking legislation that works. Tobacco money is more addictive than tobacco. A real solution to smoking would be for the ‘govt dept’ to declare cigarettes a Schedule II drug, remove it completely from retail sales, and only allow smokers to get cigarettes from a pharmacy with a doctor’s prescription. Then you’ll see a serious reduction in smoking,” he said.

Above all, the approval of XXX domain is an important precedent that has left stakeholders wagging ever since Friday March 18 and would definitely continue as the day progresses, especially in building the institution called ‘internet governance’ through the involvement of the Multi-Stakeholders Approach than what is on ground at present.

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1 comment:

sextoysshop.com said...

It is true porn does give little as far as tangible economic wealth,yet the individuals who make tangible economic wealth may advantage a little from porn.Perhaps smut-loving bridge builders can get to be bankers lastly add to solid economic growth.

Carol Martinez.