June 2, 2005


ICANN approves new top level domains (TLDs) for the internet at a rate that makes glaciers seem fast.  So when ICANN does approve one it is a big deal.

ICANN's most recent contribution to the internet is: .XXX - a top level domain for pornography.


Is this progress?  Is this a contribution to human values?  Isn't the internet already enough of a sewer and a home for the worst that humanity has to offer?  Do we have to honor that kind of depravity with an official home?  Why should .xxx get precedence over schools, churches, civic groups, aboriginal communities, labor organizations, and artistic groups?

Why .xxx when there were, and remain, so many other people who had so many better ideas that actually would contribute to the value of the internet?  But in year 2000 ICANN took $2,000,000 from them and stabbed them in the back.  And then ICANN threw them into the limbo of ICANN's never-approved but never-denied purgatory.  And for what?  For .xxx?!

.xxx is a tribute the lack of vision and the complete idiocy of ICANN's approach to the internet's domain name system,  .xxx is a tribute to ICANN's ex-president and to several of ICANN's vision-less past and still present board members.  To them we owe .xxx.

Justice Potter Stewart, of the US Supreme Court, wrote in 1964 - "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced [as hard-core pornography]. . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . ." (Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964))

If a Supreme Court justice couldn't define pornography then one can only wonder how ICANN, a body never noted for legal, or any other form, of inventiveness will do it in the contract with the company it selected to run .xxx.

ICANN's policy on TLDs is bankrupt.  The internet can support millions of top level domains.  So even an extremely conservative approach that granted one TLD per week - 52 new TLDs per year - wouldn't even begin to bother domain name technology for about 20,000 years.  If ICANN were to allow this, then perhaps we could then make room for a .xxx.

But instead ICANN has created an artificial scarcity of top level domains.  And it is insulting to the community of internet users when ICANN hands one of those few resources to a group that intends to use it to to promote the worst that humanity has to offer.

To this I say - let ICANN change its own name from ICANN.org to ICANN.xxx.  The pornography is the ICANN policy that led to .xxx while denying so many more worthy uses.

Posted by karl at June 2, 2005 1:27 AM