XXX domain poses headache for Indian regulators

By Reuters Staff
March 29, 2011

By Neha Arha

People use computers at an internet cafe in Taiyuan, Shanxi province in China November 13, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer/FilesIndia is proposing to block .xxx-registered websites after a global agency governing the web approved the suffix for pornography websites last week, risking confrontation between a fast-liberalising youth and strong traditionalist values.

The government’s move followed a decade-long dialogue within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that resulted in the approval for .xxx suffix for pornography websites. Sales of .xxx domains should begin soon in Q2 2011.

Taking a cue from .com, .org, .nic and others, the creation of .xxx would identify adult content and services and could be used by governments for mass censorship of adult content.

Despite continuous efforts by some staunch conservative groups, porn remains easily accessible in India. The move to ban savitabhabhi.com, a popular toon porn site, fell flat when it later resurfaced through a foreign server.

In addition to labelling it immoral under the Indian Penal Code, distribution of adult content is illegal. Distributing such content in the electronic form calls for imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or/and fine which may extend to 100,000 rupees ($2,237).

The battle continues over how the net can handle pornography. Online pornography is becoming more intrusive, more obnoxious and more provocative, conservative bodies say. Some websites like the messaging portal 160by.com and music downloading sites carry adult images and links that seem unavoidable when accessed through a phone.

Asia’s third-largest economy is seeing a huge social change as the middle-class swells and attitudes to arranged marriages and live-in relationships have led to clashes between traditionalist thinking among the elder generation and progressive ideas from the youth.

The self-styled moral policing brigade that attacked women in a Mangalore pub in 2009 due to their late-night partying habits attracted negative comments and feisty retaliation from liberal campaign groups in the form of the ‘pink-chaddi campaign’.

With Indian media consumers becoming numb to onscreen kissing and as censorship norms sway generously, this will be seen as a decisive moment for the Indian government to evolve and liberalise or to choose censorship. Share your views.

One comment

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No Headache Really.

The contentious XXX extension will have no affect on adult Dotcom websites; adult Dotcoms will remain unchanged. Furthermore, with so much adverse publicity – including threats by Governments to block XXX country by country – many will look to avoid the XXX webspace completely. For those compelled to reserve domains defensively, it’s likely that anonymity will be required as names get set as Unresolvable and/or Unknown. The outcome? Perhaps a mass of “For Sale” signs by speculators looking to offload their XXX investments.

All ICANN has done here is to openly advance fragmentation of the Web and encourage people to find new ways of making the most of their surfing experience. The result is that Internet users are now bypassing ICANN to create their own unique, memorable and personalised range of brand new Dashcom Domains and TLDs, totally free.

Sites such as Dashworlds.com now provide brand new Dashcom (not Dotcom) domain names. Dashcoms are addresses in format “business-com”, “paris-fashion”, “social-network” (and of course any XXX your heart might desire). Totally outside the realm and control of ICANN, Internet users can create any domain or TLD in any language, instantly and at no cost.

With users and members in over 90 countries worldwide, resolution is via an APP; although new ISP Links are available to make this unnecessary (ISP Links that are also available to ICANN).

Having just one Internet floating in infinite cyberspace is like saying you can go anywhere in the USA as long as you only use route 66. So now, just as in the USA (and everywhere else in the world) the Internet has more than one option.

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