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.xxx up for another round

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It may have been abandoned last year, but plans for the adult-only dot-xxx domain could be staging a comeback in 2007.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is considering revised proposals for the new top level domain (TLD) from ICM Registry, who will administer the domain, after the body promised that it would keep a close watch on the sites that sign up for the new address.

The new obligations include ensuring that child pornography is banned, that the sites' content is labelled and tagged correctly, and that the sites won’t be used to spam web users. Geographically and religiously or culturally sensitive domain names will be reserved.

In addition to these measures, ICM will also have to fund child safety organisations, and will be obliged to sponsor the development of technology designed to enhance the ability of internet users to control their online experience.

The original plans for the dot-xxx TLD were shelved in May 2006, after a number of concerns over how the domain would be policed were raised. ICANN directors voted nine to five against the agreement to introduce the dot-xxx address, which would have effectively created an online red light district.

However, ICANN wasn't the only opposition to its introduction. Groups opposed to pornography claimed it would legitimise the adult entertainment industry, and although supporters claimed it would make adult-only websites easier to avoid, the dot-xxx TLD is entirely voluntary. This means that sex sites could keep their dot-com addresses too.

The original plans for the dot-xxx TLD were delayed on several occasions as the protests mounted. The US government has led the charge, after it found itself under pressure from conservative groups to oppose the domain.

Meanwhile, ICANN has created a new position of chief operating officer, with Doug Brent stepping into the role. Brent has a 25-year record in Silicon Valley, working with companies such as IBM, Packet Design and Andes Networks.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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